Use of multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging (mpMRI) in active surveillance for low-risk prostate cancer: a scoping review on the benefits and harm of mpMRI in different biopsy scenarios

Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis. 2021 Sep;24(3):662-673. doi: 10.1038/s41391-021-00320-9. Epub 2021 Mar 2.


Background: There is uncertainty on how multiparametric MRI (mpMRI) and MRI-targeted biopsy (MRI-TB) can be best used to manage low-risk prostate cancer patients on Active Surveillance (AS). We performed a scoping review to evaluate the benefits and harm associated with four different biopsy scenarios in which mpMRI can be implemented in AS.

Methods: Medline, Embase and Cochrane Library databases (1 January 2013-18 September 2020) were searched. Included studies were on men with low-risk prostate cancer enrolled in AS, who had mpMRI ± MRI-TB and standard prostate biopsy (systematic transrectal ultrasound or transperineal saturation biopsy), at confirmatory or follow-up biopsy. Primary outcomes were the number of Gleason score upgrades and biopsies avoided.

Results: Eight confirmatory biopsy studies and three follow-up biopsy studies were included. Compared to the benchmark of using standard biopsy (SB) for all men, the addition of MRI-TB increased the detection of Gleason score upgrades at both confirmatory (6/8 studies) and follow-up biopsy (3/3 studies), with increments of 1.7-11.8 upgrades per 100 men. 6/7 studies suggested that the use of a positive mpMRI to triage men for MRI-TB or SB alone would detect fewer Gleason score upgrades than benchmark at confirmatory biopsy, but the combination of MRI-TB and SB would detect more upgrades than the benchmark. For follow-up biopsy, the evidence on mpMRI triage biopsy scenarios was inconclusive due to the small number of included studies.

Conclusions: The addition of MRI-TB to benchmark (SB for all men) maximises the detection of Gleason score upgrades at confirmatory and follow-up biopsy. When the use of mpMRI to triage men for a biopsy is desired, the combination of MRI-TB and SB should be considered for men with positive mpMRI at confirmatory biopsy. The evidence on mpMRI triage scenarios was inconclusive in the follow-up biopsy setting.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Image-Guided Biopsy / methods*
  • Male
  • Multiparametric Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Neoplasm Grading
  • Prognosis
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / therapy
  • Ultrasonography, Interventional / methods*
  • Watchful Waiting / standards*