Ex Vivo Fluorescence Confocal Microscopy (FCM) of Prostate Biopsies Rethought: Opportunities of Intraoperative Examinations of MRI-Guided Targeted Biopsies in Routine Diagnostics

Diagnostics (Basel). 2022 May 5;12(5):1146. doi: 10.3390/diagnostics12051146.


Background: The diagnosis of prostate carcinoma (PCa) requires time- and material-consuming histopathological examinations. Ex vivo fluorescence confocal microscopy (FCM) can detect carcinoma foci in diagnostic biopsies intraoperatively.

Methods: MRI-guided and systematic biopsies were identified in a dataset of our previously published study cohort. Detection rates of clinically relevant tumors were determined in both groups. A retrospective blinded trial was performed to determine how many tumors requiring intervention were detectable via FCM analysis of MRI-guided targeted biopsies alone.

Results: MRI-guided targeted biopsies revealed tumors more frequently than systematic biopsies. Carcinomas in need of intervention were reliably represented in the MRI-guided biopsies and were identified in intraoperative FCM microscopy. Combined with serum PSA levels and clinical presentation, 91% of the carcinomas in need of intervention were identified.

Conclusions: Intraoperative FCM analysis of MRI-guided biopsies is a promising approach for the efficient diagnosis of PCa. The method allows a timely assessment of whether a tumor disease requiring intervention is present and can reduce the psychological stress of the patient in the waiting period of the histological finding. Furthermore, this technique can lead to reduction of the total number of biopsies needed for the diagnosis of PCa.

Keywords: confocal microscopy; digital pathology; prostate cancer; targeted biopsies.

Grant support

This research received no external funding.