Prostate MRI versus PSA screening for prostate cancer detection (the MVP Study): a randomised clinical trial

BMJ Open. 2022 Nov 8;12(11):e059482. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-059482.


Objectives: Our objective was to compare prostate cancer detection rates between patients undergoing serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA) vs magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for prostate cancer screening.

Design: Phase III open-label randomised controlled trial.

Setting: Single tertiary cancer centre in Toronto, Canada.

Participants: Men 50 years of age and older with no history of PSA screening for ≥3 years, a negative digital rectal exam and no prior prostate biopsy.

Interventions: Patients were recommended to undergo a prostate biopsy if their PSA was ≥2.6 ng/mL (PSA arm) or if they had a PIRADS score of 4 or 5 (MRI arm). Patients underwent an end-of-study PSA in the MRI arm.

Primary and secondary outcome measures: Adenocarcinoma on prostate biopsy. Prostate biopsy rates and the presence of clinically significant prostate cancer were also compared.

Results: A total of 525 patients were randomised, with 266 in the PSA arm and 248 in the MRI arm. Due to challenges with accrual and study execution during the COVID-19 pandemic, the study was terminated early. In the PSA arm, 48 patients had an abnormal PSA and 28 (58%) agreed to undergo a prostate biopsy. In the MRI arm, 25 patients had a PIRADS score of 4 or 5 and 24 (96%) agreed to undergo a biopsy. The relative risk for MRI to recommend a prostate biopsy was 0.52 (95% CI 0.33 to 0.82, p=0.005), compared with PSA. The cancer detection rate for patients in the PSA arm was 29% (8 of 28) vs 63% (15 of 24, p=0.019) in the MRI arm, with a higher proportion of clinically significant cancer detected in the MRI arm (73% vs 50%). The relative risk for detecting cancer and clinically significant with MRI compared with PSA was 1.89 (95% CI 0.82 to 4.38, p=0.14) and 2.77 (95% CI 0.89 to 8.59, p=0.07), respectively.

Conclusions: Prostate MRI as a stand-alone screening test reduced the rate of prostate biopsy. The number of clinically significant cancers detected was higher in the MRI arm, but this did not reach statistical significance. Due to early termination, the study was underpowered. More patients were willing to follow recommendations for prostate biopsy based on MRI results.

Trial registration number: NCT02799303.

Keywords: Magnetic Resonance Imaging; clinical trials; prostate disease.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Pandemics
  • Prostate / diagnostic imaging
  • Prostate / pathology
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen
  • Prostatic Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging


  • Prostate-Specific Antigen

Associated data