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Fox Chase Cancer Center is now offering patients a more convenient and effective method of prostate cancer diagnosis—the ExactVu™ micro-ultrasound system.
Used by Fox Chase’s urologic oncologists, the micro-ultrasound system will allow for 300-percent higher-resolution imaging over traditional transrectal ultrasound, which is comparable to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and allows for targeted biopsies of suspicious lesions.
“During a consultation, a patient may first be informed that their PSA kinetics or health history is concerning for prostate cancer,” explained Andres F. Correa, MD, a urologic oncologist at Fox Chase. In contrast to other methodologies, “With micro-ultrasound, we can use the technology to identify high-risk lesions and accurately biopsy them.”
Conventional ultrasound does not allow clinicians to view prostate lesions in great detail. Typically, urologists perform a standard ultrasound to assess the prostate’s anatomy and guide the biopsy in different areas of the prostate. During the biopsy, an average of 12 random core samples are taken to detect cancer. Unfortunately, this random approach has led to missed diagnoses and, in some patients, overdiagnosis of low-risk prostate cancer (which can cause patients significant anxiety).
In comparison, MRI does allow for improved visualization and identification of areas that might need to be biopsied, but they are often expensive and may not be covered by the patient’s insurance. Furthermore, some patients cannot have an MRI because of medical implants, contra-indications, or claustrophobia.
The new high-resolution micro-ultrasound system merges the capabilities of an MRI and a transrectal probe into a single device, providing patients and clinicians with same-day results. During this outpatient test, a probe is placed in the rectum, which allows the urologist to see the architecture of the prostate. This enables them to identify any concerning lesions and, if needed, take targeted biopsies.
A meta-analysis of HAA1 studies of the micro-ultrasound system showed that it was more convenient and cost-effective for detecting clinically significant prostate cancer compared to conventional ultrasound and MRI-targeted biopsies. The system has also been tested in men who are both biopsy-naïve and those who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer but chose to undergo active surveillance.
“The micro-ultrasound system allows us to tag a lesion and follow it over time to see if it is growing,” Dr. Correa said. “That way, we don’t miss a cancer that is progressing.”
In addition to offering significant advantages for the diagnosis and monitoring of prostate cancer, the ExactVu™ micro-ultrasound system also assists with surgical treatment.
“It can help with planning and calibration of surgical strategy—by allowing the surgeon to assess the extent of high-risk lesions, and optimize cancer control while helping spare nerves,” said Rosalia Viterbo, MD, FACS, a urologic oncologist and Associate Professor in Fox Chase’s Department of Surgical Oncology. “This translates into improved quality of life for our patient from a continence and sexual recovery standpoint.”
The ExactVu™ system is an exciting addition to Fox Chase Cancer Center and the Philadelphia region, Dr. Correa said, because it provides one of the most cutting-edge imaging technologies available for the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer. Fox Chase is the first and only medical center in the Philadelphia region offering this convenient and effective new technology to patients.
“Fox Chase has a long tradition of using active surveillance for prostate cancer when appropriate. This includes early adoption of advanced technologies, including the use of MRI fusion as well as micro-ultrasound,” Dr. Correa said.
Things to know about micro-ultrasound
- Fox Chase is the first and only medical center in the Philadelphia region offering this technology.
- Micro-ultrasound merges capabilities of an MRI with a transrectal probe and provides same-day results.
- The technology offers patients and physicians significant advantages for prostate cancer diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment.