Fox Chase Now Offering Prostate Micro-Ultrasound Technology

Fox Chase Cancer Center is now offering patients a more convenient and effective method of prostate cancer diagnosis with the use of 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 (all in the convenience of one visit).

“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. “With micro-ultrasound, the patient can come in for a single additional office visit where we can use the technology to identify any lesions and biopsy them at the same time.”

Photo courtesy of ExactVuPhoto courtesy of ExactVu

Before the development of the micro-ultrasound system, a patient’s prostate was visualized using conventional ultrasound and/or MRI prior to returning for a biopsy, Correa said.

However, conventional ultrasound does not allow clinicians to view lesions in the prostate in great detail. Typically, urologists perform a standard ultrasound to look at the prostate’s anatomy and guide the biopsy in different areas of the prostate. During the biopsy, they take an average of 12 random core samples to detect cancer. Unfortunately, this random approach has led to many missed diagnoses and, in some patients, overdiagnosis of prostate cancer (which can cause patients significant anxiety).

In turn, while MRIs allow for improved visualization and identification of areas that might need to be biopsied, they are often expensive and may not be covered by the patient’s insurance.

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 seven studies of the micro-ultrasound system showed that it was more convenient and cost-effective for detecting clinically significant prostate cancer compared to standard and MRI-targeted biopsies. The system has also been tested in both men who are 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.”

Photo courtesy of ExactVuPhoto courtesy of ExactVu

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 the surgical removal of the prostate by allowing the surgeon to navigate around 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, as 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, and this includes early adoption of advanced technologies,” Dr. Correa said. “We were the first in the region to adopt the use of MRI fusion and will be the first in the region to adopt the use of micro-ultrasound.”

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