Understanding the diagnosis of prostate cancer

Xuan Rui S. Ong, Dominic Bagguley, John W. Yaxley, Arun A. Azad, Declan G. Murphy, Nathan Lawrentschuk

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleOtherpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Prostate cancer continues to be the most commonly diagnosed cancer, and the second leading cause of cancer death among Australian men. Prostate-specific antigen testing is personalised (not dichotomous in nature) and its interpretation should take into account the patient's age, symptoms, previous results and medication (eg, 5-α reductase inhibitors such as dutasteride). Multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging of the prostate has been proven to have a 93% sensitivity for detecting clinically significant prostate cancer. It has the potential to decrease unnecessary prostate biopsies by around 27%. International Society of Urological Pathology (ISUP) grade 1 (Gleason score 6) has been shown to have very little, if any, risk of metastasis ISUP grade 1 (Gleason score 3 +3 = 6) and low percentage ISUP grade 2 (Gleason score 3 + 4 [< 10%] = 7) can be offered active surveillance. The goal of active surveillance is to defer treatment but is still curative when required. With better imaging (magnetic resonance imaging and emerging prostate-specific membrane antigen positron emission tomography–computed tomography) and transperineal prostate biopsy, more men can be offered screening after discussion of risks and benefits, knowing that overdiagnosis has been minimised and radical treatment is reserved for only the most aggressive disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)424-429
Number of pages6
JournalThe Medical Journal of Australia
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Biopsy
  • Cancer
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Positron emission tomography
  • Prostate

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