Improved Prostate Cancer Detection and Focal Treatment

The QUS-based, prostate-imaging methods developed by Riverside Research biomedical engineering scientists pave the way for QUS-guided biopsies that can more effectively detect prostate cancer and also permit targeted focal treatment that spares healthy tissue and reduces the side effects of therapy.

Using advanced ultrasound echo-signal analysis methods termed quantitative ultrasound (QUS), coupled with sophisticated classification tools, scientists at the Riverside Research Lizzi Center for Biomedical Engineering are breaking new ground in detecting, evaluating, planning treatment, and monitoring prostate cancer. Our QUS-based methods for determining tissue type, which involve analyzing ultrasound echo-signal data and classifying tissue based on analysis results, produce images that display tumors in the prostate to a degree of reliability not attainable by any existing clinical imaging methods. For example, our biomedical engineering scientists were able to generate 3D images of a cancer-containing prostate gland (shown below in two separate views). The red mass (clearly seen in each view) that causes the anterior of the prostate gland to bulge is an occult 12-mm tumor. This tumor was confirmed by post-surgical histology, but it was not visible in any other pre-surgical image.

Conventional prostate imaging methods do not reliably display cancerous tissue. Biopsies are systematically, but blindly, obtained from multiple regions of the prostate gland; though to assure effective therapy, the entire gland must be treated. Consequently, biopsies frequently contain noncancerous tissue because the biopsy misses cancerous foci that are not visible on biopsy-guiding images. In the case of limited focal disease, the unnecessary treatment of the entire gland can damage the noncancerous tissue and result in side effects that are more severe than would result from focal treatment. However, the QUS-based, prostate-imaging methods developed by Riverside Research biomedical engineering scientists pave the way for QUS-guided biopsies that can more effectively detect prostate cancer and also permit targeted focal treatment that spares healthy tissue and reduces the side effects of therapy. Riverside Research is seeking to incorporate these QUS-based methods into a commercially-produced ultrasound instrument.