The Role of Imaging Exams in Diagnosing Low-grade Prostate Cancer

Men with low-grade prostate cancer are increasingly opting for active surveillance to manage their disease and diagnostic imaging tests may play an important role in this setting. Publications suggest that magnetic resonance (MR) imaging of the prostate helps to identify men that are more likely to have disease progression and need further evaluation and definitive treatment, while reassuring others that active surveillance remains as a viable option.

Similarly, MR imaging can be used in conjunction with other clinical information at the time of diagnosis to help physicians and patients choose among the various management alternatives. It is a useful adjunct tool to determine which prostate tumors are aggressive and need treatment and which are likely indolent and not life threatening.

The UCSF Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging is internationally known for its research in MR imaging and MR spectroscopic imaging of prostate cancer and its involvement in the development and translation of MR imaging technology into practice. We also have a long history of clinical collaborations with urologists at the University and throughout the country. We use state-of-art equipment to perform advanced multiparametric MR imaging, which includes MR spectroscopic imaging, diffusion weighted MR imaging, and dynamic contrast enhanced MR imaging. This powerful diagnostic tool, in addition to being noninvasive, does not make use of radiation sources to generate images.