The study, consisting of 24 patients with prostate cancer, compared the use of MRI at 1.5 and 3.0 T in terms of image quality, tumor delineation, and depiction of staging criteria. MRI using an endorectal coil was found to be superior to the conventional body coil in staging prostate cancer, concluded the study.
"We did not expect to find such a clear and pronounced difference in overall image quality between the two techniques," commented Dirk Beyersdorff, MD, lead author and researcher.
Prostate cancer is the most common malignant tumor in men and the second most common cause of cancer death in men. Improving detection and identification of the cancer with MRI is a significant step in improving the techniques of managing the patient, said Dr. Beyersdorff. Correct preoperative staging is a prerequisite for choosing the optimal therapeutic strategy for the individual patient. "Preoperative staging should be performed using the best method available," said Dr. Beyersdorff.
The results of the study found that image quality and delineation of prostate cancer at 1.5 T with the use of an endorectal coil in a pelvic phased-array is superior to the higher field strength of 3.0 T with a torso phased-array coil. Both of these devices encircle the body at specific locations to create very detailed MR images. Currently, there are no endorectal coils refined for 3-T imaging.
"[The] results suggest that considerable advances in coil technology are necessary to improve prostate imaging at 3.0 T," said Dr. Beyersdorff. "It is expected that endorectal coils will become available for 3.0 T scanners in the near future, such a coil may be available early next year."
The study was done at the Charité in Berlin, Germany. It appears in the November 2005 issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR).
A PDF of the study is available upon request to reporters.
AJR Nov 2005;185;1214-1220