The PROMIS trial is due to start in the next few months. It will test the ability of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans to detect prostate cancer in men who would normally undergo trans-rectal biopsies. Such biopsies are currently the standard procedure for men found to have raised prostate specific antigen (PSA) in their blood, but they can cause discomfort and may produce inaccurate or incomplete diagnoses.
If MRI scanning (which is being compared to biopsies in the PROMIS trial) can be shown to be at least as effective as rectal biopsy then many thousands of men each year may be able to avoid this invasive procedure and receive more appropriate care. However, in order to demonstrate this, men participating in the study will be asked to have both special MRI scans and biopsies in order to provide comprehensive mapping of their prostates. The biopsies will be performed under general or spinal anaesthetic. The results of each test will be assessed independently and compared. Further details of the study are given on the PROMIS study page.
An article about the PROMIS trial and its potential impact has now been published in The Telegraph.