A prostate cancer scan could save thousands of lives a year, according to researchers at Imperial College.
The new fifteen-minute scan, known as a Prostagram, uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques and is less intrusive than current prostate tests.
It could lead to an extra 40,000 cases being detected every year, according to the research by Imperial College, published last month, in Jama Oncology. Prostagram, developed for no financial or commercial gain, routinely detected early prostate cancer.
This is the first time a scan has been shown to be accurate enough for use as a prostate cancer screening test, and it is hoped that the research could lead to a community-based screening programme, similar to the mammogram screening for women.
Professor Hashim Ahmed, a senior author of the study and chair of urology at Imperial College London, said: ‘Our promising study has shown that Prostagram has the potential to form the basis of a fast, mobile national screening programme for prostate cancer and could be a game-changer.’
Over 400 men between the ages of 50 and 65 took part in the study. Each participant received an offer of Prostagram from their GP, in addition to blood tests and prostate ultrasounds to compare current standard screening techniques.
The Prostagram picked up twice as many prostate cancers compared to standard blood tests.
Dr David Eldred-Evans, a researcher and developer of the Prostagram, said: ‘Plans for a more extensive trial covering 20,000 men are well advanced and will proceed in the coming months subject to funding.’
He added: ‘If results from this study are similar or better than those revealed today, there is then a clear pathway to the widespread implementation of Prostagram into the general population.’