13 February 2015

MRI is increasingly being used in the diagnosis of prostate cancer. Potentially it could be a game changer, providing more accurate diagnosis than biopsy and avoiding the need for repeat biopsies for men on active surveillance. It would also eliminate sepsis from TRUS biopsies, which although rare, occurs in approximately 1% to 2% of procedures.

Advocates for its adoption as standard clinical practice claim that multi-parametric MRI is already capable of accurate diagnosis. Others suggest that whilst it shows great promise, further research is required before MRI scans could be offered more routinely to men with an abnormal PSA.

The cost, which is of the order of $500 to $700, is not currently reimbursed and there is a strong desire in the PCFA community for us to advocate for an MBS item number. This would mean that patients would no longer have to pay for prostate MRIs.

In order to understand the current evidence relating to the use of multi-parametric MRI in diagnosis of prostate cancer, PCFA is conducting a systematic review of the scientific and medical literature in partnership with Cancer Council Australia. We will continue to review the literature as new evidence emerges.

PCFA is also participating in a multi-disciplinary effort to obtain an MBS item number(s) for prostate MRI in partnership with the Department of Health, Urological Society of Australia and New Zealand and The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists. It is expected that an item number(s) will take approximately two years to obtain.