First in the State to Use Fusion Biopsy

In 2017, Concord Hospital Center for Urologic Care became the first in New Hampshire to use a new technique that more accurately diagnoses prostate cancer, saving lives and preventing patients from undergoing unnecessary prostate biopsies.

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among men and the second leading cause of cancer death among men in New Hampshire*. Each year, the Center for Urologic Care conducts an average of 300 prostate biopsies. In 2016, before Fusion Biopsy began, less than half, discovered prostate cancer. Urologists recognize that the traditional biopsy method exposes too many men to needless biopsies and often misses small cancers.

The new technology, Fusion Biopsy, fuses, or matches, ultrasound imaging and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to provide a vivid ‘live’ view of potential tumors, enabling doctors to precisely target biopsies — increasing the rate of finding significant cancers by 30 percent.

At the Center for Urologic Care, Dr. William Santis said traditionally, a biopsy might be ordered to obtain prostate tissue samples from men with abnormal prostate exams or elevated PSA blood levels. Prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, levels often are elevated in men with prostate cancer but can be elevated for other, non-cancerous reasons. For a traditional biopsy, doctors guided by live ultrasound images obtain samples from different regions of the prostate, with no specific targets. For patients whose test results suggest an MRI, targets are identified by previously obtained MRI images, which doctors study before using live ultrasound images to guide a probe to those general areas.

Fusion biopsy fuses the MRI images with live ultrasound imaging to guide the biopsy needle to very specific targets. The MRI images essentially come alive and match the movements of the ultrasound device. Dr. Santis said because they are more useful than traditional untargeted biopsies, MRIs that can precisely identify potential tumors soon may become the standard for men with elevated PSA levels. The routine use of MRI and other blood tests to follow up elevated PSA levels also may allow up to 20 percent of men with an elevated PSA to avoid biopsies. For men who need a biopsy to confirm or rule out cancer, he believes the bulk of biopsies soon may be performed with the fusion technique.

Concord Hospital Center for Urologic Care performs approximately 30-40 prostate MRIs per month. Since adding fusion biopsy technology in 2017, Dr. Santis and colleagues Drs. Amichai Kilchevsky and Robert Mitchell have performed over 200 fusion biopsies.

* American Cancer Society

Expert Urology Care Close to Home

In addition to its office on Concord Hospital’s campus, the Center’s board-certified urologists practice in New London, Plymouth, and Wolfeboro, making it convenient for you to be seen close to home no matter where you live in Central New Hampshire.

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