Nigerian Journal of Clinical Practice

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Diagnosis of prostate cancer with needle biopsy: Should all cases be biopsied before treatment?

CK Oranusi, AI Ugezu, AME Nwofor


Background: The triad of digital rectal examination (DRE), serum prostate specific antigen, and transrectal ultrasound‑guided prostate biopsy is used in the detection of prostate cancer (PCa). It is recommended that all cases of PCa should be diagnosed with needle biopsy before treatment. The exclusion criteria for those that may not be suitable have not yet been defined. Materials and Methods: We reviewed all the patients diagnosed with PCa at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital Nnewi, Southeast, Nigeria, from January 2007 to December 2010. Relevant biodata and method of diagnosis of PCa before treatment were reviewed. Results: A total of 133 patients had bilateral orchidectomy over the period. 120 (90.2%) had their diagnosis confirmed by needle biopsy before bilateral orchidectomy (category 1), while 13 (9.8%) had bilateral orchidectomy before diagnosis was confirmed. The method of diagnosis for category 1 patients was with lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS), abnormal DRE findings, elevated prostate‑specific antigen (PSA), and transrectal needle biopsy. For category 11 patients, diagnosis of PCa was suspected based on LUTS, abnormal DRE findings, and elevated PSA. Of this number, 11 (84.6%) had, in addition, sudden onset paraplegia at presentation, while 2 (15.4%) had severe uncontrolled hematuria at presentation. All the patients in both categories had needle biopsy confirmation of their disease. The sensitivity of PSA was 99.2%. Conclusion: Needle biopsy of the prostate is the preferred method for the diagnosis of PCa in most cases before treatment is undertaken. There are valid reasons why all PCas will not be diagnosed in this fashion. Elevated PSA when combined with an abnormal DRE finding increases the predictive value for cancer. In areas where pathologists are lacking, abnormal DRE and elevated PSA results can be a guide to proceed to treatment especially, where there is severe compromise of patients’ quality of life due to symptoms of advanced PCa while awaiting confirmation.

Keywords: Bilateral orchidectomy, needle biopsy, prostate cancer

Nigerian Journal of Clinical Practice •Jan-Mar 2012 • Vol 15 • Issue 1
AJOL African Journals Online