Prostate cancer is the most common cancer for men and, for men in the United States, it’s the second leading cause of death.
Some prostate cancers might be slow-growing and can be monitored over time whereas others need to be treated right away. To determine how aggressive someone’s cancer is, doctors look for abnormalities in slices of biopsied tissue on a slide. But this 2D method makes it hard to properly diagnose borderline cases.
Now a team led by the University of Washington has developed a new, non-destructive method that images entire 3D biopsies instead of just a slice. In a proof-of-principle experiment, the researchers imaged 300 3D biopsies taken from 50 patients — six biopsies per patient — and had a computer use 3D and 2D results to predict the likelihood that a patient had aggressive cancer. The 3D features made it easier for the computer to identify the cases that were more likely to recur within five years.
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