Aytekin Oto, MD, with a patient before his MRI
Radiologist Aytekin Oto, MD, offers advanced expertise in prostate MRI and MRI-guided focal therapy for prostate cancer.

At the University of Chicago Medicine, we offer the latest techniques for detecting and evaluating prostate cancer. An elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test and/or abnormalities of the prostate identified during a digital rectal exam (DRE) typically are the first indication of the possibility of prostate cancer. Neither of these tests, however, provides a definitive diagnosis of the disease.

If prostate cancer is suspected, our specialists may suggest additional blood or urine tests to estimate the risk of having prostate cancer; advanced imaging; or proceeding with a biopsy. If cancer is diagnosed, it might be localized (contained within the prostate gland), locally advanced (spread beyond the gland, but not invading other organs or vital structures) or metastatic (spread to bones, lymph nodes or other parts of the body). Appropriate management options, of which there are usually multiple, depend on many specifics regarding the man, his overall health, and the cancer.

Prostate Biopsy

A prostate biopsy is the only test that can confirm whether or not a patient has prostate cancer.

Conventional Prostate Biopsy

Conventional prostate biopsy is typically performed on an outpatient basis under local anesthetic. The procedure is slightly uncomfortable and is usually completed in less than 10 minutes.

During the procedure, the urologist inserts a thin needle through the rectum into the prostate gland. Guided by ultrasound, the doctor then removes small tissue samples. A pathologist with special expertise in prostate cancer examines the tissue under a microscope.

If cancer cells are found, they are graded using the Gleason score to assign a number from 6 to 10 (and also assigned a Gleason grade group of 1 through 5, which is a more contemporary system that mirrors the Gleason 6 – 10 grading but thought to be easier to understand). Lower numbers mean a slow growing cancer; higher numbers indicate the cancer cells may be more aggressive.

MRI-Guided Prostate Biopsy

We often recommend MRIs of the prostate in various clinical situations to obtain further information to guide decision-making. When needed, MRI-guided biopsies of suspected tumors in the prostate offer a targeted, minimally invasive, and more accurate diagnosis for prostate cancer. MRI-guided prostate biopsy and MRI/ultrasound fusion biopsy (described below) have a lower risk for false negative results than conventional prostate biopsy and more commonly identify clinically meaningful cancers.

MRI/Ultrasound Fusion Biopsy

MRI/ultrasound fusion biopsy blends the detection capabilities of magnetic resonance imaging with the real-time imaging of ultrasound to guide physicians directly to suspicious lesions during the prostate biopsy.

During this procedure, the prostate MRI is taken initially and radiologists identify areas in the prostate that could be potentially cancerous. If a biopsy is deemed necessary, specialists fuse MRI images to live ultrasound images, which guide the urologist in navigating directly to the lesions. The tissue samples from these exact locations will be examined to determine diagnosis and treatment. Read more about MRI-guided prostate biopsy and MRI/ultrasound fusion biopsy.

Diagnostic Imaging

If the biopsy shows you have prostate cancer, your physician may recommend imaging tests to determine the location and size as well as the stage (whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body) of the tumor.

We are one of the first hospitals in Illinois to offer PSMA PET scans for patients with prostate cancer. This powerful new tool is more accurate than previously used diagnostic imaging scans and can detect tumors anywhere in the body. PSMA PET is available to patients whose cancer has likely spread to other areas of the body or who are suspected to have a recurrence of disease based on a rise in PSA level.

UChicago Medicine radiologists are experts in endorectal prostate MRI using state-of-the art 3 Tesla MRI scanners, which give detailed images of the prostate.

Other diagnostic imaging tests, such as CT and bone scans may also be necessary to fully assess and stage prostate cancer.

Researchers at UChicago Medicine continually work on developing new image and image-guided technologies for prostate cancer.

Request an Appointment for Prostate Cancer Care

The information you provide on this secure form to request an appointment with a UChicago Medicine prostate cancer expert will enable us to assist you as efficiently as possible. A representative will contact you within one to two business days to help you schedule an appointment.

You can also make an appointment with our providers by:

Scheduling a virtual video visit to see a provider from the comfort of your home

Requesting an online second opinion from our specialists

To speak to someone directly, please call 1-855-702-8222. If you have symptoms of an urgent nature, please call your doctor or go to the emergency room immediately.


For Referring Physicians

To refer a patient for prostate cancer care, please call UCM Physician Connect at 1-800-824-2282

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