Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy


Medical Biophysics


Ward, Aaron D.


The current clinical standard for diagnosis of prostate cancer (PCa) is 2D transrectal ultrasound (TRUS)-guided biopsy. However, this procedure has a false negative rate of 21-47% and therefore many patients return for repeat biopsies. A potential solution for improving upon this problem is “fusion” biopsy, where magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is used for PCa detection and localization prior to biopsy. In this procedure, tumours are delineated on pre-procedural MRI and registered to the 3D TRUS needle guidance modality. However, fusion biopsy continues to yield false negative results and there remains a gap in knowledge regarding biopsy needle target selection. Within-tumour needle targets are currently chosen ad hoc by the operating clinician without accounting for guidance system and registration errors. The objective of this thesis was to investigate how the choice of target selection strategy and number of biopsy attempts made per lesion may affect PCa diagnosis in the presence of needle delivery error.

A fusion prostate biopsy simulation software platform was developed, which allowed for the investigation of how needle delivery error affects PCa diagnosis and cancer burden estimation. Initial work was conducted using 3D lesions contoured on MRI by collaborating radiologists. The results indicated that more than one core must be taken from the majority of lesions to achieve a sampling probability 95% for a biopsy system with needle delivery error ≥ 3.5 mm. Furthermore, it was observed that the optimal targeting scheme depends on the relative levels of systematic and random needle delivery errors inherent to the specific fusion biopsy system. Lastly, PCa tumours contoured on digital histology images by genitourinary pathologists were used to conduct biopsy simulations. The results demonstrated that needle delivery error has a substantial impact on the biopsy core involvement observed, and that targeting of high-grade lesions may result in higher core involvement variability compared with lesions of all grades.

This work represents a first step toward improving the manner in which lesions are targeted using fusion biopsy. Successful integration of these findings into current fusion biopsy system operation could lead to earlier PCa diagnosis with the need for fewer repeat biopsy procedures.