Omit Digital Rectal Exam in Prostate Cancer Surveillance, use MRI only

Omit Digital Rectal Exam in Prostate Cancer Surveillance?

Jake Remaly

February 06, 2023

Routine use of MRI during active surveillance of men with prostate cancerallows patients to skip digital rectal examinations and some biopsies, and this approach is best practice, according to an international panel of experts.

Guidelines do not yet reflect this tack, but some centers already use it.

“Some people are doing the digital rectal examination [DRE] even though they are getting an MRI,” said Caroline M. Moore, MD, professor of urology at University College London, who led the review. “I’ve had doctors say that the patient expects that.”

The problem is that DRE is not especially accurate, she said. “If it was useful but mildly uncomfortable, then fine,” Moore told Medscape Medical News. “But it’s actually not very useful.”

So the panel of experts agreed that DRE is not needed “if you are doing a much more accurate test, the MRI scan, instead,” Moore said.