Updated Trends in Imaging Use in Men Diagnosed with Prostate Cancer

Published in: Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases, v. 17, no. 3, Sep. 2014, p. 246-251

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2014

by Sima P. Porten, Alexandria Smith, Anobel Y. Odisho, Mark Litwin, Christopher S. Saigal, Peter R. Carroll, Matthew R. Cooperberg

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BACKGROUND: Previous studies have found persistent overuse of imaging for clinical staging of men with low-risk prostate cancer. We aimed to determine imaging trends in three cohorts of men. METHODS: We analyzed imaging trends of men with prostate cancer who were a part of Cancer of the Prostate Strategic Urologic Research Endeavor (CaPSURE) (1998–2006), were insured by Medicare (1998–2006), or privately insured (Ingenix database, 2002–2006). The rates of computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and bone scan (BS) were determined and time trends were analyzed by linear regression. For men in CaPSURE, demographic and clinical predictors of test use were explored using a multivariable regression model. RESULTS: Since 1998, there was a significant downward trend in BS (16%) use in the CaPSURE cohort (N=5156). There were slight downward trends (2.4 and 1.7%, respectively) in the use of CT and MRI. Among 54 322 Medicare patients, BS, CT and MRI use increased by 2.1, 10.8 and 2.2% and among 16 161 privately insured patients, use increased by 7.9, 8.9 and 3.7%, respectively. In CaPSURE, the use of any imaging test was greater in men with higher-risk disease. In addition, type of insurance and treatment affected the use of imaging tests in this population. CONCLUSIONS: There is widespread misuse of imaging tests in men with low-risk prostate cancer, particularly for CT. These findings highlight the need for examination of factors that drive decision making with respect to imaging in this setting.

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