Context: Contrast-enhanced ultrasound is a real-time imaging technique with the capability of visualizing perfusion patterns. Since tumour growth is associated with changes in vascularisation, this modality is under research for imaging of various tumour types. Studies have shown promising results for the diagnosis of prostate cancer for various imaging techniques; however, the exact value of each technique is still unclear. Objective: To determine the value of contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) in the detection, localisation, and follow-up of treatment for prostate cancer. Evidence acquisition: In the period 2002-2006, research in four European centres regarding CEUS of the prostate was coordinated in a combined program. This paper describes and combines the results of these studies. Evidence synthesis: Various techniques were developed and researched during the period of this program. Studies showed that prostate cancer could be visualized and localized in up to 78%. Visualization of the tumour enabled better detection; targeted biopsies lead to fewer biopsies per session without loss of detection rate. A combined approach offered the highest detection rate. CEUS could be used to visualize the effects of high-intensity focussed ultrasound and hormonal therapy for prostate cancer with success, and identified patients with an early relapse. Unfortunately, pretreatment evaluation could not identify the nonresponders beforehand. Conclusions: This research project was a first step towards routine use of CEUS in the clinical detection and follow-up of prostate cancer; and new combined studies are initiated. (C) 2008 European Association of Urology. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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