Systematic ultrasound-guided saturation and template biopsy of the prostate: Indications and advantages of extended sampling

Members of the Prostate Cancer Working Group of the European Association of Urology Young Academic Urologists

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVES: Prostate biopsy (PB) is the gold standard for the diagnosis of prostate cancer (PCa). However, the optimal number of biopsy cores remains debatable. We sought to compare contemporary standard (10-12 cores) vs. saturation (≥18 cores) schemes on initial as well as repeat PB. METHODS: A non-systematic review of the literature was performed from 2000 through 2013. Studies of highest evidence (randomized controlled trials, prospective non-randomized studies, and retrospective reports of high quality) comparing standard vs saturation schemes on initial and repeat PB were evaluated. Outcome measures were overall PCa detection rate, detection rate of insignificant PCa, and procedure-associated morbidity. RESULTS: On initial PB, there is growing evidence that a saturation scheme is associated with a higher PCa detection rate compared to a standard one in men with lower PSA levels (<10 ng/ml), larger prostates (>40 cc), or lower PSA density values (<0.25 ng/ml/cc). However, these cut-offs are not uniform and differ among studies. Detection rates of insignificant PCa do not differ in a significant fashion between standard and saturation biopsies. On repeat PB, PCa detection rate is likewise higher with saturation protocols. Estimates of insignificant PCa vary widely due to differing definitions of insignificant disease. However, the rates of insignificant PCa appear to be comparable for the schemes in patients with only one prior negative biopsy, while saturation biopsy seems to detect more cases of insignificant PCa compared to standard biopsy in men with two or more prior negative biopsies. Very extensive sampling is associated with a high rate of acute urinary retention, whereas other severe adverse events, such as sepsis, appear not to occur more frequently with saturation schemes. DISCUSSION: Current evidence suggests that saturation schemes are associated with a higher PCa detection rate compared to standard ones on initial PB in men with lower PSA levels or larger prostates, and on repeat PB. Since most data are derived from retrospective studies, other endpoints such as detection rate of insignificant disease - especially on repeat PB - show broad variations throughout the literature and must, thus, be interpreted with caution. Future prospective controlled trials should be conducted to compare extended templates with newer techniques, such as image-guided sampling, in order to optimize PCa diagnostic strategy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)296-306
Number of pages11
JournalArchivos Espanoles de Urologia
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2015


  • Complications
  • Prostate biopsy
  • Prostate neoplasms
  • Saturation biopsy
  • Significant prostate cancer
  • Template biopsy


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