Assessing the Impact of Training and Individual Operator's Expertise on Prostate Cancer Detection

By Robert Dillard - August 17, 2021

Training and experience play a big role in the detection of prostate cancer, according to a study published in Investigative and Clinical Urology.

“This study was conducted to evaluate the relevance of training and experience to gaining expertise in prostate biopsy based on an assessment of outcomes from the performance of urology residents,” the researchers wrote.

In this retrospective study, the researchers reviewed the medical records of 10,299 patients who underwent prostate biopsy by 50 operators under a unified urology residency program. They noted that the number of prostate biopsies performed by an operator for each patient was used as an indicator of operator experience. Residents were placed into groups based on cancer detection rates in the first 50 and the last 50 procedures.

The results showed that operator experience was a significant predictor for cancer detection in patients with PSA <10.0 ng/mL, with cancer detection rates and the proportion of more advanced prostate cancers observed to be higher in the last 50 cases than in the first 50 cases. Detection rates varied significantly among operator, the researchers further noted, with residents with higher detection rates at the start of training showing higher detection rates after additional training.

“Training that adds to the cumulative experience of a trainee appears to play a meaningful role in improving cancer detection rates,” the researchers concluded. “The level of skill required to achieve mastery for independent practice may be assessed from the accuracy results of prostate biopsy procedures, and trainees with poor rates will require more technical training to improve precision.”