Clinical Study Shows Low Risk of Complications Following Prostate Biopsy

Dr. Badar M. Mian

A clinical study led by Albany Medical Center urologists found the risk of infection following a prostate biopsy to be quite low, regardless of whether it was performed through the transrectal or transperineal (skin puncture) approach, and there was no difference between the two procedures in the risk of infectious complications. Further, both procedures carried only a low risk of minor complications.

The results of this first-ever randomized clinical trial – the gold standard for clinical studies – were published in the February 2024 issue of The Journal of Urology and will be discussed at the European Association of Urology annual conference in Paris in April.

Diagnosing Prostate Cancer

A prostate biopsy is the best way to diagnose prostate cancer and is usually performed following an abnormal PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test. Nearly one million prostate biopsy procedures are performed annually in the U.S.

“This study provides objective verification that, contrary to some observational analyses, either method of prostate biopsy is a safe way to detect suspected prostate cancer,” said Badar M. Mian, MD, professor in the Department of Urology and the lead author of the study. “When cancer is found early, it can be treated early and there is a greater chance of long-term survival.”

Low Risk of Complications

The randomized controlled trial included 718 men who had either transrectal or transperineal prostate biopsy under local anesthesia between September 2019 and September 2022. The researchers found no difference in the overall infectious complication rates between the two groups, and no difference in post-biopsy infection-related issues, including fever, antibiotic prescriptions, ER visits, and hospital admissions. Additionally, no patient experienced any significant bleeding after either of the procedures.

“Most importantly, no participants experienced sepsis or needed intensive care following either of the biopsy procedures,” added Dr. Mian.

Dr. Mian also noted that the results stand out from other published studies. “Our study highlights the safety of these procedures performed at Albany Medical Center where infections and other complications occurred in about 1.5 percent of patients, which is significantly superior to the four to eight percent risk of complications at many other centers,” he said.

The American Cancer Society estimates that approximately 299,010 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2024, and that there will be about 35,250 deaths from prostate cancer this year.