Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.


To see or not to see — what renders prostate cancer visible?

Multiparametric MRI (mpMRI) has revolutionized prostate cancer diagnosis and risk stratification, but the question remains regarding what it is that we see (or don’t see) on mpMRI. A new study by Houlahan and colleagues now offers insight into the molecular characteristics of a tumour that influence mpMRI visibility.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1.

    Hamdy, F. C. et al. 10-year outcomes after monitoring, surgery, or radiotherapy for localized prostate cancer. N. Engl. J. Med. 375, 1415–1424 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Bill-Axelson, A. et al. Radical prostatectomy or watchful waiting in prostate cancer - 29-year follow-up. N. Engl. J. Med. 379, 2319–2329 (2018).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Ahmed, H. U. et al. Diagnostic accuracy of multi-parametric MRI and TRUS biopsy in prostate cancer (PROMIS): a paired validating confirmatory study. Lancet 389, 815–822 (2017).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Kasivisvanathan, V. et al. MRI-targeted or standard biopsy for prostate-cancer diagnosis. N. Engl. J. Med. 378, 1767–1777 (2018).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Houlahan, K. E. et al. Molecular hallmarks of multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging visibility in prostate cancer. Eur. Urol. (2019).

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Li, H. et al. Dynamics of angiogenesis and cellularity in rabbit VX2 tumors using contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging and diffusion-weighted imaging. Oncol. Lett. 15, 2978–2984 (2018).

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Liang, S. et al. Information-based ranking of 10 compartment models of diffusion-weighted signal attenuation in fixed prostate tissue. NMR Biomed. 29, 660–671 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Devine, W. et al. Simplified luminal water imaging for the detection of prostate cancer from multiecho T2 MR images. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging (2018).

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Martin, D. T. et al. Prostate cancer genomic classifier relates more strongly to gleason grade group than prostate imaging reporting and data system score in multiparametric prostate magnetic resonance imaging-ultrasound fusion targeted biopsies. Urology 125, 64–72 (2019).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Moore, C. M. et al. The effect of dutasteride on magnetic resonance imaging defined prostate cancer: MAPPED-a randomized, placebo controlled, double-blind clinical trial. J. Urol. 197, 1006–1013 (2017).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


M.E. receives research support from the United Kingdom’s National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) and the University College London Hospital (UCLH)–UCL Biomedical Research Centre. He has been an NIHR Senior Investigator since 2013.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Mark Emberton.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The author declares no competing interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Emberton, M. To see or not to see — what renders prostate cancer visible?. Nat Rev Urol 16, 274–275 (2019).

Download citation


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing