Clinical utility and cost modelling of the phi test to triage referrals into image-based diagnostic services for suspected prostate cancer: the PRIM (Phi to RefIne Mri) study
Abstract: Background: The clinical pathway to detect and diagnose prostate cancer has been revolutionised by the use of multiparametric MRI (mpMRI pre-biopsy). mpMRI however remains a resource-intensive test and is highly operator dependent with variable effectiveness with regard to its negative predictive value. Here we tested the use of the phi assay in standard clinical practice to pre-select men at the highest risk of harbouring significant cancer and hence refine the use of mpMRI and biopsies. Methods: A prospective five-centre study recruited men being investigated through an mpMRI-based prostate cancer diagnostic pathway. Test statistics for PSA, PSA density (PSAd) and phi were assessed for detecting significant cancers using 2 definitions: ≥ Grade Group (GG2) and ≥ Cambridge Prognostic Groups (CPG) 3. Cost modelling and decision curve analysis (DCA) was simultaneously performed. Results: A total of 545 men were recruited and studied with a median age, PSA and phi of 66 years, 8.0 ng/ml and 44 respectively. Overall, ≥ GG2 and ≥ CPG3 cancer detection rates were 64% (349/545), 47% (256/545) and 32% (174/545) respectively. There was no difference across centres for patient demographics or cancer detection rates. The overall area under the curve (AUC) for predicting ≥ GG2 cancers was 0.70 for PSA and 0.82 for phi. AUCs for ≥ CPG3 cancers were 0.81 and 0.87 for PSA and phi respectively. AUC values for phi did not differ between centres suggesting reliability of the test in different diagnostic settings. Pre-referral phi cut-offs between 20 and 30 had NPVs of 0.85–0.90 for ≥ GG2 cancers and 0.94–1.0 for ≥ CPG3 cancers. A strategy of mpMRI in all and biopsy only positive lesions reduced unnecessary biopsies by 35% but missed 9% of ≥ GG2 and 5% of ≥ CPG3 cancers. Using PH ≥ 30 to rule out referrals missed 8% and 5% of ≥ GG2 and ≥ CPG3 cancers (and reduced unnecessary biopsies by 40%). This was achieved however with 25% fewer mpMRI. Pathways incorporating PSAd missed fewer cancers but necessitated more unnecessary biopsies. The phi strategy had the lowest mean costs with DCA demonstrating net clinical benefit over a range of thresholds. Conclusion: phi as a triaging test may be an effective way to reduce mpMRI and biopsies without compromising detection of significant prostate cancers.