Prostate Biopsy Leads to Few Complications

Carolyn Drake

Complications as a result of prostate needle biopsy (PNB) have increased in recent years, though they remain infrequent enough that patients should go through with the procedure when deemed necessary by medical providers, researchers report.

Complications as a result of prostate needle biopsy (PNB) have increased in recent years, though they remain infrequent enough that patients should go through with the procedure when deemed necessary by medical providers, researchers report.

Stacy Loeb, MD, of New York University, and colleagues at the Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands used data from the European Randomized Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer to examine the risk of infectious complications and hospital admissions after PNB. Between 1993 and 2011, 10,474 PNBs were performed on participants in the study.

Based on 9,241 questionnaires filled out by study participants two weeks following their biopsy, the researchers found that 392 (4.2%) experienced fever and 78 (0.8%) were hospitalized. Of the hospital admissions, 81% were for infection. Of 56 available blood cultures, 34 were positive for infection, and 31 of these contained Escherichia coli. Only two patients in the study were admitted to an intensive care unit, and no biopsy-related deaths were reported.

Prostate enlargement and diabetes were strongly linked to an increased risk of fever following biopsy, whereas “later year of biopsy was the only factor significantly associated with an increased risk of hospital admission,” the researchers write in the study.

While “the frequency of hospital admissions after PNB significantly increased over time … the absolute frequency of hospital admissions related to PNB was low and should not dissuade healthy men who would benefit from early prostate cancer diagnosis from undergoing biopsy when clinically indicated,” the researchers concluded.

The study was published online earlier this month in European Urology.