Benign Conditions That Mimic Prostate Carcinoma: MR Imaging Features with Histopathologic Correlation

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A range of anatomic and pathologic mimics of prostate carcinoma are reviewed, with emphasis on their multiparametric MR imaging appearances and histopathologic features.

Multiparametric magnetic resonance (MR) imaging combines anatomic and functional imaging techniques for evaluating the prostate and is increasingly being used in diagnosis and management of prostate cancer. A wide spectrum of anatomic and pathologic processes in the prostate may masquerade as prostate cancer, complicating the imaging interpretation. The histopathologic and imaging findings of these potential mimics are reviewed. These entities include the anterior fibromuscular stroma, surgical capsule, central zone, periprostatic vein, periprostatic lymph nodes, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), atrophy, necrosis, calcification, hemorrhage, and prostatitis. An understanding of the prostate zonal anatomy is helpful in distinguishing the anatomic entities from prostate cancer. The anterior fibromuscular stroma, surgical capsule, and central zone are characteristic anatomic features of the prostate with associated low T2 signal intensity due to dense fibromuscular tissue or complex crowded glandular tissue. BPH, atrophy, necrosis, calcification, and hemorrhage all have characteristic features with one or more individual multiparametric MR imaging modalities. Prostatitis constitutes a heterogeneous group of infective and inflammatory conditions including acute and chronic bacterial prostatitis, infective and noninfective granulomatous prostatitis, and malacoplakia. These entities are associated with variable clinical manifestations and are characterized by the histologic hallmark of marked inflammatory cellular infiltration. In some cases, these entities are indistinguishable from prostate cancer at multiparametric MR imaging and may even exhibit extraprostatic extension and lymphadenopathy, mimicking locally advanced prostate cancer. It is important for the radiologists interpreting prostate MR images to be aware of these pitfalls for accurate interpretation. Online supplemental material is available for this article.

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Article History

Received: Feb 21 2015
Revision requested: May 11 2015
Revision received: May 30 2015
Accepted: July 31 2015
Published online: Nov 20 2015
Published in print: Jan 2016