Clinical staging to differentiate between localized and advanced disease stage appear to be unreliable. Curative therapy can only be performed in patients with localized prostate cancer. Accurate staging is therefore especially important for proper disease management. Since 1984 magnetic resonance (MR) imaging has been applied for this purpose. However, the role of MR imaging of the prostate is debated extensively in the literature. Initially MR imaging was performed using a conventional body coil with subsequent limited anatomical detail due to insufficient spatial resolution. With the introduction of new MR sequences, new coils and other technical developments numerous studies have attempted to improve local staging. The diagnostic capability of MR imaging in preoperative staging of prostate cancer is currently being established. In this review the role of MR imaging in staging prostate cancer is discussed.
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