PIQUAL – Prostate Phantom for MRI-targeted biopsy Improvement of internal Quality Assurance and Learning Curve

Together with the Martini-Klinik (Prostate Cancer Center Hamburg-Eppendorf) at the University Hospital Eppendorf, the student project PIQUAL is being conducted at the PKT. 


Prostate cancer (PCa) is the most common malignant cancer entity in men. Systematic transrectal ultrasound-guided biopsy (TRUS biopsy) of the prostate, introduced in 1980s, remains one of the gold standards of diagnosis of PCa nowadays.

Models for learning transrectal ultrasound are only available to a very limited extent for clinical student training as well as for trainee physicians and do not adequately represent clinical variability. So-called phantom models for learning biopsy are not used at all in clinical training for cost reasons.
Meanwhile, the increased use of MRI imaging has improved prostate diagnosis by increasing the detection rate of significant tumors and avoiding overdiagnosis. These advantages of MRI can be used in clinical practice via software-based fusion biopsy (FGB) (combination of TRUS and MRI for biopsy). In everyday clinical use, computer-assisted fusion of TRUS and MRI images is based on mathematical procedures that take anatomical changes into account.


The aim of PIQUAL is to develop an anatomical prostate phantom for FGB biopsy of the prostate. This phantom will be used to perform both examination techniques and biopsy procedures. The phantom will increase the quality of teaching and training of medical staff and reduce training times while increasing biopsy precision. In addition to anatomical imaging of the prostate and surrounding organs (urinary bladder, seminal vesicles, and ureters), the phantom allows imaging of customizable lesions (pathological changes) in the prostate.

Research Method

As a first step, the phantom is being designed for the FGB platform of the Martini Clinic at UKE for training and manual, transrectal biopsy. With the help of additive manufacturing (3D printing) and its high geometric freedom, the phantom can be precisely, cost-effectively and flexibly adapted to user requirements by means of anatomical molds. A modular design enables rapid swapping of individual parts for cost-effective repeat examinations. In addition, the modularity (display in MRI and TRUS) allows a longer-term application of the phantom to be investigated on additional biopsy platforms (e.g., robotic or transperineal).

Project Organisation

Principal Investigator: Prof. Dr.-Ing. D. Krause

Co-Investigator: Marie Wegner, M.Sc.

Funding and Partners

Martini-Klinik Prostatakrebszentrum Hamburg-Eppendorf am Universitätsklinikum Eppendorf (UKE)

The PIQUAL project is funded from 01.01.2019 to 30.06.2022 by the Authority for Science, Research and Equality (BWFG) as part of a student project.