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To determine the usefulness of colour Doppler ultrasonography (CDUS) in detecting prostate cancer, by comparing CDUS with grey-scale transrectal ultrasonography (TRUS) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).In all, 278 patients who underwent prostate biopsies because of an abnormal digital rectal examination, elevated prostate specific antigen levels, and/or abnormal TRUS between May 1998 and November 1999 were evaluated. The diagnostic accuracies of TRUS, CDUS, MRI and combinations of these imaging techniques in detecting prostate cancer were compared, based on the biopsy results.Carcinoma was detected in 233 of 1696 specimens, and 87 patients were diagnosed with prostate cancer. For each detected cancer site, the sensitivity of CDUS was lower than those of other imaging techniques, but CDUS had high a specificity and positive predictive value. The combination of grey-scale TRUS and CDUS or MRI improved the sensitivity and negative predictive value. The specificity and positive predictive value of the combination of grey-scale TRUS and MRI were less than those for grey-scale TRUS alone, while those for the combination of grey-scale TRUS and CDUS were higher than those for grey-scale TRUS alone. Five tumours were isoechoic but seen as hypervascular lesions with CDUS.CDUS provides information useful for detecting prostate cancer when used in combination with grey-scale TRUS, and should be included in the routine examination for prostate cancer.