OBJECTIVE : To assess the added value of 3D T2-weighted imaging (T2WI) over conventional 2D T2WI in diagnosing extracapsular extension (ECE). METHODS : Seventy-five patients undergoing 3-T MRI before radical prostatectomy were included. PI-RADS ≥ 4 lesions were assessed for ECE on 2D T2W images using a 5-point Likert scale (1 = no ECE, 5 = definite ECE) and the length of tumour prostatic capsular contact. A second read using 3D T2W images and reformats evaluated ECE and the maximal 3D capsular contact length and surface. RESULTS : One hundred six lesions were identified at MRI. ECE was confirmed by histology in 54% (57/106) of lesions and 64% (48/75) of patients. Sensitivity and specificity for 3D T2 reads were 75.4% versus 64.9% (p = 0.058), respectively, and 83.7% versus 85.7% (p = 0.705) for 2D T2 reads, respectively. 3D T2W reads showed significantly higher mean subjective Likert scores of 3.7 ± 1.4 versus 3.3 ± 1.4 (p = 0.001) in ECE-positive lesions and lower mean Likert score of 1.5 ± 1 versus 1.6 ± 0.9 (p = 0.27) in ECE-negative lesions compared with 2D T2W reads. 3D contact significantly increased sensitivity from 59.6 to 73.7% (p = 0.03), whilst maintaining the same specificity of 87.8% (p = 1). High-grade group tumours (≥ Gleason 4 + 3) showed significantly higher ECE prevalence than low-grade tumours (88% versus 44%, p < 0.001) and a positive predictive value (PPV) for ECE of 90.9% with ≥ 5 mm of contact versus PPV of 90.4% at ≥ 12.5 mm for lower grade tumours. CONCLUSIONS : 3D T2WI significantly increases sensitivity and confidence in calling ECE. The capsular contact length threshold differed between low- and high-grade cancers. CONCLUSIONS : • 3D capsular contact length and 3D surface contact significantly increased sensitivity in diagnosing ECE. • 3D T2W reads significantly increased reader confidence in calling ECE. • Thresholds for capsular contact length differed between low-grade and high-grade cancers.