Indexed on: 21 Jun '11Published on: 21 Jun '11Published in: Der Radiologe
The treatment of uterine cervical carcinoma is largely dependent on the tumor stage. Despite significant inaccuracies in the clinical examination, uterine cervical cancer remains the only gynecological form of cancer still largely staged according to clinical findings. Although imaging is still not included in the staging the recently published revised FIGO (Fédération International de Gynécologie et d'Obstétrique) system encourages the use of modern cross-sectional imaging (magnetic resonance imaging MRI and computed tomography CT). Due to its high soft tissue contrast MRI allows excellent non-invasive assessment of the cervix with direct tumor delineation as well as assessment of the prognosis based on morphological factors. Studies in the literature report an accuracy of 93% for MRI in the preoperative assessment of tumor size and in the differentiation of operable from advanced cervical cancer. Therefore MRI is considered to be the optimal modality for diagnostic evaluation starting from FIGO stage IB1, for radiation therapy planning, and for exclusion of recurrence in follow-up. In this paper we give an overview of the role of magnetic resonance imaging in preoperative staging of uterine cervical cancer.