Computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging in staging of uterine cervical carcinoma: a systematic review

Gynecol Oncol. 2003 Oct;91(1):59-66. doi: 10.1016/s0090-8258(03)00409-8.


Objective: The goal of this article is to systematically review the available evidence on the diagnostic performance of computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in staging of cervical carcinoma.

Methods: A comprehensive computer literature search was performed in MEDLINE and EMBASE databases from January 1985 to May 2002. Two reviewers independently scored methodological quality of included studies and extracted relevant data for data analysis. A bivariate random effect approach was used to summarize estimates of sensitivity and specificity values. Covariates were added to this model to study the influence of sample size, publication year, methodological criteria, and MRI techniques on summary estimates.

Results: Fifty-seven articles were included. In 49 articles one imaging modality was evaluated (MRI, 38; CT, 11), and in 8 articles, both. Inclusion criteria were: minimum of 10 patients included, histopathology as reference standard, sufficient data presented to construct 2(x) 2 tables. The exclusion criterion was: data reported elsewhere in more detail. Sensitivity estimates for parametrial invasion were 74% (95% C: 68-79%) for MRI and 55% (95% CI: 44-66%) for CT, and for lymph node involvement, 60% (95% CI 52%-68%) and 43% (95% CI: 37-57%), respectively. MRI and CT had comparable specificities for parametrial invasion and lymph node involvement. For bladder invasion and rectum invasion the sensitivities for MRI were respectively 75% (95% CI: 66-83%) and 71% (95% CI: 53-83%), higher compared with CT. The specificity in evaluating bladder invasion for MRI was significantly higher compared with CT: 91% (95% CI: 83-95%) for MRI and 73% (95% CI: 52-87%) for CT. The specificities for rectum invasion were comparable. Differences in patient sample size, publication year, methodological criteria, and MRI techniques had no effect on the summary estimates.

Conclusions: For overall staging of cervical carcinoma, MRI is more accurate than CT.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Neoplasm Staging / methods
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / pathology*