In the evaluation of cervical cancer, computed tomography (CT) is used primarily to stage advanced tumors and evaluate for recurrence. Because of reports that CT imaging lacks sensitivity and specificity in the detection of primary tumors and metastatic lesions, its use in these applications has been limited, but recent improvements in CT technology may have increased its accuracy and may broaden its use. At the Second International Conference on Cervical Cancer, held April 11-14, 2002, the limitations of single-detector row CT scanners were compared with the capabilities of new CT technology. Improvements include the introduction of multidetector-row CT scanners, which can produce thinner tissue slices. This technology is needed for detection of parametrial extension, pelvic side-wall disease, extension into the pelvic viscera, lymphadenopathy, local tumor recurrence, and distant metastatic disease. New technology reduces the thickness of each slice to 1-3 mm, improving spatial resolution and making multiplanar imaging possible, which previously was feasible only with magnetic resonance imaging. Studies are needed to assess the use of the improved CT technology in evaluating cervical cancer.
Copyright 2003 American Cancer Society.