Objectives: To prospectively assess the diagnostic performance of transvaginal ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), using histology as the gold standard, with regard to the presence, size, and extent of invasive cervical cancers and the detection of metastatic lymph nodes.
Methods: This was a prospective study designed to examine patients with invasive cervical cancer by means of ultrasonography and MRI within 1 week before surgery. We included patients with early cervical cancer planned for primary surgery and patients with locally advanced cervical cancer planned for surgery after neoadjuvant treatment.
Results: An invasive cervical cancer tumor was confirmed in the 33 patients triaged for primary surgery. A residual tumor mass was documented in 27 out of 35 patients (77%) who underwent surgery after neoadjuvant treatment, with no residual tumor in eight (23%) cases. Transvaginal ultrasound and MRI examinations showed the presence of the tumor mass in 56/60 (93%) and in 53/60 (88%) cases, respectively. Ultrasound and MRI detected the depth of stromal invasion to be greater than two-thirds with a sensitivity of 100% (16/16) and 94% (15/16) (P = 1) and a false-positive rate of 25% (13/52) and 15% (8/52) (P = 0.58), respectively. Both ultrasound and MRI provided low sensitivities (3/5, 60% and 2/5, 40% respectively, P = 1) and the same false-positive rate (7/63, 11%) for the presence of parametrial infiltration. One of the 11 patients with metastatic lymph nodes was detected at ultrasound examination (sensitivity 9%) with no false-positive cases, while MRI correctly identified three positive cases (sensitivity 27%, 3/11) with two false-positive cases (false positive rate 4%, 2/55).
Conclusions: Ultrasound and MRI had similar sensitivity and specificity with regard to the parameters investigated. Ultrasound has the advantages over MRI of low cost, widespread availability and of being a relatively quick procedure. Ultrasound should be considered as a suitable diagnostic method in the preoperative work-up of cervical cancer.