The GYN GEC-ESTRO working group issued three parts of recommendations and highlighted the pivotal role of MRI for the successful implementation of 3D image-based cervical cancer brachytherapy (BT). The main advantage of MRI as an imaging modality is its superior soft tissue depiction quality. To exploit the full potential of MRI for the better ability of the radiation oncologist to make the appropriate choice for the BT application technique and to accurately define the target volumes and the organs at risk, certain MR imaging criteria have to be fulfilled. Technical requirements, patient preparation, as well as image acquisition protocols have to be tailored to the needs of 3D image-based BT. The present recommendation is focused on the general principles of MR imaging for 3D image-based BT. Methods and parameters have been developed and progressively validated from clinical experience from different institutions (IGR, Universities of Vienna, Leuven, Aarhus and Ljubljana) and successfully applied during expert meetings, contouring workshops, as well as within clinical and interobserver studies. It is useful to perform pelvic MRI scanning prior to radiotherapy ("Pre-RT-MRI examination") and at the time of BT ("BT MRI examination") with one MR imager. Both low and high-field imagers, as well as both open and close magnet configurations conform to the requirements of 3D image-based cervical cancer BT. Multiplanar (transversal, sagittal, coronal and oblique image orientation) T2-weighted images obtained with pelvic surface coils are considered as the golden standard for visualisation of the tumour and the critical organs. The use of complementary MRI sequences (e.g. contrast-enhanced T1-weighted or 3D isotropic MRI sequences) is optional. Patient preparation has to be adapted to the needs of BT intervention and MR imaging. It is recommended to visualise and interpret the MR images on dedicated DICOM-viewer workstations, which should also assist the contouring procedure. Choice of imaging parameters and BT equipment is made after taking into account aspects of interaction between imaging and applicator reconstruction, as well as those between imaging, geometry and dose calculation. In a prospective clinical context, to implement 3D image-based cervical cancer brachytherapy and to take advantage of its full potential, it is essential to successfully meet the MR imaging criteria described in the present recommendations of the GYN GEC-ESTRO working group.
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