The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics instituted a change in the classification for carcinoma of the cervix with a new substage IA2. The criteria for this substage exceed the generally accepted criteria for microinvasion. Fifty patients with early invasive squamous cell carcinoma of the cervix were treated from 1976 through 1983 with a cone biopsy followed by a radical hysterectomy and pelvic lymph node dissection. These patients were reviewed to evaluate the ability to make the histologic diagnosis and to examine the natural history of the disease with maximal treatment. Histologically positive margins were found at the time of cone biopsy in 66% (33/50) of the patients. Negative margins at the time of cone biopsy were identified in 34% (17/50) of the patients. Residual invasive disease at the time of radical hysterectomy was found in 24% (4/17) of the patients with negative margins. Two of the 50 patients had positive lymph nodes. Three patients had recurrent metastatic disease. This study demonstrates that a preoperative diagnosis of stage IA2 invasive squamous cell carcinoma of the cervix is a difficult diagnosis to establish and creates a therapeutic dilemma regarding treatment.