Background: Imaging of cervical carcinoma remains challenging as local infiltration of surrounding tissues cannot always be discriminated safely. New imaging techniques, like diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) have emerged, which could lead to a more sensitive tumor detection.
Purpose: To evaluate the benefits of DWI for determination of size, local infiltration, and tumor grading, in patients with primary and recurrent cervical cancer.
Material and methods: In this prospective, study we enrolled 50 patients with primary (n = 35) and recurrent (n = 15) tumors. All patients underwent 3T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) including conventional (e.g. T1/T2 ± fs ± contrast) sequences and DWI (b-values of 0, 50, 400, 800 s/mm(2)). All images were analyzed by three readers with different experience levels (1, 3, 6 years), who compared image quality, tumor delineation, dimensions, local infiltration, lymph node involvement, and quantified ADC values compared to the histopathological grading.
Results: Additional use of DWI resulted in significantly better (P < 0.001) tumor delineation for the least experienced reader, but not for experienced readers. Tumor dimensions were assessed almost equally (P > 0.05) in conventional sequences and DWI. Use of DWI led to an increase in sensitivity of infiltrated adjacent tissue (from 86% to 90%) and detection of lymph node metastases (from 47% to 67%). Quantitative assessment of carcinomas showed lower ADC values (P < 0.001) with significant inverse correlations between different grading levels.
Conclusion: Our study demonstrates the overall benefits using DWI in 3T MRI resulting in a higher reader confidence, sensitivity of tissue infiltration, and tumor-grading for cervical cancer.
Keywords: Magnetic resonance (MR) diffusion; cervix; genital/reproductive; neoplasms – primary; pathology.
© The Foundation Acta Radiologica 2015.