A Comprehensive Comparison of CT, MRI, Positron Emission Tomography or Positron Emission Tomography/CT, and Diffusion Weighted Imaging-MRI for Detecting the Lymph Nodes Metastases in Patients with Cervical Cancer: A Meta-Analysis Based on 67 Studies

Gynecol Obstet Invest. 2017;82(3):209-222. doi: 10.1159/000456006. Epub 2017 Feb 10.


Object: In recent times, many published papers reported the diagnostic performance of CT, MRI, positron emission tomography (PET) using 2-[18F] fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (FDG) and diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DW-MRI) for detecting the lymph nodes (LNs) metastases in patients with cervical cancer. This study is aimed at assessing and comparing the diagnostic value of those non-invasive modalities in detecting the LNs metastases in cervical cancer patients.

Methods: Studies on the non-invasive modalities for the detection of metastatic LNs were searched in PubMed, Medline, Web of Science, Cochrane Library and Embase databases. Pooled positive likelihood ratios and negative likelihood ratios, diagnostic OR, area under curve (AUC), summary receiver operating characteristics were calculated as evaluation indices.

Results: In region- or node-based analysis, the AUC of DWI-MRI (0.92) and PET or PET/CT (0.90) were better than CT (0.83), and the difference was significant (DWI-MRI vs. CT: Z = 4.61, p < 0.001; PET or PET/CT vs. CT: Z = 3.61, p = 0.001).

Conclusion: Among the 4 non-invasive modalities, the PET or PET/CT has the highest specificity, and DWI-MRI has the highest sensitivity.

Keywords: CT; Cervical cancer; Diffusion-weighted imaging; Lymph node; MRI; Metastasis; Positron emission tomography.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology
  • Lymphatic Metastasis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lymphatic Metastasis / pathology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Positron Emission Tomography Computed Tomography
  • Positron-Emission Tomography*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / pathology