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New imaging technique identifies cervical cancer

Diffusion-weighted MRI in combination with T2-weighted MRI may improve detection of early-stage, invasive cervical cancer.

Diffusion-weighted MRI in combination with T2-weighted MRI may improve the detection of small-volume, early-stage, invasive cervical cancer, according to the results of a pilot study published in the October issue of Radiology.

Elizabeth M. Charles-Edwards, of the Institute of Cancer Research in London, UK, and colleagues evaluated the new technique in 59 women aged 24 to 83. They divided the subjects into two groups: 20 women who were awaiting biopsies due to abnormalities in cervical tissue and 18 women with confirmed invasive cervical cancer (group 1), and 21 women who required evaluation for the presence of invasive disease (group 2).

The researchers found that diffusion was reduced in cancerous tissue compared to normal tissue, and stated that the technique showed a trend toward improved sensitivity and specificity in detecting Ia and Ib1 invasive cervical cancer with reduced intraobserver variation.

Charles-Edwards EM, Messiou C, Morgan VA, et al. Diffusion-weighted imaging in cervical cancer with an endovaginal technique: potential value for improving tumor detection in stage Ia and Ib1 disease. Radiology. 2008;249:541-550. doi:10.1148/radiol.2491072165.