PURPOSE: To assess the reliability of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for evaluation of craniocaudal tumour extension by comparing the craniocaudal tumour extension on the pre-operative MRI and post-operative hysterectomy specimen in patients with early stage uterine cervical cancer.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: After approval of the institutional review board was acquired, pre-operative MRI and hysterectomy specimen of 21 women with early stage cervical cancer were re-evaluated. The craniocaudal extension on MRI was measured separately by two experienced radiologists and compared with corresponding measurements from the hysterectomy specimen, which were re-evaluated by an experienced pathologist.
RESULTS: Median craniocaudal extension of uterine cervical cancer on MRI was slightly smaller compared to histopathology (2.1 cm vs. 2.5 cm). The median underestimation was 0.4 cm (range -0.6 cm to 2.2 cm, mean 0.4 cm, standard deviation (SD) ±0.7 cm); Pearson's correlation was 0.83 (p < 0.001). In two patients (9%) MRI underestimated tumour craniocaudal extension by more than 1.8 cm.
CONCLUSION: MRI represents the histopathological craniocaudal tumour extension in the majority of patients with early stage uterine cervical cancer, but with a systematic small underestimation of the real craniocaudal tumour extension.