Purpose: To determine the accuracy of MRI in detecting craniocaudal tumour extension, compared to histopathology, of the hysterectomy specimen in patients with early-stage uterine cervical cancer. Three complementary methods were investigated. Materials and methods: Thirty-four patients with early-stage cervical cancer had pre-operative MRI, followed by radical hysterectomy or trachelectomy. 1) craniocaudal tumour extension was measured on MRI by two radiologists and compared to microscopy by a pathologist, 2) to compensate for changes in uterine shape between pre-operative MRI and the surgical specimen, craniocaudal tumour extensions were directly compared and appreciated as being a part of a 3-dimensional tumour by a radiation oncologist and resident, and 3) tumour size on MRI was compared macroscopically after digital non-rigid registration of the uterus, uterine cavity and tumour of both modalities. Results: The craniocaudal tumour extension measured on histopathology minus MRI gives: 1) on average +3 mm difference when measured by a radiologist compared to the microscopic extension (range −13 to +15 mm), 2) −0.2 mm (range −11 to +6.0 mm) when evaluated on MRI by a radiation oncologist compared to the macroscopic tumour; 3) after non-rigid organ registration, a margin of 10 mm around the tumour on MRI would be needed to cover 95% of the tumour in 90% of the patients. Conclusions: Results indicate that microscopic tumour extension towards the uterine fundus is within a margin of 10 mm around the visible tumour on MRI. The major source of measurement uncertainty is post-surgical change of organ shape and form.