DOI: 10.1007/s00259-017-3809-yPages: 67-76

Comparison of 18F-FDG PET/MRI and MRI for pre-therapeutic tumor staging of patients with primary cancer of the uterine cervix

1. University Hospital Essen, University of Duisburg-Essen, Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology and Neuroradiology

2. University Dusseldorf, Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, Medical Faculty

3. University Hospital Essen, University of Duisburg-Essen, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

4. University Hospital Essen, University of Duisburg-Essen, Department of Nuclear Medicine

Correspondence to:
Theresia Sarabhai
Tel: +49(0)201/723-1501




The aim of the present study was to assess and compare the diagnostic performance of integrated PET/MRI and MRI alone for local tumor evaluation and whole-body tumor staging of primary cervical cancers. In addition, the corresponding impact on further patient management of the two imaging modalities was assessed.


A total of 53 consecutive patients with histopathological verification of a primary cervical cancer were prospectively enrolled for a whole-body 18F-FDG PET/MRI examination. Two experienced physicians analyzed the MRI data, in consensus, followed by a second reading session of the PET/MRI datasets. The readers were asked to perform a dedicated TNM staging in accordance with the 7th edition of the AJCC staging manual. Subsequently, the results of MRI and PET/MRI were discussed in a simulated interdisciplinary tumor board and therapeutic decisions based on both imaging modalities were recorded. Results from histopathology and cross-sectional imaging follow-up served as the reference standard.


PET/MRI allowed for a correct determination of the T stage in 45/53 (85%) cases, while MRI alone enabled a correct identification of the tumor stage in 46/53 (87%) cases. In 24 of the 53 patients, lymph node metastases were present. For the detection of nodal-positive patients, sensitivity, specificity and accuracy of PET/MRI were 83%, 90% and 87%, respectively. The respective values for MRI alone were 71%, 83% and 77%. In addition, PET/MRI showed higher values for the detection of distant metastases than MRI alone (sensitivity: 87% vs. 67%, specificity: 92% vs. 90%, diagnostic accuracy: 91% vs. 83%). Among the patients with discrepant staging results in the two imaging modalities, PET/MRI enabled correct treatment recommendations for a higher number (n = 9) of patients than MRI alone (n = 3).


The present results demonstrate the successful application of integrated PET/MRI imaging for whole-body tumor staging of cervical cancer patients, enabling improved treatment planning when compared to MRI alone.

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  • Accepted: Aug 10, 2017
  • Online: Aug 24, 2017

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