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Imaging cervical cancer: recent advances and future directions

Downey, Katherine; deSouza, Nandita M.

doi: 10.1097/CCO.0b013e328348329b
Gynecologic cancer: Edited by Martin Gore

Purpose of review There has been considerable progress in the imaging of cervical cancer over the last 5 years. In countries with access to cross-sectional imaging resources, technical advances have enabled a range of imaging techniques to become increasingly employed and established in the detection, staging and treatment planning of cervical cancer and for identifying disease recurrence. This review highlights these developments and summarizes recent significant articles.

Recent findings Functional imaging techniques provide information on tumour biology by probing characteristics of tumour vascularity, cellularity and metabolism which critically contribute to decision making and stratification for management options. Particularly, functional MRI techniques have improved accuracy of disease staging and detection of recurrence. PET–computed tomography is useful in lymph node staging and targeted radiotracers are increasingly exploited as potential biomarkers of treatment response.

Summary Improvements in hardware, software and contrast agents are revolutionizing the role of imaging in cervical cancer. Once standardized and validated, the techniques should enable individualized patient treatment and optimization of outcome.

Cancer Research UK/EPSRC Cancer Imaging Centre, Institute of Cancer Research and Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, Sutton, Surrey, UK

Correspondence to Professor Nandita M. deSouza, MRI Unit, Royal Marsden Hospital, Downs Road, Sutton, Surrey SM2 5PT, UKTel: +44 20 8661 3119/3289; fax: +44 20 8661 0846; e-mail:

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.