Diffusion-weighted MRI added to standard T2-weighted scans can help spot cervical cancer in its early stages. A preliminary study from the Institute of Cancer Research in London determined that DWI can spot tumors missed by T2 imaging and bolster management options for women who wish to preserve reproductive organs.
Nandita M. deSouza, MD, and colleagues prospectively enrolled 59 women (ages 24-83) who were either waiting for a biopsy or had an incomplete resection of biopsy-confirmed stage Ia or Ib1 invasive cervical carcinomas or suspicious but ambivalent biopsy results (Radiology 249:541-550, 2008).
Th e investigators found water diffusion was significantly reduced in cancerous tissue compared with normal tissue (P < .0001). DWI enabled researchers to differentiate cervical cancers from the normal glandular lining of the cervix.