, Volume 30, Issue 5, pp 626-636
Date: 06 May 2005

Endometrial cancer: magnetic resonance imaging

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Abstract

Carcinoma of the endometrium is the most common invasive gynecologic malignancy of the female genital tract. Clinically, patients with endometrial carcinoma present with abnormal uterine bleeding. The role of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in endometrial carcinoma is disease staging and treatment planning. MRI has been shown to be the most valuable imaging mod-ality in this task, compared with endovaginal ultrasound and computed tomography, because of its intrinsic contrast resolution and multiplanar capability. MRI protocol includes axial T1-weighted images; axial, sagittal, and coronal T2-weighted images; and dynamic gadolinium-enhanced T1-weighted imaging. MR examination is usually performed in the supine position with a phased array multicoil using a four-coil configuration. Endometrial carcinoma is isointense with the normal endometrium and myometrium on noncontrast T1-weighted images and has a variable appearance on T2-weighted images demonstrating heterogeneous signal intensity. The appearance of noninvasive endometrial carcinoma on MRI is characterized by a normal or thickened endometrium, with an intact junctional zone and a sharp tumor-myometrium interface. Invasive endometrial carcinoma is characterized disruption or irregularity of the junctional zone by intermediate signal intensity mass on T2-weighted images. Invasion of the cervical stroma is diagnosed when the low signal intensity cervical stroma is disrupted by the higher signal intensity endometrial carcinoma. MRI in endometrial carcinoma performs better than other imaging modalities in disease staging and treatment planning. Further, the accuracy and the cost of MRI are equivalent to those of surgical staging.