ACRIN, GOG initiate study on imaging for staging cervical cancer

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A new study, supervised by the ACR Imaging Network (ACRIN) and the Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG), will evaluate the capability of FDG-PET/CT and MRI, with the contrast agent Combidex to identify pelvic and abdominal lymph node metastases in patients with locoregionally advanced cervical cancer.

According to investigators, FDG-PET/CT and Combidex MRI hold the promise to find cancers that may presently go undiagnosed.

“Currently, we try to diagnose lymph node metastases by size,” said Mostafa Atri, MD, principal investigator for the trial from the University Health Network/Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. “This method has low specificity and low sensitivity.”

“MRI with Combidex works differently. The contrast agent is absorbed by normal nodes, but not by the component of lymph node infiltrated by cancer. We see the cancer as defects in the lymph node. For PET, metastases appear as increased activity,” Atri noted.

Approximately 10 ACRIN-approved sites will work in collaboration with a GOG member institution to gather 325 participants over three years. Participants will undergo lymph node sampling to determine the accuracy of the imaging exams.

"If this study shows these modalities work for cervical cancer in a multicenter trial, it could lead to future research that would benefit many different cancer patients,” Atri said.