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Diagnostic value of PET/CT is similar to that of conventional MRI and even better for detecting small peritoneal implants in patients with recurrent ovarian cancer. February 24, 2012

Posted by patoconnor in cancer, gynecological cancer, ovarian cancer, tubal cancer, Uncategorized, uterine cancer, vaginal cancer.
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Diagnostic value of PET/CT is similar to that of conventional MRI and even better for detecting small peritoneal implants in patients with recurrent ovarian cancer.

Feb 2012

Sanli YTurkmen CBakir BIyibozkurt COzel SHas DYilmaz ETopuz SYavuz EUnal SNMudun A.


Departments of aNuclear Medicine bRadiology cObstetrics and Gynecology dBiostatistics and Medical Informatics ePathology, Istanbul Faculty of Medicine, Istanbul University, Istanbul, Turkey.



The aim of this study was to evaluate the diagnostic value of 2-(fluorine-18)-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (F-FDG) PET/CT in comparison with MRI for the detection of recurrent ovarian cancer.


Forty-seven patients with suspected ovarian cancer recurrence after total ablative or cytoreductive surgery, as well as neoadjuvant or adjuvant chemotherapy, who had undergone F-FDG PET/CT imaging were recruited for the present study. All patients also underwent MRI within a month of F-FDG PET/CT for the same purpose. Recurrent cancer in the abdomen and pelvis was evaluated in each of the 47 patients and classified as either distant metastasis or local pelvic recurrence involving the vaginal stump, peritoneal implants, supradiaphragmatic region, and/or abdominal and pelvic lymph nodes. Special attention was paid to peritoneal implants. These were divided into five groups according to size of the implants: less than 0.5 cm (group 1), 0.5-1 cm (group 2), 1-2 cm (group 3), 2-3 cm (group 4), and larger than 3 cm (group 5). PET/CT findings were compared with abdominopelvic MR findings. Statistical analysis was carried out using the Wilcoxon signed rank test.


Thirty-nine of 47 patients were found to have recurrent ovarian cancer. Both PET/CT and MRI were negative for recurrence in six patients. Overall sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value, and diagnostic accuracy of PET/CT were 97.5, 100, 100, 87.5, and 97.8%, respectively, whereas those of MRI were 95, 85.7, 97.4, 75, and 93.6%, respectively. For the peritoneal implants in groups 2 and 3, the sensitivity, negative predictive value, and diagnostic accuracy values of PET/CT were significantly better than those of MRI (P<0.05).


The present study revealed that PET/CT is similar to conventional MRI for the detection of recurrent ovarian cancer. PET/CT has greater accuracy in the detection of small-to-medium-sized (<2 cm) peritoneal implants compared with MRI. This may affect surgical decision making.




How Is Ovarian Cancer Diagnosed? November 16, 2008

Posted by patoconnor in cancer, gynecological cancer, ovarian cancer, tubal cancer, uterine cancer, vaginal cancer.
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How Is Ovarian Cancer Diagnosed?

From the American Cancer Society

Consultation with a specialist

If your pelvic exam or other tests suggest that you may have ovarian cancer, you will need a doctor or surgeon who specializes in treating women with this type of cancer. A gynecologic oncologist is an obstetrician/gynecologist who is specially trained in treating cancers of the female reproductive system.

Imaging studies

Imaging methods such as computed tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, and ultrasound studies can confirm whether a pelvic mass is present. Although these studies cannot confirm that the mass is a cancer, they are useful if your doctor is looking for spread of ovarian cancer to other tissues and organs.


Ultrasound (ultrasonography) is the use of sound waves to create an image on a video screen. Sound waves are released from a small probe placed in the woman’s vagina or on the surface of her abdomen. The sound waves create echoes as they enter the ovaries and other organs. The same probe detects the echoes that bounce back, and a computer translates the pattern of echoes into a picture. Because ovarian tumors and normal ovarian tissue often reflect sound waves differently, this test may be used to find tumors and determine whether a mass is solid or a fluid-filled cyst.

Computed tomography

The CT scan is an x-ray procedure that produces detailed cross-sectional images of your body. Instead of taking one picture, like a conventional x-ray, a CT scanner takes many pictures as it rotates around you. A computer then combines these pictures into an image of a slice of your body. The machine will take pictures of multiple slices of the part of your body that is being studied.

This test can help tell if the cancer has spread into your liver or other organs. CT scans are useful in showing how large the tumor is, what other organs it may be invading, whether lymph nodes are enlarged and if your kidneys or bladder are affected.

You may be asked to drink 1 to 2 pints of a liquid before the CT scan called “oral contrast.” This helps outline the intestine so that certain areas are not mistaken for tumors. You may also receive an IV (intravenous) line through which a different kind of contrast dye is injected. This helps better outline structures in your body.

The injection can cause some flushing (redness and warm feeling that may last hours to days). A few people are allergic to the dye and get hives. Rarely, more serious reactions like trouble breathing and low blood pressure can occur. Medicine can be given to prevent and treat allergic reactions. Be sure to tell the doctor if you have ever had a reaction to any contrast material used for x-rays.

CT scans are not usually used to to biopsy (see biopsy in the section “Other tests”) an ovarian tumor, but they can be used to biopsy a suspected metastasis. For this procedure, called a CT-guided needle biopsy, the patient stays on the CT scanning table, while a radiologist moves a biopsy needle toward the location of the mass. CT scans are repeated until the doctors are confident that the needle is within the mass. A fine needle biopsy sample (tiny fragment of tissue) or a core needle biopsy sample (a thin cylinder of tissue about ½ inch long and less than 1/8 inch in diameter) is removed and examined under a microscope.

CT scans take longer than regular x-rays and you need to lie still on a table while they are being done. But just like other computerized devices, they are getting faster and the most modern ones take only seconds.

Barium enema x-ray

This is a test to see whether the cancer has invaded the colon (large intestine) or rectum (it is also used to look for colorectal cancer). After taking laxatives the day before, the radiology technician puts barium sulfate, a chalky substance, into the rectum and colon. Because barium is impermeable to x-rays (impossible for x-rays to go through), it outlines the colon and rectum on x-rays of the abdomen. This test is rarely used now in women with ovarian cancer. Colonoscopy may be done instead.

Magnetic resonance imaging

MRI scans use radio waves and strong magnets instead of x-rays. The energy from the radio waves is absorbed and then released in a pattern formed by the type of tissue and by certain diseases. A computer translates the pattern of radio waves given off by the tissues into a very detailed image of parts of the body. Not only does this produce cross sectional slices of the body like a CT scanner, it can also produce slices that are parallel with the length of the body. A contrast material might be injected into a vein (same as with a CT scan). MRI scans are not used often to look for ovarian cancer.

MRI scans are particularly helpful to examine the brain and spinal cord. MRI scans take longer than CT scans, — often up to 30 minutes or more. Also, you have to be placed inside a tube, which is confining and can upset people with claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces). The machine also makes a thumping noise that you may find disturbing. Some places will provide headphones with music to block the sound.

Chest x-ray

This procedure may be done to determine whether ovarian cancer has spread (metastasized) to the lungs. This spread may cause one or more tumors in the lungs and often causes fluid to collect around the lungs. This fluid, called a pleural effusion, can be seen with chest x-rays.

Positron emission tomography (PET scan)

In this test radioactive glucose (sugar) is given to look for the cancer. Because cancers use glucose (sugar) at a higher rate than normal tissues, the radioactivity will tend to concentrate in the cancer. A scanner can spot the radioactive deposits. This test has can be helpful for spotting small collections of cancer cells. In some instances this test has proved useful in finding ovarian cancer that has spread. It is even more valuable when combined with a CT scan (PET/CT scan). Although PET scans can help find cancer when it has spread, they are expensive and many insurance companies will not cover the cost.


This procedure uses a thin, lighted tube through which a doctor can look at the ovaries and other pelvic organs and tissues in the area around the bile duct. The tube is inserted through a small incision (cut) in the lower abdomen and sends the images of the pelvis or abdomen to a video monitor. Laparoscopy provides a view of organs that can help plan surgery or other treatments and can help doctors confirm the stage (how far the tumor has spread) of the cancer. Also, doctors can manipulate small instruments through the laparascopic incision(s) to perform biopsies.


A colonoscopy is a way to examine the inside of the large intestine (colon). After the large intestine has been cleaned with laxatives, the doctor inserts a fiberoptic tube into the rectum and passes it through the entire colon. The images are sent to a video monitor. This allows the doctor to see the inside and detect any abnormalities. Colonoscopy can be uncomfortable, so the patient is sedated before the procedure. This test is more commonly used to look for colorectal cancer.


The only way to determine for certain if a growth is cancer is to remove a sample of the growth from the suspicious area and examine it under a microscope. This procedure is called a biopsy. For ovarian cancer, the biopsy is most commonly done by removing the tumor at surgery. It can be also be done during a laparoscopy procedure or with a needle placed directly into the tumor through the skin of the abdomen. Usually the needle will be guided by either ultrasound or CT scan. A needle biopsy is sometimes used instead of surgery if the patient cannot have surgery because of advanced cancer or some other serious medical condition.

In patients with ascites (collection of fluid inside the abdomen), samples of fluid can also be used to diagnose the cancer. In this procedure, called paracentesis, the skin of the abdomen is numbed and a needle attached to a syringe is passed through the abdomen wall into the fluid in the abdominal cavity. The fluid is sucked up into the syringe and then sent for analysis.

In all these procedures, the tissue obtained is sent to the pathology laboratory. There it is examined under the microscope by a pathologist, a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and classifying diseases by examining cells under a microscope and using other lab tests.

Blood tests

Your doctor will order blood counts to make sure you have enough red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets (cells that help stop bleeding). There will also be tests to measure your kidney and liver function as well as your general health status. Finally the doctor will order a CA-125 test. If the test result is elevated, consultation with a gynecologic oncologist is recommended.

American Cancer Society