RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Distribution patterns of metastatic pelvic lymph nodes assessed by CT/MRI in patients with uterine cervical cancer.

Radiation Oncology 2013 June 9
BACKGROUND: To investigate the three-dimensional (3D) distribution patterns of clinically metastatic (positive) lymph nodes on pretreatment computed tomography (CT)/magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) images of patients with locally advanced cervical cancer.

METHODS: We enrolled 114 patients with uterine cervical cancer with positive nodes by CT/MRI (≥10 mm in the shortest diameter). Pretreatment CT/MRI data were collected at 6 institutions. The FIGO stage was IB1 in 2 patients (2%), IB2 in 6 (5%), IIA in 3 (3%), IIB in 49 (43%), IIIB in 50 (44%), and IVA in 4 (4%) patients. The median cervical tumor diameter assessed by T2-weighted MRI was 55 mm (range, 10-87 mm). The anatomical distribution of the positive nodes was evaluated on CT/MRI images by two radiation oncologists and one diagnostic radiologist.

RESULTS: In these patients, 273 enlarged nodes were assessed as positive. The incidence of positive nodes was 104/114 (91%) for the obturator region, 31/114 (27%) for the external iliac region, 16/114 (14%) for the internal iliac region, 22/114 (19%) for the common iliac region, and 6/114 (5%) for the presacral region. The external iliac region was subdivided into four sub-regions: lateral, intermediate, medial, and caudal. The obturator region was subdivided into two sub-regions: cranial and caudal. The majority of patients had positive nodes in the cranial obturator and/or the medial external iliac region (111/114). In contrast, few had positive nodes in the lateral external iliac, caudal external iliac, caudal obturator, internal iliac and presacral regions. All cases with positive nodes in those low-risk regions also had positive nodes in other pelvic nodal regions concomitantly. The incidence of positive nodes in the low-risk regions/sub-regions was significantly related to FIGO stage (p=0.017) and number of positive nodes (p<0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrated the 3D distribution patterns of clinical metastatic pelvic lymph nodes on pretreatment CT/MRI images of patients with locally advanced cervical cancer. These findings might contribute to future individualization of the clinical target volume of the pelvic nodes in patients with cervical cancer.

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