A study looking at a type of MRI scan for cervical cancer

Cancer type:

Cervical cancer





This study looked at diffusion weighted MRI (DW MRI) for cervical cancer. The study was for women with cervical cancer that was still in the neck of the womb (early cervical cancer).

This trial was open for people to join between 2013 and 2019. The team published several results between 2014 and 2020.

More about this trial

Doctors use MRI scans to find out features about a cancer. This can help them predict the outcome (your prognosis Open a glossary item). Researchers thought the DW MRI scan might be better.

The aim of this study was to find out whether DW MRI  plus other MRI features not visible to the naked eye (called radiomics) were able to tell if cervical cancer was likely to have a good or a bad outcome.

Summary of results

The DW MRI scan has the ability to show the type and grade Open a glossary item of cervical cancers. The information it provides is about the whole cancer. Unlike a tissue sample (biopsy Open a glossary item) that shows only a small part. 

About this study
The study team looked at the scans of 125 women with early stage cervical cancer. They measured the volume of the cancer in cubic centimetres (cc). 

The team compared cancers that were more than 4.19 cc with cancers that were less than 4.19 cc. 

They also compared the cancer seen in the tissue removed during surgery with what was on the scan. 

Of the 125 women:

  • 46 women had a cancer that was greater than 4.19 cc in volume
  • 79 women had a cancer that was less than 4.19 cc in volume

They compared the measurements made on DW-MRI and the radiomics features of the cancers in both groups. They found there were significant differences between them.

The team showed that those small volume cancers that had radiomics features that were more widespread than in the large volume cancers were more likely to recur. 

They looked at using radiomics and DW-MRI measurements together and compared it with the information currently used in the clinic. They found that the combination of DW-MRI and radiomics was best at predicting outcome.

The team also found they could use DW MRI scans to detect and show the stage of early small cervical cancers. 

The study team concluded that DW MRI scan could:

  • show the type and grade of early cervical cancers  
  • identify features invisible to the naked eye. And with the usual factors used in the clinic it can predict the outcome of small volume cancers better. 

They say that this could influence decisions about the amount and timing of surgery needed. This is especially important for women who want to be able to have a family. 

Where this information comes from    
We have based this summary on information from the research team. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) and published in a medical journal. The figures we quote above were provided by the trial team who did the research. We have not analysed the data ourselves.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Professor Nandita DeSouza

Supported by

Cancer Research UK Imaging Centre
Institute of Cancer Research (ICR)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Facility in Imaging
The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust

If you have questions about the trial please contact our cancer information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:


Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Wendy took part in a new trial studying the possible side effect of hearing loss

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"I was delighted to take part in a clinical trial as it has the potential to really help others in the future.”

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