Imaging in the pre-operative staging of ovarian cancer

Document Type



Imaging and Diagnostic Radiology (East Africa)


The main prognostic factor in ovarian cancer is the stage of disease at diagnosis. The staging system in use (FIGO classification, updated in 2014) is based on the surgical-pathological findings. Although surgical staging is the gold standard in ovarian cancer, the initial patient management depends on the imaging-based pre-surgical staging assessment, in order to identify unresectable or difficult to resect disease. Radiologists need to be aware of the strengths of the available imaging modalities, as well as the imaging pitfalls. Clear understanding of pattern of disease spread and review areas are critical for accurate staging and treatment planning. The current standard of care for pre-surgical staging is CT of the thorax, abdomen, and pelvis. This allows a rapid evaluation of disease extent and is fairly accurate in identifying bulky disease but has definite limitations in assessing the extent of small volume disease and in the confirmation of certain sites of disease beyond the abdomen. Functional MRI has been reported to be superior in detecting small peritoneal deposits. PET/CT may be used as a problem-solving tool in some patients where determination remains unclear, particularly in confirmation of advanced stage beyond the abdomen.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Abdominal Radiology