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Release Date: 07/29/2016

Despite their popularity, positron emission tomography (PET) scans are not effective in uncovering cervical cancer in a woman’s lymph nodes, according to research recently published by a team of oncologists that includes a physician from Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island.

In the study – entitled “Utility of PET-CT to Evaluate Retroperitoneal Lymph Node Metastasis in Advanced Cervical Cancer: Results of ACRIN6671/GOG0233 Trial,” published in the trade journal Gynecologic Oncology – the researchers compared the effectiveness of using computed tomography (CT) scans alone and combined with PET scans to find cervical cancer in the lymph nodes of more than 150 women.

“What we found is that the combination of CT and PET scans is only 50 percent effective if the cancer is located in the lymph nodes in the patient’s abdomen,” explains Paul DiSilvestro, MD, interim chief of the Program in Women's Oncology at Women & Infants and head of the program’s research division. He is also a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. “We feel that the PET scan doesn’t add anything.”

Women & Infants was one of the lead enrolling facilities for this study, which Dr. DiSilvestro says underscores the need for physicians to assess each situation before recommending screening or treatment.

“Often, advanced technology doesn’t provide the best information,” he begins. “Our job is to combine our clinical diagnostic strategizing skills with the new technology to help create the best treatment regimen for our patients.”

Dr. DiSilvestro is accepting new patients. For more information, call (401) 453-7520.

About Women & Infants Hospital

Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, a Care New England hospital, is one of the nation’s leading specialty hospitals for women and newborns. A major teaching affiliate of The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University for obstetrics, gynecology and newborn pediatrics, as well as a number of specialized programs in women’s medicine, Women & Infants is the 12th largest stand-alone obstetrical service in the country and the largest in New England with approximately 8,500 deliveries per year. A Designated Baby-Friendly® USA hospital, U.S.News & World Report 2014-15 Best Children’s Hospital in Neonatology and a 2014 Leapfrog Top Hospital, in 2009 Women & Infants opened what was at the time the country’s largest, single-family room neonatal intensive care unit.

Women & Infants and Brown offer fellowship programs in gynecologic oncology, maternal-fetal medicine, urogynecology and reconstructive pelvic surgery, neonatal-perinatal medicine, pediatric and perinatal pathology, gynecologic pathology and cytopathology, and reproductive endocrinology and infertility. It is home to the nation’s first mother-baby perinatal psychiatric partial hospital, as well as the nation’s only fellowship program in obstetric medicine.

Women & Infants has been designated as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiography; a Center of Excellence in Minimally Invasive Gynecology; a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence by the National Institutes of Health (NIH); and a Neonatal Resource Services Center of Excellence. It is one of the largest and most prestigious research facilities in high risk and normal obstetrics, gynecology and newborn pediatrics in the nation, and is a member of the National Cancer Institute’s Gynecologic Oncology Group and the Pelvic Floor Disorders Network.
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