Small cell carcinoma of the cervix
Small cell carcinoma of the cervix is a rare histological subtype of carcinoma of the cervix.
Small cell carcinoma is thought to account for ~0.5-6% of all uterine cervical cancers 3.
It is a type of neuroendocrine tumour and is similar to pulmonary small cell carcinoma (contains neuroendocrine granules). Small cell carcinoma can consist of heterologous tumour cells because some cells are of epithelial origin and others are of neuroendocrine origin.
Papanicolaou's smears, a popular screening method for uterine cervix cancer, is not sensitive for the diagnosis of small cell carcinoma of the uterine cervix.
While there are no specific imaging features for this subtype at the time of writing, patients with small cell carcinoma of the cervical often show advanced disease on imaging (e.g. parametrial invasion and lymphadenopathy) at the time of their initial imaging assessment (even for small tumours 3).
Treatment and prognosis
It is an aggressive tumour with a propensity for early spread into the uterine body, rapid recurrence; it is associated with high mortality 2-3. Surgery is often not a treatment option ref.
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- 2. Abeler VM, Holm R, Nesland JM et-al. Small cell carcinoma of the cervix. A clinicopathologic study of 26 patients. Cancer. 1994;73 (3): 672-7. - Pubmed citation
- 3. Yang DH, Kim JK, Kim KW et-al. MRI of small cell carcinoma of the uterine cervix with pathologic correlation. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2004;182 (5): 1255-8. AJR Am J Roentgenol (full text) - Pubmed citation
- 4. Sykes AJ, Shanks JH, Davidson SE. Small cell carcinoma of the uterine cervix: a clinicopathological review. Int. J. Oncol. 1999;14 (2): 381-6. Int. J. Oncol. (link) - Pubmed citation