(Vienna, 06 December 2021) Johannes Knoth and Max Schmid, radiation oncologists at the Department of Radiation Oncology and members of the Comprehensive Cancer Center of MedUni Vienna and University Hospital Vienna, have been awarded the Erste Bank der oesterreichischen Sparkassen AG Research Funding Prize for a study into the staging of cervical cancer using gynaecological examination and MRI.
Accurate staging of cervical cancer is important for choosing the appropriate treatment. Small tumours confined to the cervix are predominantly removed surgically, while tumours growing beyond the cervix are treated with radiochemotherapy. Staging can be done by means of gynaecological examination as well as MRI scanning. In a study, Knoth and Schmid were able to show that the two methods of examination produce different results at the local tumour stage, which can be decisive in terms of treatment. Their paper, which was published in the renowned journal Gynecologic Oncology, has won them the Research Funding Prize of Erste Bank der oesterreichischen Sparkassen AG.
Staging is based on determination of the extent of the tumour so that this is an key factor in deciding on the appropriate way to treat cervical cancer. Whereas gynaecological examination used to be the primary basis for staging (e.g. FIGO2009), modern imaging techniques are now also employed (TNM, FIGO2018). The award-winning study addresses the differences between gynaecological examination and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the staging of cervical cancer and their impact on the two most commonly used classification systems. The researchers analysed the dataset from the prospective, international, multi-centre EMBRACE I study, which the Medical University of Vienna helped to develop and conduct. A total of 1,338 patients with locally advanced cervical cancer underwent a gynaecological examination and an MRI scan and were treated according to defined guidelines.
There was found to be a difference in the local tumour stage identified between the two examination modalities in 27% of the patients in this cohort. In 17% of cases, MRI scanning indicated a higher stage than did gynaecological examination and, in 10% of cases, a lower stage. These differences therefore indirectly confirm the new international tumour classification for cervical cancer. Before a decision is made about treatment, it is necessary to take a critical and differentiated approach to the results of the gynaecological examination and the MRI scan to determine the optimal treatment.
The Erste Bank der Österreichischen Sparkassen AG (First Bank of Austria) Research Funding Prize
Erste Bank der oesterreichischen Sparkassen AG offers its Research Funding Prize to promote doctors' scientific work. The prize is awarded once a year to doctors up to the age of 37 who are conducting research work and are based in Vienna. The prize is awarded by the Medical Association of Vienna, although membership of the Medical Association is not a condition of application. The prize is worth €7,500 and can be shared among a maximum of three prize-winners. Papers may only be submitted by first authors who have not received the "Theodor Billroth Prize" or the "Research Funding Prize of Erste Bank der oestereichischen Sparkassen AG" in the five years prior to submission.
About Johannes Knoth
Johannes Knoth completed his medical degree at MedUni Vienna in 2013 after studying in Spain and Germany. After completing his specialist medical training at MedUni Vienna's Department of Radiation Oncology in 2019, his current clinical focus is on the treatment of gynaecological malignancies and sarcomas. For his scientific work, he is involved in the gynaecological oncology research group of MedUni Vienna's Department of Radiation Oncology and, since 2019, he has been completing his PhD on the Clinical Experimental Oncology programme on the topic of "Ultrasound-assisted treatment planning for cervical cancer". Knoth is also a member of the Comprehensive Cancer Center of MedUni Vienna and University Hospital Vienna and a member of the European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ESTRO) and of the Austrian Society for Radiooncology (ÖGRO).
About Maximilian Schmid
Maximilian Schmid graduated from the Medical University of Vienna in 2009 and worked there as a junior doctor until 2015. He also completed a PhD in "Clinical Experimental Oncology". He currently leads the gynaecological tumour group together with Alina Sturdza and the sarcoma group of the Department of Radiation Oncology together with Karin Dieckmann. Schmid is a member of the European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ESTRO) and the Austrian Society for Radiooncology (ÖGRO) and participates in numerous specialist networks in the field of radiation oncology. He is also first author and co-author of numerous publications and is a member of the Comprehensive Cancer Center of MedUni Vienna and University Hospital Vienna.