Role of 18FDG-PET/CT in detecting relapse during follow-up of patients with Hodgkin's lymphoma

Roberto Crocchiolo, F. Fallanca, G. Giovacchini, A. J M Ferreri, A. Assanelli, C. Verona, A. Pescarollo, M. Bregni, M. Ponzoni, L. Gianolli, F. Fazio, F. Ciceri

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The role of 18FDG-PET/CT during follow-up of patients affected by Hodgkin's lymphoma (HL) in complete remission after treatment is not fully elucidated, since a wide use of 18F fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography (18FDG-PET/CT) in this setting could be limited by a relative high rate of false-positive results. Herein, we summarize a retrospective analysis of 27 patients with Hodgkin's lymphoma in complete remission after the first-line (n=20) or salvage (n=7) therapy receiving serial 18FDG-PET/CT scans during follow-up. Out of 165 scans, 13 were suspected for relapse, which was confirmed in seven patients. All relapses were correctly identified by 18FDG-PET/ CT positivity, with a 100% sensitivity; false-positive rate was 46% and negative predictive value was 100%. True-positive findings were mostly associated with multiple sites, subdiaphragmatic involvement, and/or previous sites of disease. According to our results, we conclude that performing routine PET/CT scan during follow-up of those patients who are at high risk of relapse would be advisable, although caution must be adopted when interpreting PET/CT results due to the relatively high rate of false-positive findings. If FDG abnormal uptake is present at multiple nodal sites, subdiaphragmatic lymph nodes, or previous sites of disease, histological verification of PET abnormal findings is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1229-1236
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Hematology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Follow-up
  • Hodgkin's lymphoma
  • Relapse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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