Role of [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography scan in the follow-up of lymphoma

Pier Luigi Zinzani, Vittorio Stefoni, Monica Tani, Stefano Fanti, Gerardo Musuraca, Paolo Castellucci, Enrica Marchi, Mariapaola Fina, Valentina Ambrosini, Cinzia Pellegrini, Lapo Alinari, Enrico Derenzini, Giancarlo Montini, Alessandro Broccoli, Francesco Bacci, Stefano Pileri, Michele Baccarani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose In lymphoma, [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) is routinely used for initial staging, early evaluation of treatment response, and identification of disease relapse. However, there are no prospective studies investigating the value of serial FDG-PET over time in patients in complete remission. Patients and Methods All patients with lymphoma who achieved the first complete remission were prospectively enrolled onto the study and scheduled for serial FDG-PET scans at 6, 12, 18, and 24 months; further scans were then carried out on an annual basis. Overall, the population included 421 patients (160 patients with Hodgkin's lymphoma [HL], 183 patients with aggressive non-Hodgkin's lymphoma [NHL], and 78 patients with indolent follicular NHL). All patients had a regular follow-up evaluation, including complete clinical and laboratory evaluation, and final assessment of any suspect FDG-PET findings using other imaging procedures (computed tomography [CT] scan) and/or biopsy and/or clinical evolution. FDG-PET findings were reported as positive for relapse, inconclusive (when equivocal), or negative for relapse. Results PET enabled documentation of lymphoma relapse in 41 cases at 6 months, in 30 cases at 12 months, in 26 cases at 18 months, in 10 cases at 24 months, and in 11 cases at more than 36 months. All 36 patients with inconclusive positive PET underwent biopsy; only 12 (33%) of 36 patients had a concomitant suggestion of positivity on CT. A lymphoma relapse was diagnosed in 24 (66%) of 36 patients. Conclusion Our results confirm FDG-PET as a valid tool for follow-up of patients with HL and NHL. In patients with inconclusive positive results, histologic confirmation plays an important role in identifying true relapse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1781-1787
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Apr 10 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology
  • Medicine(all)


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