The role of routine imaging procedures in the detection of relapse of patients with Hodgkin lymphoma and aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma
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- Goldschmidt, N., Or, O., Klein, M. et al. Ann Hematol (2011) 90: 165. doi:10.1007/s00277-010-1044-8
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Despite improved initial therapies, a subgroup of patients with aggressive non-Hodgkin (A-NHL) and Hodgkin lymphomas (HL) will relapse after first remission. The optimal follow-up strategy for the detection of relapse has not been clarified and periodic imaging is not recommended in most written guidelines. We identified 125 patients with HL and A-NHL diagnosed between January 1993 and September 2008 who relapsed at least 1 month after the end of initial therapy. We assessed whether relapse was detected based on clinical signs or periodic computed tomography (CT), [18F] fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (PET), or combined PET/CT and whether the mode of detection influenced the pattern and outcome of relapsed disease. Overall, most relapses (62%) were diagnosed clinically especially in A-NHL and in patients with extranodal involvement at diagnosis (p < 0.05); however, relapses of HL occurring after 2001 when PET/CT became available were more commonly detected by routine imaging (p < 0.05). Imaging-detected relapse was not associated with improved survival. While clinical exam remains the most common mode of detecting relapse, our results suggest a potential role for routine PET/CT surveillance in HL patients; however, survival does not appear to be affected by mode of detection.