Limited clinical benefit for surveillance PET-CT scanning in patients with histologically transformed lymphoma in complete metabolic remission following primary therapy
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- Cheah, C.Y., Dickinson, M., Hofman, M.S. et al. Ann Hematol (2014) 93: 1193. doi:10.1007/s00277-014-2040-1
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The optimum follow-up of patients with transformed indolent lymphoma (TrIL) is not well defined. We sought to determine the utility of surveillance positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT) in patients with TrIL achieving complete metabolic remission (CMR) after primary therapy. We performed a retrospective analysis of patients with TrIL treated at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre between 2002 and 2012 who achieved CMR after primary therapy who had ≥1 subsequent surveillance PET-CT. Of 55 patients with TrIL, 37 (67 %) received autologous stem cell transplantation as consolidation following chemoimmunotherapy. After a median follow-up of 34 (range 3–101) months, the actuarial 3-year progression-free (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were 77 % (95 %CI 62–86 %) and 88 % (75–94 %), respectively. Of 180 surveillance PET-CT scans, there were 153 true negatives, 4 false positives, 1 false negative, 7 indeterminate and 15 true positives. Considering indeterminate scans as false positives, the specificity of PET-CT for detecting relapse was 94 %, sensitivity was 83 %, positive predictive value was 63 % and negative predictive value was 98 %. All seven subclinical (PET detected) relapses were of low-grade histology; in contrast, all nine relapses with diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) were symptomatic. In our cohort of patients with TrIL achieving CMR, PET-CT detected subclinical low-grade relapses but all DLBCL relapses were accompanied by clinical symptoms. Thus, surveillance imaging of patients with TrIL achieving CMR is of limited clinical benefit. PET-CT should be reserved for evaluation of clinically suspected relapse.