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Structured reporting adds clinical value in primary CT staging of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma

  • Oncology
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To evaluate whether template-based structured reports (SRs) add clinical value to primary CT staging in patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) compared to free-text reports (FTRs).


In this two-centre study SRs and FTRs were acquired for 16 CT examinations. Thirty-two reports were independently scored by four haematologists using a questionnaire addressing completeness of information, structure, guidance for patient management and overall quality. The questionnaire included yes-no, 10-point Likert scale and 5-point scale questions. Altogether 128 completed questionnaires were evaluated. Non-parametric Wilcoxon signed-rank test and McNemar’s test were used for statistical analysis.


SRs contained information on affected organs more often than FTRs (95 % vs. 66 %). More SRs commented on extranodal involvement (91 % vs. 62 %). Sufficient information for Ann-Arbor classification was included in more SRs (89 % vs. 64 %). Information extraction was quicker from SRs (median rating on 10-point Likert scale=9 vs. 6; 7–10 vs. 4–8 interquartile range). SRs had better comprehensibility (9 vs. 7; 8–10 vs. 5–8). Contribution of SRs to clinical decision-making was higher (9 vs. 6; 6–10 vs. 3–8). SRs were of higher quality (p < 0.001). All haematologists preferred SRs over FTRs.


Structured reporting of CT examinations for primary staging in patients with DLBCL adds clinical value compared to FTRs by increasing completeness of reports, facilitating information extraction and improving patient management.

Key Points

• Structured reporting in CT helps clinicians to assess patients with lymphoma.

• This two-centre study showed that structured reporting improves information content and extraction.

• Patient management may be improved by structured reporting.

• Clinicians preferred structured reports over free-text reports.

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Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma


Free-text report


Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma


Radiology information system


Structured report


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The authors state that this work has not received any funding.

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Correspondence to Franziska Schoeppe.

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The scientific guarantor of this publication is Wieland H. Sommer.

Conflict of interest

The following two authors of this manuscript declare relationships with Smart Reporting GmbH (online software for structured reporting templates):

Franziska Schoeppe: created and reviewed structured templates, background research; Wieland Sommer: co-founder.

All other authors declare no conflicts of interest relevant to the study.

Statistics and biometry

No complex statistical methods were necessary for this paper.

Informed consent

Written informed consent was waived by the Institutional Review Board.

Ethical approval

Institutional Review Board approval was obtained.


• retrospective

• observational

• multicentre study

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Schoeppe, F., Sommer, W.H., Nörenberg, D. et al. Structured reporting adds clinical value in primary CT staging of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Eur Radiol 28, 3702–3709 (2018).

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