PET/CT 95% Sensitive for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
An FDG PET/CT scan can identify a relapse of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) during its early stage, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions.

NHL is the fifth most prevalent cancer in America, according to lead author Mehdi Taghipour, MD, a research fellow from the department of radiology at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore. Most NHL patients are treated successfully with frontline chemotherapy, but about 20% to 50% of patients with aggressive lymphoma are expected to relapse within three years. "A permanent cure may still be achieved using salvage chemotherapy, but early diagnosis of a relapse is essential," Taghipour says. "PET/CT imaging is superior to conventional imaging for NHL, but the role of posttreatment PET/CT has been controversial. Our study proves that 39% of follow-up PET/CT scans added clinical value, which represents a significant improvement in NHL patient care."

The study included a collective 560 PET/CT scans from 204 patients. Results of the study showed that the sensitivity of PET/CT for detecting relapsed NHL was 95.1%. Specificity, or the ability to rule out NHL, was gauged at 90.5%.

Positive and negative predictive values were 84.5% and 97.1%, respectively. Lastly, overall accuracy of follow-up FDG PET/CT which provides a map of cellular metabolic activity, was 92.1%.

Follow-up PET/CT led to changes in patient management in 17% of scan times, and new treatments were initiated after 15.7% of scan times. More than 69% of scans were performed without prior clinical suspicion of recurrence. More than 22% of follow-up scans showed suspected disease when there was no clinical suspicion for disease recurrence, and presence of disease was ruled out in 17.4% of scans while the treating physician suspected recurrence prior to the scan.