Purpose: To compare fluorine-18 fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (PET) and gallium scanning with each other and with conventional staging, for patients with Hodgkin's disease or non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Subjects and methods: Fifty patients had PET, gallium scanning, and conventional staging of newly diagnosed or progressive Hodgkin's disease or non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Disease sites, stage, and treatment plans were assessed retrospectively.
Results: Positron emission tomography and gallium scanning each upstaged 14% of patients (n = 7). Management was altered by PET in 9 cases (18%) and by gallium scanning in 7 (14%, P = 0.6). Disease was evident in 117 sites in 42 patients. The case positivity rate for conventional assessment was 90%; for PET, 95%; for gallium scanning, 88%; for conventional assessment plus PET, 100%; and for conventional assessment plus gallium scanning, 98%. Site positivity rates for conventional assessment were 68%; for PET, 82%; for gallium scanning, 69% (conventional vs. PET, P = 0.01; conventional vs. gallium scanning, P = 0.9; PET vs. gallium scanning, P = 0.01); for conventional assessment plus PET, 96%; and for conventional assessment plus gallium scanning, 94%. Positron emission tomography and gallium scanning were entirely concordant in 31 patients; in the other 19 patients, PET identified 25 sites missed by gallium scanning, whereas gallium scanning identified 10 sites missed by PET.
Conclusion: In this retrospective study, PET demonstrated a higher site positivity rate than did gallium scanning, with similar case positivity rates. These data support the use of PET in place of gallium scanning for the staging of patients with Hodgkin's disease or non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.