Predictive role of positron emission tomography in the outcome of patients with follicular lymphoma

Clin Lymphoma Myeloma. 2007 Jan;7(4):291-5. doi: 10.3816/CLM.2007.n.005.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the reliability of positron emission tomography (PET) in patients with follicular lymphoma (FL) after induction treatment.

Patients and methods: In all, 45 previously untreated patients with FL were studied with PET and computed tomography (CT) scans after chemotherapy induction treatment (fludarabine-containing regimens and CHOP [cyclophosphamide/doxorubicin/vincristine/prednisone] chemotherapy). Histopathologic analysis was performed when considered necessary.

Results: After treatment, 4 of 5 patients (80%) who had CT-negative/PET-positive findings experienced relapse/progression, compared with only 1 of 22 patients (4.5%) in the CT-negative/PET-negative subset. Among the 18 patients with CT-positive findings, all 6 patients (100%) who had PET-positive findings experienced relapse or progression, compared with 1 of 12 patients (8.3%) who had PET-negative findings. The 2-year progression-free survival rates were 20% and 90% in the CT-negative/PET-positive and CT-positive/PET-negative subsets, respectively (P = 0.0031). During the follow-up, 2 patients, who presented a PET positivity with a negative CT scan, underwent a lymph node biopsy, which confirmed the presence of FL infiltration.

Conclusion: In patients with FL, persisting PET positivity is predictive of early disease progression, because it is still highly likely that patients with PET-negative findings will ultimately progress, but this has not yet been manifested during the period of observation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Disease Progression
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, Follicular / diagnosis*
  • Lymphoma, Follicular / drug therapy
  • Lymphoma, Follicular / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / diagnosis*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / drug therapy
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / pathology
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed / methods
  • Treatment Outcome