Low rate of spleen involvement in sporadic Burkitt lymphoma at staging on PET-CT

Abdom Radiol (NY). 2018 Sep;43(9):2369-2374. doi: 10.1007/s00261-017-1454-3.


Background: Burkitt lymphoma is a highly aggressive B cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Cross-sectional imaging techniques that are used to detect liver and spleen involvement by lymphoma have high rates of false negative and false positive findings, and as such may reduce the accuracy of staging.

Purpose: This retrospective study evaluated the use of FDG PET-CT in determining splenic involvement at staging, in a relatively large cohort of adult patients with the sporadic form of Burkitt lymphoma (SBL).

Patients and methods: All adult patients who underwent FDG PET-CT for staging of SBL at one medical center during 2005-2014 were enrolled for this retrospective study.

Results: Data were analyzed of 20 patients, with median age 49 years; 17 were male. PET-CT revealed highly intense FDG uptake, mean SUV max 11.4 ± 7.49 (range 4.3-38) in various tissues. None of the 20 patients had either focal or diffuse increased uptake of FDG in the spleen parenchyma. In 2 patients, there were highly FDG-avid soft tissue masses adjacent to the spleen, both in the context of direct peritoneal disease extension.

Conclusion: The spleen is rarely involved in SBL at the time of staging, according to PET-CT, except in cases with direct extension from adjacent peritoneal mass. The low rate of spleen involvement according to PET-CT may serve as a specific characteristic of SBL. Larger-scale clinical studies incorporating PET-CT scans in SBL are needed to confirm our observation.

Keywords: Burkitt lymphoma; CT; FDG; PET-CT; Spleen; Sporadic.

MeSH terms

  • Burkitt Lymphoma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Burkitt Lymphoma / pathology*
  • Female
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Positron Emission Tomography Computed Tomography / methods*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Splenic Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Splenic Neoplasms / secondary*


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18