Multidisciplinary Recommendations Regarding Post-Vaccine Adenopathy and Radiologic Imaging: Radiology Scientific Expert Panel

Radiology. 2021 Feb 24;210436. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2021210436. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Vaccination-associated adenopathy is a frequent imaging finding after administration of COVID-19 vaccines that may lead to a diagnostic conundrum in patients with manifest or suspected cancer, in whom it may be indistinguishable from malignant nodal involvement. To help the medical community address this concern in the absence of studies and evidence-based guidelines, this paper offers recommendations developed by a multidisciplinary panel of experts from three of the leading tertiary care cancer centers in the United States. According to these recommendations, some routine imaging examinations, such as those for screening, should be scheduled before or at least 6 weeks after the final vaccination dose to allow for any reactive adenopathy to resolve. However, there should be no delay of other clinically indicated imaging (e.g., for acute symptoms, short-interval treatment monitoring, urgent treatment planning or complications) due to prior vaccination. The vaccine should be administered on the side contralateral to the primary or suspected cancer, and both doses should be administered in the same arm. Vaccination information (date(s) administered, injection site(s), laterality, and type of vaccine) should be included in every pre-imaging patient questionnaire, and this information should be made readily available to interpreting radiologists. Clear and effective communication between patients, radiologists, referring physician teams and the general public should be considered of the highest priority when managing adenopathy in the setting of COVID-19 vaccination. Summary COVID-19-vaccination-related adenopathy is a frequent imaging finding that may lead to a diagnostic conundrum in patients with manifest or suspected cancer, in whom it may be indistinguishable from malignant nodal involvement. This special report offers recommendations developed by a multidisciplinary panel of experts from three of the leading tertiary care cancer centers in the United States.