Is CT scan still necessary for staging in Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma patients in the PET/CT era?

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BackgroundThe clinical impact of fused PET/CT data on staging and patient management of Hodgkin disease (HD) and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) was assessed.Patients and methodsA total of 103 consecutive patients with newly diagnosed NHL (n=68) and HD (n=35) were assessed retrospectively. Three comparisons were carried out in an attempt to assess the added value of each modality.ResultsFor NHL patients, there were significant differences between staging by CT versus PET/CT (P=0.0001). Disease was upstaged by PET/CT in 31% (mostly in stages I and II) and downstaged in only 1% of patients. In 25% of the patients, the treatment approach was changed according to CT versus PET/CT findings. For HD patients, disease was upstaged by PET/CT in 32% and downstaged by PET/CT in 15% (P=NS). As for NHL, upstaging by PET/CT versus CT was evident mostly for stages I and II. The treatment strategy was altered as determined by CT versus PET/CT in 45% of the patients.ConclusionsThe addition of PET/CT to CT changed the management decisions in approximately a quarter of NHL and a third of HD patients, mostly in early disease stages. Thus, PET/CT performed as the initial staging procedure may well obviate the need for additional diagnostic CT in the majority of patients.

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