Utility of FDG-PET/CT in Follow-Up of Children Treated for Hodgkin and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

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Positron emission tomography using 18F-flurodeoxyglucose (FDG-PET) is considered an excellent tool for staging and monitoring disease status in adults with lymphoma. We retrospectively reviewed results of PET/CT and diagnostic computed tomography (CT) scans performed during follow-up after completion of therapy in 41 children <18 years of age with Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. PET/CT scan with uptake greater than that of the liver was considered positive. Uptake that increased over the background but less than in the liver was equivocal. Clinical outcomes were obtained from medical records. Thirteen (32%) had a positive PET/CT scan and an equal number had equivocal scans in a median follow-up of 2.3 years. Diagnostic CT scans revealed new findings in 13 (32%) and persistent abnormalities in 21 (51%) of the children. Five children developed recurrent disease, and one developed a second cancer. No children with equivocal positivity developed recurrent disease. PET/CT scan was 95% sensitive, with a positive predictive value (PPV) of 53%. Diagnostic CT was 79% sensitive, with a PPV of 52%. We conclude that a negative PET/CT scan during routine follow-up for lymphoma in children strongly suggests absence of recurrence but a positive PET/CT and diagnostic CT scans have low PPV and should be interpreted with caution in this setting.

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