Role of 18F-FDG-PET/CT in the management of Burkitt lymphoma

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Burkitt lymphoma (BL) is highly FDG-avid even though its usefulness in the management of these patients is still controversial.


We analyzed the role of positron emission tomography/computerized tomography (PET/CT) in staging newly diagnosed patients with BL and evaluating disease after first-line chemotherapy.


Fifty-two PET/CTs were performed in 32 patients (20 at diagnosis, 27 after treatment, five to monitor residual disease). Involved areas were retrospectively compared with those observed in contrast-enhanced CT.


Discrepancies were found in 64.7% of patients for whom results of both tests at diagnosis were available (n = 17), most of them involving extranodal sites. Regarding response assessment, discrepancies were observed in 38% of patients with both tests (5/13): residual masses detected by CT with negative PET/CT. Of 27 patients with post-treatment PET/CT, 22 were in complete remission whereas one true-positive and four false-positive lesions (two nodal and two extranodal) were detected. With a median follow-up of 27 months, 22 patients with negative PET/CT did not relapse. Thus, negative predictive value (NPV) was 100%. With respect to positive predictive value (PPV), one of five patients with positive assays after treatment died due to progression while the remaining four had false-positive lesions. Nevertheless, for these four patients, mean SUVmax at nodal sites was 4.1 vs. 14.9 at diagnosis, while mean SUVmax at extranodal sites was 3.8 vs. 12.1. Thus, with a cutoff value for SUVmax <66% of that observed at diagnosis, PPV was also 100%.


More accurate staging can be achieved using PET/CT. NPV reaches 100%, and using a ΔSUV <66%, a high PPV is also observed.

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