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Blood. 2001 Nov 15;98(10):2930-4.

Thoracic positron emission tomography using 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose for the evaluation of residual mediastinal Hodgkin disease.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine I, University of Cologne, Germany.


Residual mediastinal masses are frequently observed in patients with Hodgkin disease (HD) after completed therapy, and the discrimination between active tumor tissue and fibrotic residues remains a clinical challenge. We studied the diagnostic value of metabolic imaging by 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET) in detecting active mediastinal disease and predicting relapse. Twenty-eight HD patients with a residual mediastinal mass of at least 2 cm after initial therapy or after salvage chemotherapy were prospectively assigned to 29 examinations with FDG PET and were evaluated as 29 "subjects." Patients were monitored for at least 1 year after examination and observed for signs of relapse. Median follow-up was 28 months (range, 16 to 68 months). A PET-negative mediastinal tumor was observed in 19 subjects, of whom 16 stayed in remission and 3 relapsed. Progression or relapse occurred in 6 of 10 subjects with a positive PET, whereas 4 subjects remained in remission. The negative predictive value (negative PET result and remission) at 1 year was 95%, and the positive predictive value (positive PET result and relapse) was 60%. The disease-free survival for PET-negative and PET-positive patients at 1 year was 95% and 40%, respectively. The difference was statistically significant. A negative FDG PET indicates that an HD patient with a residual mediastinal mass is unlikely to relapse before 1 year, if ever. On the other hand, a positive PET result indicates a significantly higher risk of relapse and demands further diagnostic procedures and a closer follow-up.

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