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Blood. 2012 Mar 1;119(9):2066-73. doi: 10.1182/blood-2011-06-359943. Epub 2012 Jan 10.

Interim 18-FDG-PET/CT failed to predict the outcome in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma patients treated at the diagnosis with rituximab-CHOP.

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Hematology 2, San Giovanni Battista Hospital and University, Corso Bramante 88, Turin, Italy.


Role of interim-PET (I-PET) in diffuse large B-cell Lymphoma (DLBCL) is controversial. To determine predictive value of I-PET on progression-free survival (PFS), we enrolled 88 first-line DLBCL patients treated with 6-8 R-CHOP courses regardless of I-PET. PET/CT were performed at diagnosis, after 2 to 4 courses and at the end of therapy with central reviewing according to visual dichotomous criteria. Results are as follows: I-PET, 72% negative, 28% positive; final-PET (F-PET), 88% negative, 12% positive; clinical complete response 90%. Concordance between clinical response and F-PET negativity was 97% because of 2 false positive. With a median follow-up of 26.2 months, 2-year overall survival and PFS were 91% and 77%, respectively. Two-year PFS for I-PET and F-PET negative versus positive were as follows: I-PET 85% versus 72% (P = .0475); F-PET 83% versus 64% (P < .001). Because of a small number of events, 2 independent bivariate Cox models were tested for PFS. In model 1, F-PET contradicted I-PET (hazard ratio [HR] = 5.03, P = .015 vs 1.27, P = 691); in model 2, F-PET (HR = 4.54) and International propnostic Index score (HR = 5.36, P = .001) remained independent prognostic factors. In conclusion, positive I-PET is not predictive of a worse outcome in DLBCL; larger prospective studies and harmonization of I-PET reading criteria are needed.

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