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PLoS One. 2018 Feb 14;13(2):e0192656. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0192656. eCollection 2018.

Lack of usefulness of computed tomography for surveillance in patients with aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

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Division of Hematology-Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea.
Division of Hematology-Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea.


Surveillance computed tomography (CT) is usual practice for patients with aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma (aNHL) in complete remission (CR). However, evidence to support this strategy is lacking. We retrospectively analyzed our institutional lymphoma registry, including patients with lymphoma consecutively enrolled from June 1995 to October 2016. Of 1,385 patients with aNHL, 664 achieved CR and were followed up with or without surveillance CT. Surveillance CT was performed for 609 patients every 3 or 6 months for the first 2 years, then every 6 or 12 months thereafter. Relapse was detected in 171 patients, of whom 152 underwent surveillance CT during follow-up. Of these 152 patients, asymptomatic relapse was detected in 67 (44%) using surveillance CT, and symptomatic relapse outside the surveillance interval was detected in the remaining 85 (56%). Detection of asymptomatic relapse using surveillance CT did not improve the overall or post-relapse survival in patients with relapsed aNHL. Surveillance CT interval (3 or 6 months) did not affect survival. No subgroups were identified that favored the use of surveillance CT to detect relapse. The results of this study suggest that routine surveillance CT in patients with aNHL to detect asymptomatic relapse might have a limited role in improving survival. CT is recommended when a relapse is clinically suspected.

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