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Cancer Treat Rep. 1977 Sep;61(6):981-92.

Clinical and surgical (laparotomy) evaluation of patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphomas.


A consecutive unselected series of 423 patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphomas was staged prospectively at the Stanford Medical Center between June 1971 and June 1976. The histopathologic classification of Rappaport was used exclusively. Staging laparotomies were performed in 197 of the patients, but another 226 patients were excluded from the staging procedure for a variety of reasons, including stage IV involvement, poor surgical risk, and diagnostic celiotomy before referral to Stanford. Gastrointestinal, splenic, bone marrow, hepatic, and mesenteric lymph node involvement was very common in these patients, whereas systemic symptoms and mediastinal sites of disease were less frequently noted. After staging laparotomy, 15 patients (8%) were downstaged to a lesser extent of involvement while 62 (31%) were upstaged, primarily from clinical stage III to pathologic stage IV. Correlations were made between clinical and pathologic staging and the sites of involvement were compared between those with nodular and those with diffuse lymphomas. The accuracy of diagnostic radiologic procedures was also assessed. Although it is valuable in sequentially determining the extent of subdiaphragmatic involvement by lymphomas, we believe that staging laparotomy should still be regarded as a research procedure which will be undertaken only as indicated in centers of clinical research.

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