The utility of 18-F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography in evaluation of bone marrow involvement by non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Alaa A Muslimani, Hany L Farag, Smitha Francis, Timothy P Spiro, Asif A Chaudhry, Vincent C Chan, Harris C Taylor, Hamed A Daw
American Journal of Clinical Oncology 2008, 31 (5): 409-12

PURPOSE: In non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHLs), the bone marrow (BM) involvement is a sign of extensive disease and the iliac crest BM biopsy (BMB) is the established method for the detection of BM infiltration. However, iliac crest BMB is associated with a high rate of false negative results. We assess the ability of 18-F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (F-FDG PET) scan to ascertain the presence of BM involvement in NHL.

METHODS: After reviewing charts of histologically proven NHLs, 97 patients were eligible for our study. All patients were examined by whole-body F-FDG PET scan for initial staging, and all had unilateral posterior iliac crest BMB. BM involvement was established after the result of unilateral posterior iliac crest BMB and image-guided BMB after positive F-FDG PET scan in selected patients.

RESULTS: Our data demonstrate an overall sensitivity of 79% for the F-FDG PET scan detecting BM involvement in all patients and specificity of 91%. Further analysis revealed no significant difference in the ability of the F-FDG PET scan to detect BM involvement between the indolent-NHL and the aggressive/highly aggressive-NHL groups (sensitivity P = 0.23, specificity P = 0.64).

CONCLUSION: F-FDG PET scan shows potential to detect BM involvement in NHL. In particular, image-guided repeat BMB should be considered in patients with negative initial iliac crest BMB, whose F-FDG PET scan demonstrates BM involvement in a different site.

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