In a nutshell
This study evaluated the impact of early FDG PET/CT scanning on the survival of patients with lymphoma after allogeneic stem cell transplantation (alloSCT). This study concluded that having positive scan results at 3 months after alloSCT may highly predict relapse and poor survival in these patients.
An alloSCT is a procedure that replaces the patient’s cancer cells with healthy stem cells from a donor. It is an effective therapy for patients with lymphoma who experience relapse after initial treatment. However, relapse can still occur after alloSCT. Strategies to predict and avoid relapse to improve patient outcomes are needed.
FDG PET/CT scanning has been used to evaluate a patient’s response to treatment. Positive scan results indicate the presence of cancer cells. This can guide further treatment. Whether this type of scanning impacts the outcomes of patients with lymphoma after alloSCT remains under investigation.
Methods & findings
This study involved 103 patients with lymphoma. More than half of all patients (56) were in remission (no signs of cancer) at the time of alloSCT. FDG PET/CT scanning was done before alloSCT and from 3 to 9 months after alloSCT. Patients were followed-up for an average of 49.5 months.
For all patients, the average 3-year overall survival (patients still alive 3 years later) was 81%. The average 3-year lymphoma-free survival (patients still alive 3 years later without lymphoma) was 65%.
21.5% of patients had a positive PET/CT scan result at 3 months after treatment. At 6 months, this rate was 29.5%. At 3 years, significantly more patients who had a positive scan result at 3 months experienced relapse or progression compared to patients who had a negative result (50% vs. 17.8%). This 3-year rate was 44.4% versus 14% for scan results at 6 to 9 months.
Having a positive PET/CT scan result 3 months after the transplant was significantly associated with a 9.22-fold higher risk of relapse.
The bottom line
This study concluded that PET/CT scanning at 3 months after alloSCT may predict relapse in patients with lymphoma.
The fine print
This study was retrospective, meaning it looked back in time to analyze data. Further studies are needed to confirm these results.
Published By :
Biology of blood and marrow transplantation: journal of the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation
Nov 24, 2018
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