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Posted by on Jul 28, 2019 in Hodgkin's lymphoma | 0 comments

In a nutshell

This article reviewed how useful PET/CT scanning is for patients with Hodgkin's lymphoma (HL) during and after their treatment.

Some background

Hodgkin's lymphoma (HL) is a cancer of lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are a type of white blood cell that fights infections in the body. For most patients, first-line treatment is highly effective. However, for some patients, the cancer comes back or stops responding to treatment.

To treat HL more effectively, PET/CT scanning is often used. This type of scanning uses radioactive sugar molecules to visualize the cancer cells. It is more sensitive than CT scanning alone. It can also be used to detect tumors inside the bone. This helps avoid  biopsy procedures that can be uncomfortable for patients. Depending on the scan results, treatment can be decreased, increased, or changed to a different therapy. 

Methods & findings

PET/CT scanning is often used to see how well a treatment is working. Previous studies have shown that the best time for this scanning to be done is after two cycles of chemotherapy. This is called interim scanning, meaning that it is done during the course of treatment.

Interim PET/CT is helpful because it allows for response-adapted treatment. This means that treatment can be changed based on how well a patient responds. For example, if PET/CT scans show that tumors are not responding to chemotherapy, then a different treatment can be used. However, if the chemotherapy is working well, it may also be changed to a treatment that has fewer side effects. This can help improve long-term outcomes without lowering the effectiveness of treatment.

PET/CT scanning is also done after treatment has finished. It is recommended that this scanning should be done 4 to 6 weeks after chemotherapy or 12 weeks after radiation therapy is completed. PET/CT scanning at these points shows how well the treatment has worked and whether more treatments are needed.  Other tests can also be used to confirm the scan results.

Even though PET/CT scanning is highly useful to evaluate patients with HL, it can sometimes give unclear results. Current research is looking at how to improve this.

The bottom line

This study concluded that PET/CT is an accurate way to diagnose HL and evaluate whether treatments are working for patients. However, the authors suggest that the accuracy of PET/CT scanning needs improvement to better adapt treatment to suit a patient’s needs.

Published By :

Cancer Treatment Reviews

Date :

Jun 19, 2019

Original Title :

The role of PET/CT in the modern treatment of Hodgkin lymphoma.

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