Progression Free Survival and Predictor of Recurrence in DLBCL patients with Negative Interim 18FDG PET/CT Using Standardized Imaging and Reporting Protocols

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Department of Radiology, Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, Pakistan.

2 Department of Medicine, Dr Ruth Pfau Hospital, Karachi, Pakistan.

3 Department of Medicine, SUNY Downstate, Hospital, New York, USA.

4 Dow Medical College, Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS), Karachi, Pakistan.

5 Department of Radiation Oncology, Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, Pakistan.


Background: To determine progression free survival (PFS) and predictor of recurrence in patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) with negative interim 18FDG PET/CT (iPET) using standardized imaging and reporting protocols. Materials and Methods: This prospective study was conducted at PET/CT Section of a JCIA accredited healthcare facility from December 2015 till February 2020. Patients with DLBCL having complete metabolic response (CMR; Deauville score: 1-3) on iPET were selected and followed for a median period of 11 months (4-144 months).  End point response on follow-up PET/CT (either end of treatment or surveillance) was categorized as sustained CMR (sCMR) and disease recurrence. Kaplan Meier survival curve was used to measure PFS and receiver operating characteristics (ROC) was plotted for age, largest lesion size, highest standardized uptake value (SUVmax), disease stage and body mass index (BMI) on baseline scan to find their impact on recurrence. Results: Total 185 patients with DLBCL who had achieved CMR on iPET with a median age 55 years (19 – 88 yr.) with male predominance (63% male) were selected. On follow-up, 123 (66%) had sCMR while recurrence was found in 34% (p <0.05). No significant difference in demographics was found between two groups. Median PFS time was 34 months (22.8 – 45.1 months). On ROC analysis, only baseline highest SUVmax was found as a significant independent predictor of disease recurrence at a cut off >22.6 (highest area under curve: 0.595; SE 0.046; p <0.05). Conclusion: We conclude that recurrence is found in 34% of DLBCL patients with a negative interim 18FDG PET/CT using standardized imaging and reporting protocols. Despite of early response, these patients need continued intensive follow-up especially those with a baseline SUVmax > 22.6.


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