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PET-CT for staging and early response: results from the Response-Adapted Therapy in Advanced Hodgkin Lymphoma study

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Sally F. Barrington, Amy A. Kirkwood, Antonella Franceschetto, Michael J. Fulham, Thomas H. Roberts, Helén Almquist, Eva Brun, Karin Hjorthaug, Zaid N. Viney, Lucy C. Pike, Massimo Federico, Stefano Luminari, John Radford, Judith Trotman, Alexander Fossa, Leanne Berkahn, Daniel Molin, Francesco D'Amore, Donald A. Sinclair, Paul Smith & 3 more Michael O'Doherty, Lindsey Stevens, Peter W. Johnson

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1531-1538
Issue number12
Early online date8 Jan 2016
Accepted/In press26 Dec 2015
E-pub ahead of print8 Jan 2016
Published24 Mar 2016


King's Authors


International guidelines recommend that positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT) should replace CT in Hodgkin lymphoma (HL). The aims of this study were to compare PET-CT with CT for staging and measure agreement between expert and local readers, using a 5-point scale (Deauville criteria), to adapt treatment in a clinical trial: Response-Adapted Therapy in Advanced Hodgkin Lymphoma (RATHL). Patients were staged using clinical assessment, CT, and bone marrow biopsy (RATHL stage). PET-CT was performed at baseline (PET0) and after 2 chemotherapy cycles (PET2) in a response-adapted design. PET-CT was reported centrally by experts at 5 national core laboratories. Local readers optionally scored PET2 scans. The RATHL and PET-CT stages were compared. Agreement among experts and between expert and local readers was measured. RATHL and PET0 stage were concordant in 938 (80%) patients. PET-CT upstaged 159 (14%) and downstaged 74 (6%) patients. Upstaging by extranodal disease in bone marrow (92), lung (11), or multiple sites (12) on PET-CT accounted for most discrepancies. Follow-up of discrepant findings confirmed the PET characterization of lesions in the vast majority. Five patients were upstaged by marrow biopsy and 7 by contrast-enhanced CT in the bowel and/or liver or spleen. PET2 agreement among experts (140 scans) with a κ (95% confidence interval) of 0.84 (0.76-0.91) was very good and between experts and local readers (300 scans) at 0.77 (0.68-0.86) was good. These results confirm PET-CT as the modern standard for staging HL and that response assessment using Deauville criteria is robust, enabling translation of RATHL results into clinical practice.

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