18F-FDG PET/CT prognostic role in predicting response to salvage therapy in relapsed/refractory Hodgkin's lymphoma

Published:September 24, 2022DOI:


      • 18F-FDG PET/CT can be used for evaluating salvage therapy candidates diagnosed with relapsed/refractory Hodgkin lymphoma.
      • 18F-FDG PET/CT has the potential to predict each lesion’s response to salvage therapy.
      • SUVmax and MTV≥41% are the most valuable prognostic factors in the initial 18F-FDG PET/CT prior to the salvage therapy.



      To evaluate the response predictors, both clinical and 18F-FDG PET/CT parameters, in Hodgkin's lymphoma (HL) patients diagnosed with refractory/relapsed disease who were planned to receive salvage therapy.


      In this retrospective study, all HL patients referred to our center between March 2015 and July 2021 were reviewed. Patients with refractory/relapsed disease who were candidates for salvage therapy were included. 18F-FDG PET/CT measurements at the time of diagnosis were extracted as the predictors, and the lesions' response at the end of the salvage therapy was considered the outcomes. The Kaplan-Meier method and multiple Cox regression were utilized to find the significant parameters to predict the time to reach the complete response. The statistical significance level was set at a two-sided p-value <0.05.


      A total of 303 tumoral lesions from 64 patients were included. Regarding the factors associated with the response, B symptoms (p-value < 0.01), pathologic subtype (p-value < 0.001), and patient stage (p-value < 0.01) were the significant clinical parameters. In addition, SUVmax (p-value = 0.03), SUVmax/hepatic background SUVmax (p-value = 0.04), SUVmean (in all thresholds; 41% p-value = 0.02, 51% p-value = 0.04, 61% p-value = 0.01), and MTV (in all thresholds; 41% p-value = 0.04, 51% p-value = 0.04, 61% p-value = 0.05) were the significant parameters in the 18F-FDG PET/CT scans. At the median follow-up of 9 months, we found that pathologic subtype (p-value < 0.01), patient stage (p-value = 0.03), SUVmax (p-value = 0.02), SUVmax/hepatic background SUVmax (p-value = 0.03), SUVmean (in all thresholds; 41% p-value = 0.01, 51% p-value = 0.02, 61% p-value = 0.02), and MTV ≥ 41% (p-value = 0.02) were significant predictive factors. Multiple Cox regression showed the pathologic subtype (p-value = 0.02), SUVmax (p-value = 0.02), and MTV ≥ 41% (p-value = 0.04) were the most significant predictors.


      Our study demonstrated that by knowing the histopathology of the lesions, the pre-treatment 18F-FDG PET/CT might be able to predict response after salvage therapy in the relapsed/refractory HL.


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