A research paper presented at the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) 2015 Annual Meeting reported the follow up PET/CT scans to be more than 95% sensitive in diagnosing recurrence in case of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL).
Even then, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) has not established PET or CT scans as the standard procedure for the purpose of follow up in patients of NHL. Bruce Cheson, MD, professor of medicine and head of hematology at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center says, “In 80% of cases, it is the patient or doctor who identifies a relapse and at that time a scan is warranted.” Although he accepted the role of follow up scans, he pointed them out to be of no significance in prolonging the survival rate in such patients.
The original study included 560 follow up scans in 204 patients 6 months after the primary treatment, out of which, 77% survived with chemoradiotherapy as the treatment modality. The treatment regime of 37.8% was modified on the basis of results of the scans. The researchers analyzed the accuracy of these scans to be nearly 92.1 percent and it was said to be equal to that of histological studies for determining the recurrence in NHL patients. The specificity of these tests came out to be 90.5 percent.
Whether to impose PET and CT scans as the standard follow up protocol for surveillance in NHL patients is still a subject of extensive debates and further researches are needed to back up the results of this study.
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