What is the role of imaging studies in the workup of follicular lymphoma?

Updated: Mar 03, 2020
  • Author: Lauren C Pinter-Brown, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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CT scans of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis should be performed to determine whether adenopathy is present. CT scans allow visualization of the kidneys, ureters, and the hepatobiliary system. In some cases, those organs are affected by obstruction due to lymphadenopathy or by parenchymal involvement with lymphoma.

Positron emission tomography (PET) scanning complements standard radiologic testing, but only a minority of patients will be diagnosed with a higher stage of disease. This imaging modality can distinguish between viable tumor and fibrosis in patients with residual lymphadenopathy after therapy, but because the majority of follicular lymphoma cases are not curable, such a finding may not change management. [5] This is in contrast to Hodgkin lymphoma and intermediate-grade lymphoma, in which a positive PET scan might prompt salvage chemotherapy or radiation because the treatment goal in those diseases is cure.

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