Which imaging studies may be useful in the workup of anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL)?

Updated: May 08, 2020
  • Author: Delong Liu, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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The following imaging techniques may also be used:

  • Ultrasonography of the liver is indicated in patients who have abnormal results from laboratory liver function tests but normal hepatic imaging findings on CT.
  • Gallium scans, although not as useful in the initial staging workup, can be helpful for evaluating the patient’s response to treatment, because continued positive uptake in a residual mass after completion of treatment is an indicator of persistent disease.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can be useful for detecting occult bone marrow lymphoma involvement, which is displayed as patchy distribution and, thus, will be missed on bone marrow biopsy findings. A spinal study is indicated for patients with epidural involvement and possible spinal cord compression.
  • A bone scan is indicated if musculoskeletal symptoms are present or if the alkaline phosphatase level is elevated.
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scanning is gaining wider approval as a potential staging modality at diagnosis of anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) and in cases of relapse.


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