Patients with early-stage, nonbulky classic Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL) undergo intensive posttreatment radiologic surveillance despite having a low risk of disease recurrence. The current study attempted to evaluate the risk of disease recurrence and the value of radiologic surveillance in patients treated with the combination of doxorubicin, bleomycin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine (ABVD) alone who achieved a complete remission (CR) as noted on posttreatment positron emission tomography (PET).
Forty-seven patients who underwent therapy with interim and/or posttreatment PET scans were evaluated for disease recurrence during ≥ 24 months of follow-up. Their presenting characteristics and imaging results were assessed and interpreted in relation to clinical outcome.
All 47 patients were eligible for analysis. The majority of patients were female (35 patients) with a median age of 28 years (range, 17 years-65 years.). The nodular sclerosing subtype was the predominant histology (41 patients). A total of 34 patients were staged with IIA disease, 6 with IA disease, 6 with IIB disease, and 1 with IIEA disease (lung) (according to Cotswolds modification of the Ann Arbor staging system). All patients completed 6 cycles of planned ABVD therapy and achieved a CR. Two had a positive PET scan (1 interim scan and 1 posttreatment scan); both were biopsy-proven sarcoidosis. Two patients developed disease recurrence at 7 months and 24 months, respectively, after negative interim and posttreatment imaging. One case of recurrence was identified through surveillance imaging and the other was identified simultaneously by the patient and surveillance scan. A total of 45 patients experienced a durable CR; 21 had additional unscheduled imaging/workup during surveillance to investigate symptoms or imaging signs of concern.
Because of a low risk of disease recurrence, posttreatment radiologic surveillance appears to be unnecessary in patients with early-stage, nonbulky (CD20 negative) cHL who achieve a PET-detected CR with the ABVD combination alone. This will reduce cumulative radiation exposure and health care costs in a predominantly young patient population. Cancer 2013. © 2012 American Cancer Society.