Somatostatin receptor (SS-R) scintigraphy successfully shows primary cancers and metastases in patients with a variety of SS-R-positive tumours. In vitro studies have shown that SS-Rs are present in lymph nodes from patients with Hodgkin's disease (HD). We performed a prospective study in 126 newly diagnosed patients with HD and compared the results of SS-R scintigraphy with conventional staging procedures, i.e. physical examination, computerized tomography (CT) scanning and other imaging techniques. We report positive scintigraphy in all patients. The lesion-related sensitivity was 94% and varied from 98% for supradiaphragmatic lesions to 67% for infradiaphragmatic lesions. In comparison with CT scanning and ultrasonography, SS-R scintigraphy provided superior results for the detection of Hodgkin's localizations above the diaphragm. In the intra-abdominal region, the CT scan was more sensitive than the SS-R scan. A false-positive scan was rarely seen. In stages I and II supradiaphragmatic HD patients, SS-R scintigraphy detected more advanced disease in 18% (15 out of 83) of patients, resulting in an upstaging to stage III or IV, thus directly influencing patient management. Our data would support the validity of SS-R scanning as a powerful imaging technique for the staging of patients with HD.