Among patients with follicular lymphoma, the recorded 2-deoxy-2-fluoro-D-glucose (18F-FDG) maximum standardized uptake value (SUVmax) may predict which patients have a low risk of long-term relapse, according to research published in Cancers.

Follicular lymphoma is the most frequently diagnosed non-Hodgkin lymphoma. While the prognosis of patients with follicular lymphoma has improved over the past several decades, about 1 in 5 patients have a short-term relapse, while the majority of patients are likely to have a long-term relapse.

It is, furthermore, difficult to identify which patients are at a high risk of long-term relapse. For this retrospective cohort study, researchers evaluated whether SUVmax at baseline PET/CT scan carries prognostic value among patients with follicular lymphoma.

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Overall, data from 94 patients were included in this study. Patients were split into 1 of 2 groups: group A (34 patients; 36.2%), where patients had a basal SUVmax of 6 or less, or group B (60 patients; 63.8%), where patients had a basal SUVmax score of greater than 6.

The overall 5-year progression-free survival (PFS) rate was 87.5%. The 2-year PFS rates were 97% in both groups A and B. Patients in group B, however, had an improved 5-year PFS rate (95%) compared with group A (75%; P = .005).

In the absence of other evaluated risk factors, a PFS advantage was confirmed: patients with no risk factors in group A had a 5-year PFS rate of 73% vs 83% among patients in group B with at least 2 risk factors.

“In conclusion, our data demonstrated the independent prognostic role of baseline SUVmax as a PFS predictor, especially in patients with low-risk follicular lymphoma,” the authors wrote. “Even without other risk factors, patients with low tumor metabolic activity exhibited a higher long-term relapse probability.”


Assanto GM, Ciotti G, Brescini M, et al. High basal maximal standardized uptake value (SUVmax) in follicular lymphoma identifies patients with a low risk of long-term relapse. Cancers (Basel). 2021;13(12):2876. doi:10.3390/cancers13122876

This article originally appeared on Hematology Advisor