Outcomes in pediatric B-Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (B NHL) have improved with intensive chemotherapy protocols, with long-term survival now over 80%. However, long-term adverse effects of therapy and poor outcomes for patients who relapse remain challenges. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the potential risks and benefits of routine relapse surveillance imaging after the completion of therapy. We reviewed 44 B NHL patients diagnosed and treated at Texas Children's Cancer Center in the period between 2000 to 2011. All cross-sectional diagnostic imaging examinations performed for disease assessment after completion of chemotherapy were reviewed and cumulative radiation dosage from these examinations and the frequency of relapse detection by these examinations were recorded. Only 3 patients of the 44 relapsed (6.8%), though none of the relapses were initially diagnosed by computed tomography (CT) or fludeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) scans. Median effective dose of ionizing radiation per patient was 40.3 mSv with an average of 49.1 mSv (range 0-276 mSv). This single-institution study highlights the low relapse rate in pediatric B-NHL with complete response at the end of therapy, the low sensitivity of early detection of relapse with surveillance CT or FDG-PET imaging, and the costs and potential increased risk of secondary malignancies from cumulative radiation exposure from surveillance imaging. We propose that routine surveillance CT or FDG-PET scans for these patients may not be necessary.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The Fayez Sarofim Lymphoma Center at the Texas Children’s Cancer Center is supported, in part, by a generous gift from Mr. Fayez Sarofim.