Author(s): Richardson SE
Accurate staging of classical Hodgkin lymphoma (CHL) directs treatment intensity. Functional imaging can detect marrow/bone involvement making the role of bone marrow biopsy (BMB) unclear. We assessed current UK practice in CHL staging by questionnaire and retrospectively analyzed patients staged at a single center with BMB and (18)F-fluoro-2-deoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography (FDG-PET/CT). From 34 questionnaire responses 50% used FDG-PET/CT routinely. BMB was employed in 97% with advanced-stage and 30% of patients with limited-stage disease (70% of those not using routine FDG-PET/CT). Ten out of 50 patients were BM+, all of which were identified by FDG-PET/CT (PET+). Conventional BMB changed management in 2% of cases. There were no clinically significant FDG-PET/CT false positives. Conventional routine BMB staging in CHL is extremely insensitive. FDG-PET/CT can rule out marrow/bone involvement in CHL. In the FDG-PET/CT staging era BMB should be targeted to a minority of patients with FDG-PET/CT + bone/marrow uptake and only when management would be altered by the result.