Research Article

Computed tomography of abdomen in staging and clinical management of lymphoma.

Br Med J 1978; 2 doi: (Published 16 December 1978) Cite this as: Br Med J 1978;2:1675
  1. J J Best,
  2. G Blackledge,
  3. W S Forbes,
  4. I D Todd,
  5. B Eddleston,
  6. D Crowther,
  7. I Isherwood


    During July 1976 to Demember 1977, 150 patients with Hodgkin's disease and 138 with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma were examined by computed tomography (CT). In 45 cases 50 repeat examinations were conducted. Concurrent laparotomy and lymphography were performed on 68 and 56 patients respectively. The overall incidence of false-positive CT examinations as confirmed by laparotomy was 7.4%. In 18 patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in the abdomen there was good correlation between the two techniques. Of the 50 patients with Hodgkin's disease who underwent laparotomy, 17 had splenic disease and 14 minimally enlarged lymph nodes in 20 areas; CT, however, detected only four diseased spleens and five minimally enlarged lymph nodes. Nevertheless, CT often detected enlarged lymph nodes missed by lymphography and was 23% more efficient than lymphography in detecting unsuspected disease. CT also detected unsuspected disease in patients with relapse of lymphoma. CT may replace other non-invasive investigations of abdominal disease in patients with lymphoma and give a reliable guide to prognosis. It does not, however, eliminate the need for laparotomy in staging Hodgkin's disease.