Differentiation of HIV-associated lymphoma from HIV-associated reactive adenopathy using quantitative FDG PET and symmetry

Joyce C. Mhlanga, Daniel Durand, Hua Ling Tsai, Christine M. Durand, Jeffrey P. Leal, Hao Wang, Richard Moore, Richard L. Wahl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations


Purpose: To determine the diagnostic accuracy of a semiautomated 18F-FDG PET/CT measurement of total lesion glycolysis (TLG), maximum and peak standardized uptake value at lean body mass (SUL-Max and SUL-Peak), qualitative estimates of left/right nodal symmetry and FDG uptake for differentiating lymphoma from reactive adenopathy in HIV-infected patients. Methods: We retrospectively analyzed 41 whole-body 18F-FDG PET/CT studies performed in HIV-infected patients for clinical reasons. The study received institutional review board approval. Of the 41 patients, 19 had biopsy-proven untreated lymphoma, and 22 with reactive adenopathy without malignancy on follow-up were used as controls. Nodal and extranodal visual qualitative metabolic scores, SUL-Max, SUL-Peak, CT nodal size, and PERCIST 1.0 threshold-based TLG and metabolic tumor volume (MTV) were determined. The qualitative intensity of nodal involvement and symmetry of uptake were compared using receiver operator curve (ROC) analysis. HIV plasma viral RNA measurements were also obtained. Results: All of the quantitative PET metrics performed well in differentiating lymphoma from reactive adenopathy and performed better than qualitative visual intensity scores. The areas under the ROC curves (AUC) were significantly higher for TLG=0.96, single SUL-Peak=0.96, single SUL-Max=0.97, and MTV=0.96, compared to 0.67 for CT nodal size (p<0.001). These PET metrics performed best in separating the two populations in aviremic patients, with AUCs of 1 (AUC 0.91 for CT nodal size). TLG, MTV, SUL-Peak and SUL-Max were more reliable markers among viremic individuals, with AUCs between 0.84 and 0.93, compared to other metrics. PET metrics were significantly correlated with plasma viral load in HIV-reactive adenopathy controls. Asymmetrical FDG uptake had an accuracy of 90.4 % for differentiating lymphoma from reactive adenopathy in HIV-infected patients. Conclusion: Quantitative PET metabolic metrics as well as the qualitative assessment of symmetry of nodal uptake appear to be valuable tools for differentiating lymphoma from reactive adenopathy in HIV-infected patients using FDG PET. These parameters appear more robust in aviremic patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)596-604
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2014



  • HIV
  • Lymphadenopathy
  • Lymphoma
  • PET/CT
  • TLG

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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