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June 2017
Yael C. Cohen MD, Tamar Berger MD MHA, Lora Eshel MD, Dorit Stern MD, Osnat Bairey MD, Pia Raanani MD and Ofer Shpilberg MD MPH

Background: Pulmonary infiltrates (PIs) detected in patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) may present a diagnostic challenge due to their wide differential diagnosis, including infection, pulmonary lymphoma and immunochemotherapy-associated pulmonary toxicity.

Objectives: To characterize therapy-associated PIs by positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) imaging.

Methods: We conducted a historical analysis of fluorodeoxyglucose-PET/CT (18F-FDG-PET/CT) PIs in NHL patients treated with combined immunochemotherapy including rituximab. Incidence of PIs, radiological features, patients’ characteristics, underlying NHL type, rituximab/chemotherapy dosing schedules, and symptoms were recorded. Therapy-associated PIs were defined as new or worsening PIs appearing after treatment onset, without evidence of active pulmonary lymphoma or infection.

Results: Among 80 patients who met the pre-specified criteria, therapy-associated PIs were identified in 17 (21%), 6 of whom had accompanying symptoms. Increased FDG uptake was observed in nine, and PI resolution in six. The incidence of PIs was higher in females and in patients with aggressive lymphoma, at advanced stages, and in those who had received treatment consisting of a combination of rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisolone every 14 days (R-CHOP-14).

Conclusions: This characterization of therapy-associated PIs may support the clinician managing NHL patients. Further prospective studies are needed to establish the role of each therapeutic component and the natural history of this phenomenon.

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