Dr. Ansell on Challenges With PET Scans in Hodgkin Lymphoma

May 4, 2021
Stephen M. Ansell, MD, PhD

Partner | Cancer Centers | <b>Mayo Clinic Cancer Center</b>

Stephen M. Ansell, MD, PhD, discusses challenges with positron emission tomography scans in patients with Hodgkin lymphoma.

Stephen M. Ansell, MD, PhD, chair of the Lymphoma Group at Mayo Clinic, discusses challenges with positron emission tomography (PET) scans in patients with Hodgkin lymphoma.

The benefits and challenges associated with PET scans are dependent on the treatment that is being administered, according to Ansell. Much of the work that has been conducted uses standard chemotherapy agents, which possibly helps in making PET scanning simpler, Ansell says. This is because it is based on glucose utilization, which in turn, is based on proliferation and growth of cells, ultimately resulting in more PET positivity, Ansell explains. It is a good sign when cells do not grow, which results in a negative PET scan. 

Challenges arise when different agents are utilized, such as immunotherapy or antibody-drug conjugates, which may stimulate the immune system. Pseudoprogression is often a challenge, as areas that were not paid enough attention previously could suddenly become positive, Ansell says. This raises the question of whether this is related to response to therapy or progression on therapy. This area continues to be a challenge, Ansell concludes.