Given the excellent survival rates for early-stage Hodgkin lymphoma (HL), the young age of many patients, and concerns regarding acute and late treatment-related toxicities, there is a desire to have a predictive tool that enables therapy to be tailored toward the individual patient. Early (or interim) 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography with computerized tomography (FDG-PET/CT), as a test of tumor sensitivity to ongoing/planned therapy, has been shown to be prognostic for survival in HL. Based on results of interim FDG-PET/CT, therapy may be subsequently modified through minimization or via intensification for low- and high-risk patient populations, respectively (ie, response-adapted therapy). Important data have been generated to standardize the interpretability and reproducibility of interim FDG-PET/CT (eg, the Deauville 5-point system), and observational and noncontrolled prospective studies have produced evidence supporting the hypothesis that response-adapted therapy may potentially serve as a predictive tool. Furthermore, results from noninferiority phase 3 clinical trials randomizing early-stage HL patients with negative interim FDG-PET/CT to combined modality therapy versus chemotherapy alone have been reported. The current collective findings from these randomized early-stage HL studies have shown that acute relapse rates are lower with combined modality therapy, even in patients with negative interim FDG-PET/CT. Additional randomized response-adapted studies are ongoing and novel FDG-PET/CT applications involving quantitative techniques and innovative imaging modalities are being investigated to identify more robust imaging biomarkers. Treatment of early-stage HL remains a clinical management choice for physicians and patients to make with consideration of acute and long-term outcomes.
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