PURPOSE: Post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD) is a serious complication after solid organ and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, requiring a timely and accurate diagnosis. In this study, we evaluated the diagnostic performance of FDG-PET/CT in patients with suspected PTLD and examined if lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) levels, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) load, or timing of FDG-PET/CT relate to detection performance of FDG-PET/CT.

METHODS: This retrospective study included 91 consecutive patients with clinical suspicion of PTLD and a total of 97 FDG-PET/CT scans within an 8-year period. Pathology reports and a 2-year follow-up were used as the reference standard. Diagnostic performance of FDG-PET/CT for detection of PTLD as well as logistic regression analysis for factors expected to affect diagnostic yield were assessed.

RESULTS: The diagnosis of PTLD was established in 34 patients (35%). Fifty-seven FDG-PET/CT scans (59%) were true negative, 29 (30%) were true positive, 6 (6%) false positive, and 5 (5%) false negative. Sensitivity of FDG-PET/CT for the detection of PTLD was 85%, specificity 90%, positive predictive value 83%, and negative predictive value 92%, with good inter-observer variability (k = 0.78). Of the parameters hypothesized to be associated with a true positive FDG-PET/CT result for the diagnosis of PTLD, only LDH was statistically significant (OR 1.03, p = 0.04).

CONCLUSION: FDG-PET/CT has a good diagnostic performance in patients suspected of PTLD, with a good inter-observer agreement. Only LDH levels seemed to influence the detection performance of FDG-PET/CT. EBV-DNA load and timing of FDG-PET/CT after transplantation did not affect FDG-PET/CT diagnostic yield.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)529-536
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
Issue number3
Early online date24-Aug-2019
Publication statusPublished - Mar-2020


  • Post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder
  • F-18-Fluoro-D-deoxyglucose positron emission tomography
  • CT
  • Diagnosis
  • RISK

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