Indian Journal of Cancer
Home  ICS  Feedback Subscribe Top cited articles Login 
Users Online :615
Small font sizeDefault font sizeIncrease font size
Navigate here
 » Next article
 » Previous article 
 » Table of Contents
Resource links
 »  Similar in PUBMED
 »  Search Pubmed for
 »  Search in Google Scholar for
 »Related articles
 »  Article in PDF (133 KB)
 »  Citation Manager
 »  Access Statistics
 »  Reader Comments
 »  Email Alert *
 »  Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

  In this article
 »  Abstract
 »  Introduction
 »  Case Report
 »  Discussion
 »  References
 »  Article Figures

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded521    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 6    

Recommend this journal


Year : 2009  |  Volume : 46  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 237-239

Positron emission tomography / computerized tomography evaluation of primary Hodgkin's disease of liver

1 Department of Medical Oncology, Tata Memorial Hospital, Dr. Ernest Borges Road, Parel, Mumbai - 400 012, India
2 Department of Bioimaging, Tata Memorial Hospital, Dr. Ernest Borges Road, Parel, Mumbai - 400 012, India
3 Department of Pathology, Tata Memorial Hospital, Dr. Ernest Borges Road, Parel, Mumbai - 400 012, India

Date of Web Publication25-Jun-2009

Correspondence Address:
V Rangarajan
Department of Bioimaging, Tata Memorial Hospital, Dr. Ernest Borges Road, Parel, Mumbai - 400 012
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-509X.52960

Rights and Permissions

 » Abstract 

Occurrence of primary Hodgkin's lymphoma (PHL) of the liver is extremely rare. We report on a case of a 60-year-old male who presented with liver mass and B-symptomatology. Hepatoma or hepatic metastasis from a gastrointestinal primary was initially suspected. Tumor markers like AFP, CEA, Total PSA, and CA-19.9 were within normal limits. Positron Emission Tomography / Computerized Tomography (PET/CT) revealed a large hepatic lesion and a nodal mass in the porta hepatis. A liver biopsy was consistent with Hodgkin's lymphoma. There was complete regression of the hepatic lesion and evidence of shrinkage of the nodal mass following four cycles of chemotherapy. 18F Fluro -de-oxy Glucose (FDG) PET / CT in this case helped in establishing a primary hepatic lymphoma by demonstrating the absence of pathologically hypermetabolic foci in any other nodes or organs. PET / CT scan is a useful adjunct to conventional imaging and histopathology, not only to establish the initial diagnosis, but also to monitor treatment response in PHL.

Keywords: Hodgkin′s lymphoma, primary hepatic lymphoma, positron emission tomography / computerized tomography

How to cite this article:
Gota V S, Purandare N C, Gujral S, Shah S, Nair R, Rangarajan V. Positron emission tomography / computerized tomography evaluation of primary Hodgkin's disease of liver. Indian J Cancer 2009;46:237-9

How to cite this URL:
Gota V S, Purandare N C, Gujral S, Shah S, Nair R, Rangarajan V. Positron emission tomography / computerized tomography evaluation of primary Hodgkin's disease of liver. Indian J Cancer [serial online] 2009 [cited 2022 Dec 4];46:237-9. Available from:

 » Introduction Top

Primary hepatic lymphoma (PHL) defines an extranodal lymphoma of the liver with or without regional lymph node involvement, without involvement of any other organ. [1] A computed tomography (CT) scan is the commonly used modality for staging lymphomas. The accuracy of anatomic imaging, like the CT scan, in the identification of a disease in normal-sized lymph nodes or in the detection of nonmalignant disease within enlarged nodes is limited. [2] The widespread use of Positron Emission Tomography / Computerized Tomography (PET/CT) takes advantage of the anatomic resolution of the CT scan and the biological characterization provided by 18 F Fluoro -de-oxy Glucose (FDG)-PET. Together, it results in the improvement in the accuracy of detecting the extent of disease, response evaluation, and prognostication. [3] Detection of a more extensive disease by PET / CT, rather than by conventional imaging, would be of major relevance for patients with apparently limited stage hepatic lymphoma (HL0, in whom upstaging could alter the management. PET / CT is also useful in the early assessment of treatment response. We report the PET / CT findings of an extremely rare case of primary Hodgkin's disease of the liver.

 » Case Report Top

A 60-year-old male presented with a six month's history of abdominal pain, back ache and a 10-kg weight loss. On examination, te liver was palpable 5 cm below the right costal margin. There was no splenomegaly. Notable laboratory findings included hemoglobin of 10.1 g/dl and serum LDH of 150 U/L. Normal results included those for blood counts, renal and liver function, and chest x-ray. Serology for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B, and hepatitis C was negative. Computerized Tomography scan of the abdomen and pelvis showed a heterogeneously enhancing soft tissue mass in the right hepatic lobe measuring 9 x 7 cm. In addition a nodal mass was seen at the porta hepatis. The patient referred for a whole body PET / CT study to look for other sites of involvement. The patient was injected with 10 millicuries of 18 F Fluoro de oxy Glucose (FDG) and after 60 minutes of uptake time, underwent a whole body scan in a dedicated PET / CT scanner. A whole body FDG PET / CT study revealed avid FDG uptake in the hepatic lesion and in the portal nodes [Figure 1A], with the rest of the whole body study appearing unremarkable. The liver lesion showed maximum standardized uptake value (SUV) of 21.9 [Figure 2A]. The nodal mass at the porta showed a maximum SUV of 22.5. Tumor markers AFP, CEA were within normal limits. Fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) of the liver lesion showed several singly scattered large tumor cells with multilobulated nuclei [Figure 3A]. The background was formed by strands of spindle cells admixed with lymphoplasmacytic cells. The differential diagnosis considered included malignant lymphoma, anaplastic carcinoma, and pleomorphic sarcoma. Ultrasound-guided liver biopsy was performed, which revealed cellular fragments of fibrocollagenous tissue with crushing artifacts. It showed clusters of large atypical cells with occasional binucleate forms amidst mature lymphocytes, plasma cells, and fibroblasts [Figure 3B]. The large atypical cells had prominent eosinophilic nucleoli and were immunonegative to LCA, CD20, CD15, and CD43. A stain for CD30 was weakly positive in these tumor cells. Liver biopsy was consistent with the diagnosis of extranodal classical Hodgkin's lymphoma. The peripheral blood smear was normal. Bone marrow aspiration and trephine biopsy were performed and revealed normal hematopoesis with no tumor infiltrates. There was no other site of involvement based on physical examination in the FDG PET/CT study. These findings established the diagnosis of primary hepatic Hodgkin's lymphoma. He was treated with a chemotherapy regimen consisting of Adriamycin, bleomycin, vincristine, and dexamethasone (ABVD). An early response evaluation was done by PET / CT following two cycles of ABVD. The hepatic lesion had regressed and there was evidence of shrinkage of the nodal mass [Figure 1B] and [Figure 2B]. There was a 30% reduction in the size of measurable lesions on the CT images, with significant reduction in the metabolic activity in the liver lesion and the portal nodes (SUV - liver lesions 2.8 and portal nodes 3.7). PET / CT was again repeated following four cycles of ABVD, which showed complete regression of the hepatic lesion on CT, with no significant uptake of FDG in the liver lesion. Low grade FDG uptake of SUV 3 was seen in the portal nodes [Figure 1C] and [Figure 2C].

 » Discussion Top

Primary Hodgkin's Lymphoma is notably rare, representing < 1% of all extranodal lymphomas. [1] Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) is the major histological subtype of PHL. PHL with Hodgkin's histology is extremely rare. To the best of our knowledge, only three cases of primary hepatic Hodgkin's lymphoma have been reported in the literature so far. [4],[5],[6] A definite diagnosis of PHL is difficult to establish on clinical grounds. Hepatoma and metastasis from gastrointestinal (mostly colon) carcinoma present in a similar manner and are much more common. Normal levels of tumor markers AFP and CEA are found in almost all cases of PHL. [1] Diagnosis of PHL requires a liver biopsy compatible with lymphoma and the absence of a lymphoproliferative disease outside the liver. [7] Our case fits these traits: normal levels of tumor markers, liver biopsy consistent with Hodgkin's histology, and the disease confined to the liver and regional draining nodes only.

FDG PET / CT in this case helped in establishing the possibility of PHL, by demonstrating the absence of pathologically hypermetabolic foci in any other nodes or organs. PET / CT identified significant treatment response after two cycles and this was similar to the reported role of PET in lymphomas, in assessing early treatment response. [8],[9] Post a four-cycle evaluation, it raised the possibility of small residual disease in the node. An end treatment scan after six cycles possibly would have clarified if this uptake represented reparative change or residual disease. This was not possible in our patient as he had a sudden death at home prior to the fifth cycle of ABVD. In conclusion, the occurrence of primary Hodgkin's disease of the liver is extremely rare. Confirmation of the diagnosis requires liver biopsy and exclusion of tumor at other sites. A PET / CT scan is one of most useful noninvasive imaging modalities for the diagnosis and evaluation of treatment response for this condition.

 » References Top

1.Agmon-Levin N, Berger I, Shtalrid M, Schlanger H, Sthoeger ZM. Primary hepatic lymphoma: A case report and review of the literature. Age Ageing 2004;33:637-40.   Back to cited text no. 1  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]
2.Vinnicombe SJ, Reznek RH. Computerised tomography in the staging of Hodgkin's disease and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging 2003;30:S42-55.  Back to cited text no. 2  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]
3.Macapinlac HA. FDG PET and PET/CT imaging in lymphoma and melanoma. Cancer J 2004;10:262-70.  Back to cited text no. 3  [PUBMED]  
4.Zhang YJ, Chen MS, Liang HH, Xu L, Zhang YQ. Clinicopathologic features and treatment outcomes of primary hepatic lymphoma: A report of four cases. Ai Zheng 2005;24:365-7.  Back to cited text no. 4  [PUBMED]  
5.Chim CS, Choy C, Ooi CG, Liang R. Hodgkin's disease with primary manifestation in the liver. Leuk Lymph 2000;37:629-32.  Back to cited text no. 5    
6.Khapat'ko TS, Shestakova NN. Primary liver Hodgkin's disease. Vrach Delo 1983;8:98-100.  Back to cited text no. 6  [PUBMED]  
7.Page RD, Romaguera JE, Osborne B, Medeiros LJ, Rodriguez J, North L, et al . Primary hepatic lymphoma. Favorable outcome after combination chemotherapy. Cancer 2001;92:2023-9.  Back to cited text no. 7    
8.Trnenư M, Belohlαvek O, Koren J, Pytlνk R, Sαlkovα J, Klener P. The outcome of whole-body FDG-PET examination predicts the future of patients with diffuse large-cell lymphoma in the use of both intermediary staging and at the end of standard chemotherapy. Vnitr Lek 2007;53:936-41.   Back to cited text no. 8    
9.MacManus MP, Seymour JF, Hicks RJ. Overview of early response assessment in lymphoma with FDG-PET. Cancer Imaging 2007;7:10-8.  Back to cited text no. 9  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]


  [Figure 1A], [Figure 1B], [Figure 1C], [Figure 2A], [Figure 2B], [Figure 2C], [Figure 3A], [Figure 3B]

This article has been cited by
1 Primary hepatic diffuse large B-cell lymphoma presenting unusual imaging features
Kumi Ozaki, Hiroshi Ikeno, Kenji Koneri, Shohei Higuchi, Nahoko Hosono, Nobuyuki Kosaka, Takanori Goi, Toshifumi Gabata, Hirohiko Kimura
Clinical Journal of Gastroenterology. 2020; 13(6): 1265
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
2 Hepatic Manifestations of Lymphoproliferative Disorders
Chalermrat Bunchorntavakul,K. Rajender Reddy
Clinics in Liver Disease. 2019; 23(2): 293
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
3 Primary Hepatic Lymphoma: Dilemmas in Diagnostic Approach and Therapeutic Management
Aikaterini Mastoraki,Maria Ioanna Stefanou,Evangelos Chatzoglou,Nikolaos Danias,Maria Kyriazi,Nikolaos Arkadopoulos,Vasilios Smyrniotis
Indian Journal of Hematology and Blood Transfusion. 2013;
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
4 PET/CT in Primary Hepatic Lymphoma With Hepatic Vein Thrombus That Extended Into the Inferior Vena Cava
Kevin Diehl,Nabeel E. Sarwani,Mark Tulchinsky
Clinical Nuclear Medicine. 2013; 38(2): 153
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
5 Imaging of cellular proliferation in liver metastasis by [<sup>18</sup>F]fluorothymidine positron emission tomography: effect of therapy
Physics in Medicine and Biology. 2012; 57(11): 3419
[VIEW] | [DOI]
6 FDG PET/CT diagnosis of hepatic lymphoma mimicking focal fatty infiltration on CT
Lin, E., Lee, M., Agoff, N.
Journal of Radiology Case Reports. 2010; 4(4): 34-37


Print this article  Email this article
Previous article Next article


  Site Map | What's new | Copyright and Disclaimer | Privacy Notice
  Online since 1st April '07
  © 2007 - Indian Journal of Cancer | Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow