Fluorine-18 fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET) has been recommended as a complementary tool for the staging of various malignancies, including malignant lymphoma. PET findings often shift patients to higher stages and may affect treatment outcomes. In this study, we retrospectively compared staging and treatment outcomes of newly diagnosed diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) assessed by PET (n = 153) or gallium-67 scintigraphy (Ga) (n = 95). In total, Ga upstaged two (2.1%) of 95 patients, whereas PET upstaged 13 (8.5%) of 153 patients. Bone/bone marrow (15 vs. 4%, P = 0.01) and muscle lesion (5 vs. 0%, P = 0.03) were identified more frequently in the PET group than in the Ga group. The estimated 3-year overall and progression-free survival rates did not differ significantly in the two groups at any stage. However, patients with stage III disease tended to have better progression-free survival in the PET group than in the Ga group [92.3 (95% CI 56.6–98.9%) vs. 58.3% (95% CI 27.0–80.1%), P = 0.086]. These results suggest that PET has a greater potential in detecting musculoskeletal lesions of DLBCL as extranodal lesions than Ga, and may contribute to the optimal staging.
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