Background. The aim of this study was to evaluate the value of follow-up investigations of T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) and T-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (T-NHL), including cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) examination, bone marrow (BM) aspiration, peripheral blood (PB) count, serum lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and chest X-rays in patients with an initial mediastinal enlargement. Procedure. We reviewed clinical records of all T-ALL patients from 1987 to 2002 and all T-NHL patients from 1977 to 2002, seen at a single institution. Results. Of 48 T-ALL patients, 15 suffered from a relapse, 6 (40%) were asymptomatic at the time of relapse. T-ALL (13/30) with mediastinal enlargement at first diagnosis relapsed versus 2/16 of those without mediastinal enlargement. However, at relapse, only one patient had a mediastinal mass, which in addition was symptomatic. Of 39 T-NHL patients, 6 patients relapsed. Forty percent of relapsed T-ALL and 17% of relapsed T-NHL were asymptomatic. The seven asymptomatic relapses were detected by CSF (n = 4), BM (n = 2) or blood count (n = 1) examinations. All T-ALL and T-NHL patients with a mediastinal relapse were symptomatic. Conclusions. This study suggests that routine CSF examinations during treatment can detect relapses of T-ALL and T-NHL before onset of symptoms, which might be of clinical value. Relapses are rarely detected by BM or blood examinations and whether this translates in a clinical benefit is unlikely. Routine chest X-rays are not useful.

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Pediatric Blood & Cancer
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Huang, L., Leguin, M., Pieters, R., & van den Heuvel-Eibrink, M. (2007). The clinical value of follow-up examinations in childhood T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia and T-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Pediatric Blood & Cancer, 48(4), 468–472. doi:10.1002/pbc.20813