There are still controversies about the use of interim positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) in indolent non-Hodgkin lymphoma due to the variable fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) avidity. Therefore, this study aimed to evaluate the roles of interim PET/CT in marginal zone lymphoma (MZL), a representative indolent lymphoma. We analyzed the data of 146 MZL patients. All were treated with rituximab-containing immunochemotherapy. Interim PET/CT scan was performed after 2–3 cycles of therapy, and the response was assessed using the Deauville 5-point scales (5-PS) and a semi-quantitative assessment using the SUVmax reduction rate (ΔSUVmax). Progression-free survival (PFS) was well stratified according to a visual assessment of interim PET/CT using 5-PS (p < 0.001). Particularly, there was a significant difference in PFS between patients with interim score 1–2 and those with score 3. However, ΔSUVmax did not predict the survival outcome using 59.8% of the optimal cutoff value. In the multivariate analysis, failure to achievement of grade 1–2 in interim PET/CT was significantly associated with inferior PFS (HR, 2.154; 95% CI 1.071–4.332; p = 0.031). The interim PET/CT response based on the 5-PS is useful for predicting PFS of patients with MZL in the post-rituximab era.
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