Comparison of lesion detection and quantitation of tracer uptake between PET from a simultaneously acquiring whole-body PET/MR hybrid scanner and PET from PET/CT

Marco Wiesmüller, Harald H Quick, Bharath Navalpakkam, Michael M Lell, Michael Uder, Philipp Ritt, Daniela Schmidt, Michael Beck, Torsten Kuwert, Carl C von Gall
European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging 2013, 40 (1): 12-21

PURPOSE: PET/MR hybrid scanners have recently been introduced, but not yet validated. The aim of this study was to compare the PET components of a PET/CT hybrid system and of a simultaneous whole-body PET/MR hybrid system with regard to reproducibility of lesion detection and quantitation of tracer uptake.

METHODS: A total of 46 patients underwent a whole-body PET/CT scan 1 h after injection and an average of 88 min later a second scan using a hybrid PET/MR system. The radioactive tracers used were (18)F-deoxyglucose (FDG), (18)F-ethylcholine (FEC) and (68)Ga-DOTATATE (Ga-DOTATATE). The PET images from PET/CT (PET(CT)) and from PET/MR (PET(MR)) were analysed for tracer-positive lesions. Regional tracer uptake in these foci was quantified using volumes of interest, and maximal and average standardized uptake values (SUV(max) and SUV(avg), respectively) were calculated.

RESULTS: Of the 46 patients, 43 were eligible for comparison and statistical analysis. All lesions except one identified by PET(CT) were identified by PET(MR) (99.2 %). In 38 patients (88.4 %), the same number of foci were identified by PET(CT) and by PET(MR). In four patients, more lesions were identified by PET(MR) than by PET(CT), in one patient PET(CT) revealed an additional focus compared to PET(MR). The mean SUV(max) and SUV(avg) of all lesions determined by PET(MR) were by 21 % and 11 % lower, respectively, than the values determined by PET(CT) (p < 0.05), and a strong correlation between these variables was identified (Spearman rho 0.835; p < 0.01).

CONCLUSION: PET/MR showed equivalent performance in terms of qualitative lesion detection to PET/CT. The differences demonstrated in quantitation of tracer uptake between PET(CT) and PET(MR) were minor, but statistically significant. Nevertheless, a more detailed study of the quantitative accuracy of PET(MR) and the factors governing it is needed to ultimately assess its accuracy in measuring tissue tracer concentrations.

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