Whole-Body PET/MR Imaging: Quantitative Evaluation of a Novel Model-Based MR Attenuation Correction Method Including Bone

Daniel H Paulus, Harald H Quick, Christian Geppert, Matthias Fenchel, Yiqiang Zhan, Gerardo Hermosillo, David Faul, Fernando Boada, Kent P Friedman, Thomas Koesters
Journal of Nuclear Medicine 2015, 56 (7): 1061-6

UNLABELLED: In routine whole-body PET/MR hybrid imaging, attenuation correction (AC) is usually performed by segmentation methods based on a Dixon MR sequence providing up to 4 different tissue classes. Because of the lack of bone information with the Dixon-based MR sequence, bone is currently considered as soft tissue. Thus, the aim of this study was to evaluate a novel model-based AC method that considers bone in whole-body PET/MR imaging.

METHODS: The new method ("Model") is based on a regular 4-compartment segmentation from a Dixon sequence ("Dixon"). Bone information is added using a model-based bone segmentation algorithm, which includes a set of prealigned MR image and bone mask pairs for each major body bone individually. Model was quantitatively evaluated on 20 patients who underwent whole-body PET/MR imaging. As a standard of reference, CT-based μ-maps were generated for each patient individually by nonrigid registration to the MR images based on PET/CT data. This step allowed for a quantitative comparison of all μ-maps based on a single PET emission raw dataset of the PET/MR system. Volumes of interest were drawn on normal tissue, soft-tissue lesions, and bone lesions; standardized uptake values were quantitatively compared.

RESULTS: In soft-tissue regions with background uptake, the average bias of SUVs in background volumes of interest was 2.4% ± 2.5% and 2.7% ± 2.7% for Dixon and Model, respectively, compared with CT-based AC. For bony tissue, the -25.5% ± 7.9% underestimation observed with Dixon was reduced to -4.9% ± 6.7% with Model. In bone lesions, the average underestimation was -7.4% ± 5.3% and -2.9% ± 5.8% for Dixon and Model, respectively. For soft-tissue lesions, the biases were 5.1% ± 5.1% for Dixon and 5.2% ± 5.2% for Model.

CONCLUSION: The novel MR-based AC method for whole-body PET/MR imaging, combining Dixon-based soft-tissue segmentation and model-based bone estimation, improves PET quantification in whole-body hybrid PET/MR imaging, especially in bony tissue and nearby soft tissue.

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