Quantitative carotid PET/MR imaging: clinical evaluation of MR-Attenuation correction versus CT-Attenuation correction in (18)F-FDG PET/MR emission data and comparison to PET/CT

Jason Bini, Philip M Robson, Claudia Calcagno, Mootaz Eldib, Zahi A Fayad
American Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging 2015, 5 (3): 293-304
Current PET/MR systems employ segmentation of MR images and subsequent assignment of empirical attenuation coefficients for quantitative PET reconstruction. In this study we examine the differences in the quantification of (18)F-FDG uptake in the carotid arteries between PET/MR and PET/CT scanners. Five comparisons were performed to asses differences in PET quantification: i) PET/MR MR-based AC (MRAC) versus PET/MR CTAC, ii) PET/MR MRAC versus PET/CT, iii) PET/MR MRAC with carotid coil versus PET/MR MRAC without coil, iv) PET/MR MRAC scan 2 versus PET/MR MRAC scan 1, and v) PET/MR CTAC versus PET/CT. Standardized uptakes values (SUV) mean and SUV maximum were calculated for six regions-of-interests: left and right carotid arteries, left and right lungs, spine and muscle. Pearson's Correlation and Bland-Altman plots were used to compare SUV mean and maximum within each ROI of each patient. PET/MR emission data reconstructed with MRAC versus PET/MR emission data reconstructed with CTAC had percent differences of SUV mean ranging from -2.0% (Absolute Difference, -0.02) to 7.4% (absolute difference, 0.06). Percent differences within the carotid arteries proved to correlate well with differences of SUV mean of 5.4% (Absolute Difference, 0.07) in the left carotid and 2.7% (Absolute Difference, 0.03) in the right carotid. Pearson's correlation and Bland-Altman of PET/MR with MRAC versus PET/MR with CTAC showed high correlation between SUV mean (R(2)=0.80, mean difference 0.03 ± 0.18 SUV, p=0.3382), demonstrating excellent correlation within ROIs analyzed. The results of this study support the use of (18)F-FDG PET/MR for quantitative measure of inflammation in the carotid arteries.

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