Thoracic and abdominal SPECT-CT image fusion without external markers in endocrine carcinomas. The Group of Thyroid Tumoral Pathology of Champagne-Ardenne

C Pérault, C Schvartz, H Wampach, J C Liehn, M J Delisle
Journal of Nuclear Medicine 1997, 38 (8): 1234-42

UNLABELLED: Superimposition of SPECT and computed tomography (CT) slices from the thoracoabdominal region was achieved without the use of external markers for 14 studies in 13 patients with endocrine carcinoma. Technical feasibility and clinical validation of this retrospective fusion method were assessed.

METHODS: Patients had a history of thyroid cancer or of carcinoid tumor. To detect tumor sites, CT scan and dual-isotope tomoscintigraphy were performed, with 99mTc-hydroxymethylene diphosphonate for bone scintigraphy and with 111In-pentetreotide, 131I or 131I-metaiodobenzylguanidine for tumor scintigraphy (TS). A superimposition method previously developed for the pelvic region was adapted to the nonrigid thoraco-abdominal region. CT-bone scintigraphy and CT-TS superimposed images were obtained. Clinical validation of the information obtained from the superimposed images was obtained from surgery or follow-up imaging studies performed after clinical evolution of the disease process.

RESULTS: Reliable and reproducible registration was achieved in all patients. CT-TS superimposed images produced accurate localization of abnormal TS foci. Accuracy was limited primarily by variable relative displacements of the thoracoabdominal organs. For 10 sites in 8 patients, localization and/or characterization obtained from CT-TS images was confirmed by a reference technique. Superimposition enabled the localization of tumor sites that otherwise could not have been suspected from CT alone and allowed the characterization of CT suspicious masses and the confirmation of CT positive sites. Nonspecific tumor TS uptake sites were also localized.

CONCLUSION: With standard CT and dual-isotope SPECT acquisitions, SPECT-CT fusion is feasible in the thoracoabdominal region without the use of external markers. Fused images were validated in 8 patients for 10 sites. The use of this technique could probably improve the management and care of patients with endocrine carcinoma.

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