Pilot performance of a dedicated prostate PET suitable for diagnosis and biopsy guidance

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Background: Prostate cancer (PCa) represents one of the most common types of cancers facing the male population. Nowadays, to confirm PCa, systematic or multiparametric MRI-targeted transrectal or transperineal biopsies of the prostate are required. However, due to the lack of an accurate imaging technique capable to precisely locate cancerous cells in the prostate, ultrasound biopsies sample random parts of the prostate and, therefore, it is possible to miss regions where those cancerous cells are present. In spite of the improvement with multiparametric MRI, the low reproducibility of its reading undermines the specificity of the method. Recent development of prostate-specific radiotracers has grown the interest on using positron emission tomography (PET) scanners for this purpose, but technological improvements are still required (current scanners have resolutions in the range of 4–5 mm). Results: The main goal of this work is to improve state-of-the-art PCa imaging and diagnosis. We have focused our efforts on the design of a novel prostate-dedicated PET scanner, named ProsPET. This system has small scanner dimensions defined by a ring of just 41 cm inner diameter. In this work, we report the design, implementation, and evaluation (both through simulations and real data) of the ProsPET scanner. We have been able to achieve < 2 mm resolution in reconstructed images and high sensitivity. In addition, we have included a comparison with the Philips Gemini-TF scanner, which is used for routine imaging of PCa patients. The ProsPET exhibits better contrast, especially for rod sizes as small as 4.5 mm in diameter. Finally, we also show the first reconstructed image of a PCa patient acquired with the ProsPET. Conclusions: We have designed and built a prostate specific PET system, with a small footprint and improved spatial resolution when compared to conventional whole-body PET scanners. The gamma ray impact within each detector block includes accurate DOI determination, correcting for the parallax error. The potential role of combined organ-dedicated prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) PET and ultrasound devices, as a prebiopsy diagnostic tool, could be used to guide sampling of the most aggressive sites in the prostate.




Cañizares, G., Gonzalez-Montoro, A., Freire, M., Lamprou, E., Barrio, J., Sanchez, F., … Gonzalez, A. J. (2020). Pilot performance of a dedicated prostate PET suitable for diagnosis and biopsy guidance. EJNMMI Physics, 7(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40658-020-00305-y

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