What and how should we measure in paediatric oncology FDG-PET/CT? Comparison of commonly used SUV metrics for differentiation between paediatric tumours

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Abstract

Background: In clinical routine, SUVmax and SUVpeak are most often used to determine the glucose metabolism in tumours by 18F-FDG PET/CT. Both metrics can be further normalised to SUVs in reference regions resulting in a SUV ratio (SUVratio). The aim of the study was to directly compare several widely used SUVs/SUVratios with regard to differentiation between common tumours in paediatric patients; a special focus was put on characteristics of reference region SUVs. Methods: The final study population consisted of 61 children and adolescents with diagnoses of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL, n = 25), Hodgkin lymphoma (HL, n = 14), and sarcoma (n = 22). SUV metrics included SUVmax and SUVpeak as well as both parameters normalised to liver and mediastinal blood pool, respectively, yielding the SUVratios SUVmax/liver, SUVmax/mediastinum, SUVpeak/liver, and SUVpeak/mediastinum. Results: The metrics SUVmax, SUVpeak, SUVmax/liver, and SUVpeak/liver all proved to be sensitive for tumour differentiation (p ≤ 0.008); in contrast, SUVmax/mediastinum and SUVpeak/mediastinum revealed to be non-sensitive approaches. Correlation analyses showed inverse associations between reference region SUVs and SUVratios (p < 0.05). Multiple regression analyses demonstrated significant effects of factors as bodyweight and uptake time on reference region SUVs (p < 0.01), and thus indirectly on the corresponding SUVratios. Conclusions: In the paediatric population, the ability to differentiate between common tumours remarkably varies between SUV metrics. When using SUVratios, the choice of reference region is crucial. Factors potentially influencing reference region SUVs (and thus SUVratios) should be taken into account in order to avoid erroneous conclusions. When not possible, SUVmax and SUVpeak represent less complex, more robust alternatives.

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Blautzik, J., Grelich, L., Schramm, N., Henkel, R., Bartenstein, P., & Pfluger, T. (2019). What and how should we measure in paediatric oncology FDG-PET/CT? Comparison of commonly used SUV metrics for differentiation between paediatric tumours. EJNMMI Research, 9(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13550-019-0577-7

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