Thoracic Tumor Volume Delineation in 4D-PET/CT by Low Dose Interpolated CT for Attenuation Correction

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Abstract

Purpose:4D-PET/CT imaging is an excellent solution for reducing the breathing-induced effects in both CT and PET images. In 4D-PET/CT, 4D-CT images are selected to match those of 4D-PET phase by phase and the corresponding phases are used for attenuation correction in 4D-PET. However, the high radiation dose that patients acquire while undergoing 4D-CT imaging for diagnostic purposes remains a concern. This study aims to assess low-dose interpolated CT (ICT) for PET attenuation correction (PETICT) in thoracic tumor volume delineation.Methods and Materials:Twelve thoracic cancer patients (10 esophageal and 2 lung cancer cases) were recruited. All patients underwent 4D-PET/CT scans. The optical flow method based on image intensity gradient was applied to calculate the motion displacement in three dimensions for each voxel on two original extreme CT phases in the respiratory cycle, end-inspiration and end-expiration. The interpolated CTs were generated from two phases of the original 4D-CT using motion displacement.Results:Tumor motion due to respiration was estimated in the anterior-posterior dimension, the lateral dimension and the superior-inferior dimension by the optical flow method. The PETICT and ICT (4D-PET ICT/ICT) matched each other spatially in all the phases. The distortion of tumor shape and size resulting from respiratory motion artifacts were not observed in 4D-PETICT. The tumor volume measured by 4D-PET ICT/ICT correlated to the tumor volume measured by 4D-PET/CT (p = 0.98).Conclusions:4D-PETICT consistently represented the interpretation of FDG uptake as effectively as 4D-PET. 4D-PET ICT/ICT is a low-dose alternative to 4D-CT and significantly improves the interpretation of PET and CT images, while solving the respiratory motion problem as effectively as 4D-PET/CT. © 2013 Huang et al.

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Huang, T. C., Wang, Y. C., & Kao, C. H. (2013). Thoracic Tumor Volume Delineation in 4D-PET/CT by Low Dose Interpolated CT for Attenuation Correction. PLoS ONE, 8(9). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0075903

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