Reproducibility of MR-Based Attenuation Maps in PET/MRI and the Impact on PET Quantification in Lung Cancer

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Anders Olin, Claes N Ladefoged, Natasha H Langer, Sune H Keller, Johan Löfgren, Adam E Hansen, Andreas Kjær, Seppo W Langer, Barbara M Fischer, Flemming L Andersen

Quantitative PET/MRI is dependent on reliable and reproducible MR-based attenuation correction (MR-AC). In this study, we evaluated the quality of current vendor-provided thoracic MR-AC maps and further investigated the reproducibility of their impact on 18F-FDG PET quantification in patients with non-small cell lung cancer. Methods: Eleven patients with inoperable non-small cell lung cancer underwent 2-5 thoracic PET/MRI scan-rescan examinations within 22 d. 18F-FDG PET data were acquired along with 2 Dixon MR-AC maps for each examination. Two PET images (PETA and PETB) were reconstructed using identical PET emission data but with MR-AC from these intrasubject repeated attenuation maps. In total, 90 MR-AC maps were evaluated visually for quality and the occurrence of categorized artifacts by 2 PET/MRI-experienced physicians. Each tumor was outlined by a volume of interest (40% isocontour of maximum) on PETA, which was then projected onto the corresponding PETB SUVmean and SUVmax were assessed from the PET images. Within-examination coefficients of variation and Bland-Altman analyses were conducted for the assessment of SUV variations between PETA and PETBResults: Image artifacts were observed in 86% of the MR-AC maps, and 30% of the MR-AC maps were subjectively expected to affect the tumor SUV. SUVmean and SUVmax resulted in coefficients of variation of 5.6% and 6.6%, respectively, and scan-rescan SUV variations were within ±20% in 95% of the cases. Substantial SUV variations were seen mainly for scan-rescan examinations affected by respiratory motion. Conclusion: Artifacts occur frequently in standard thoracic MR-AC maps, affecting the reproducibility of PET/MRI. These, in combination with other well-known sources of error associated with PET/MRI examinations, lead to inconsistent SUV measurements in serial studies, which may affect the reliability of therapy response assessment. A thorough visual inspection of the thoracic MR-AC map and Dixon images from which it is derived remains crucial for the detection of MR-AC artifacts that may influence the reliability of SUV.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Journal of Nuclear Medicine
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)999-1004
Publication statusPublished - 2018

ID: 216461761