Deep learning based attenuation correction of PET/MRI in pediatric brain tumor patients: Evaluation in a clinical setting

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Aim: Positron emission tomography (PET) imaging is a useful tool for assisting in correct differentiation of tumor progression from reactive changes. O-(2-18F-fluoroethyl)-L-tyrosine (FET)-PET in combination with MRI can add valuable information for clinical decision making. Acquiring FET-PET/MRI simultaneously allows for a one-stop-shop that limits the need for a second sedation or anesthesia as with PET and MRI in sequence. PET/MRI is challenged by lack of a direct measure of photon attenuation. Accepted solutions for attenuation correction (AC) might not be applicable to pediatrics. The aim of this study was to evaluate the use of the subject-specific MR-derived AC method RESOLUTE, modified to a pediatric cohort, against the performance of an MR-AC technique based on deep learning in a pediatric brain tumor cohort. Methods: The modifications to RESOLUTE and the implementation of a deep learning method were performed using 79 pediatric patient examinations. We analyzed the 36 of these with active brain tumor area above 1 mL. We measured background (B), tumor mean and maximal activity (TMEAN, TMAX), biological tumor volume (BTV), and calculated the clinical metrics TMEAN/B and TMAX/B. Results: Overall, we found both RESOLUTE and our DeepUTE methodologies to accurately reproduce the CT-AC clinical metrics. Regardless of age, both methods were able to obtain AC maps similar to the CT-AC, albeit with DeepUTE producing the most similar based on both quantitative metrics and visual inspection. In the patient-by-patient analysis DeepUTE was the only technique with all patients inside the predefined acceptable clinical limits. It also had a higher precision with relative %-difference to the reference CT-AC (TMAX/B mean: -0.1%, CI: [-0.8%, 0.5%], p = 0.54) compared to RESOLUTE (TMAX/B mean: 0.3%, CI: [-0.6%, 1.2%], p = 0.67) and DIXON-AC (TMAX/B mean: 5.9%, CI: [4.5%, 7.4%], p < 0.0001). Conclusion: Overall, we found DeepUTE to be the AC method that most robustly reproduced the CT-AC clinical metrics per se, closely followed by RESOLUTE modified to pediatric cohorts. The added accuracy due to better noise handling of DeepUTE, ease of use, as well as the improved runtime makes DeepUTE the method of choice for PET/MRI attenuation correction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1005
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
Issue numberJAN
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Research areas

  • Attenuation correction, Bone density, Brain tumors, Deep learning, Pediatric, PET/MRI, RESOLUTE

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