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4D-PET Maximum Intensity Projections Improve Accuracy of Mobile Tumor Volume Delineation

S Jani

S Jani1*, J Lamb1, M Dahlbom1, C Robinson2, B White1, D Low1, (1) University of California, Los Angeles, (2) Washington University School of Medicine

WE-G-213CD-2 Wednesday 4:30:00 PM - 6:00:00 PM Room: 213CD

Purpose: To examine the efficacy and accuracy of respiratory-gated positron emission tomography (4D-PET) maximum intensity projections (MIPs) in segmenting mobile tumor internal target volumes (ITVs) through a phantom study.

Methods: An acrylic phantom was used for PET list-mode acquisition, consisting of 11C-filled spheres affixed inside a cylinder containing an 18-fluorodeoxyglucose solution. The phantom was attached to a robotic arm that underwent 1D motion based on clinically-derived patient breathing trajectories. An amplitude-based gating was performed on sequential list-mode sub-files of varying signal-to-background ratios, and PET-MIPs were generated from the gated images. ITVs were segmented by first denoising and deblurring images using a custom post-processing module and then applying an absolute SUV threshold. ITV accuracy was assessed using the volume recovery fraction (VRF) - the ratio of measured ITV to true volume occupied by the moving phantom spheres - which was used to compare PET-MIP, ungated PET, and static sphere images. In addition, the effects of tumor trajectories, number of gating windows, and margin additions were investigated.

Results: VRFs of ITVs generated from PET-MIPs were consistently higher than those from ungated PET. They also demonstrated a closer agreement to VRFs of static spheres (up to 99% similarity vs. 72% for ungated PET), suggesting that tumor motion had very little effect on the accuracy of PET-MIP measurements. Trajectories with higher amplitude and baseline drift decreased VRF by up to 14% for both PET-MIP and ungated PET. Increasing the number of gating windows (up to eight windows) resulted in higher VRFs for PET-MIPs without producing excessive image noise. PET-MIPs required a smaller margin addition than ungated PET to achieve a better overlap with the ground truth ITV.

Conclusions: Compared to ungated PET, PET-MIPs are not significantly affected by tumor motion. 4D-PET imaging is a promising and viable methodology to better delineate mobile tumor volumes.

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