We developed a technique that allows the routine integration of PET in stereotactic neurosurgery, including radiosurgery. We report our clinical experience with the combined use of metabolic (i.e., PET) and anatomic (i.e., MRI and CT) images for the radiosurgical treatment of brain tumors. We propose a classification describing the relative role of the information provided by PET in this multimodality image-guided approach.
Methods: Between December 1999 and March 2003, 57 patients had stereotactic PET as part of their image acquisition for the planning of gamma knife radiosurgery. Together with stereotactic MRI and CT, stereotactic PET images were acquired on the same day using either (18)F-FDG or (11)C-methionine. PET images were imported in the planning software for the radiosurgery dosimetry, and the target volume was defined using the combined information of PET and MRI or CT. To analyze the specific contribution of the PET findings, we propose a classification that reflects the strategy used to define the target volume.
Results: The patients were offered radiosurgery with PET guidance when their tumor was ill-defined and we anticipated some limitation of target definition on MRI alone. This represents 10% of the radiosurgery procedures performed in our center during the same period of time. There were 40 primary brain lesions, 7 metastases, and 10 pituitary adenomas. Abnormal PET uptake was found in 62 of 72 targets (86%), and this information altered significantly the MRI-defined tumor in 43 targets (69%).
Conclusion: The integration of PET in radiosurgery provides additional information that opens new perspectives for the optimization of the treatment of brain tumors.