We hypothesized that delineation of gliomas from gray matter with 18F-FDG PET could be improved by extending the interval between 18F-FDG administration and PET data acquisition. The purposes of this study were, first, to analyze standard and delayed 18F-FDG PET images visually and quantitatively to determine whether definition of tumor improved at later imaging times and, second, to investigate the dynamics of model-derived kinetic rate constants, particularly k4.
Methods: Nineteen adult patients with supratentorial gliomas were imaged from 0 to 90 min and once or twice later at 180-480 min after injection. In 15 patients, arterial sampling provided the early input function. Venous sampling provided the remaining curve to the end of the imaging sequence. Standardized uptake value (SUV) was calculated as tissue concentration of tracer per injected tracer dose per body weight. Ratios of tumor SUV relative to the SUV of gray matter, brain (including gray and white matter), or white matter were calculated at each imaging time point. Dynamic image data from tumor, gray matter, brain, or white matter were analyzed using a 2-compartment, 4-parameter model applied for the entire duration of imaging, in which delay, K1, distribution volume, k3, and k4 were optimized using a nonlinear optimization method. Parameter estimation for each region included both an early subset of data from a conventional dynamic imaging period (0-60 min) and the full, extended dataset for each region.
Results: In 12 of the 19 patients, visual analysis showed that the delayed images better distinguished the high uptake in tumors relative to uptake in gray matter. SUV comparisons also showed greater uptake in the tumors than in gray matter, brain, or white matter at the delayed times. The estimated k4 values for tumors were not significantly different from those for gray matter in early imaging analysis but were lower (P < 0.01) using the extended-time data.
Conclusion: The kinetic parameter results confirm the visual and SUV interpretation that tumor enhancement is greater than enhancement of surrounding brain regions at later imaging times, consistent with a greater effect of FDG-6-phosphate degradation on normal brain relative to glioma.