Objective: To demonstrate that positron emission tomography (PET)/magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) fusion was feasible in characterizing pancreatic tumors (PTs), comparing MRI and computed tomography (CT) as mapping images for fusion with PET as well as fused PET/MRI and PET/CT.
Methods: We retrospectively reviewed 47 sets of (18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose ((18)F -FDG) PET/CT and MRI examinations to evaluate suspected or known pancreatic cancer. To assess the ability of mapping images for fusion with PET, CT (of PET/CT), T1- and T2-weighted (w) MR images (all non-contrast) were graded regarding the visibility of PT (5-point confidence scale). Fused PET/CT, PET/T1-w or T2-w MR images of the upper abdomen were evaluated to determine whether mapping images provided additional diagnostic information to PET alone (3-point scale). The overall quality of PET/CT or PET/MRI sets in diagnosis was also assessed (3-point scale). These PET/MRI-related scores were compared to PET/CT-related scores and the accuracy in characterizing PTs was compared.
Results: Forty-three PTs were visualized on CT or MRI, including 30 with abnormal FDG uptake and 13 without. The confidence score for the visibility of PT was significantly higher on T1-w MRI than CT. The scores for additional diagnostic information to PET and overall quality of each image set in diagnosis were significantly higher on the PET/T1-w MRI set than the PET/CT set. The diagnostic accuracy was higher on PET/T1-w or PET/T2-w MRI (93.0 and 90.7%, respectively) than PET/CT (88.4%), but statistical significance was not obtained.
Conclusion: PET/MRI fusion, especially PET with T1-w MRI, was demonstrated to be superior to PET/CT in characterizing PTs, offering better mapping and fusion image quality.