Objectives: The use of dynamic positron emission tomography/computed tomography (dPET/CT) studies with [18F]deoxyglucose (FDG) in oncological patients is limited and primarily confined to research protocols. A more widespread application is, however, desirable, and may help to assess small therapeutic effects early after therapy as well as to differentiate borderline differences between tumour and non-tumour lesions, e.g., lipomas versus low-grade liposarcomas. The aim is to present quantification approaches that can be used for the evaluation of dPET/CT series in combination with parametric imaging and to demonstrate the feasibility with regard to tumour diagnostics and therapy management.
Methods: A 60-min data acquisition and short acquisition protocols (20-min dynamic series and a static image 60 min post injection) are discussed. A combination of a modified two-tissue compartment model and non-compartmental approaches from the chaos theory (fractal dimension of the time-activity curves) are presented. Fused PET/CT images as well as regression-based parametric images fused with CT or with PET/standardised uptake value images are demonstrated for the exact placement of volumes of interest.
Results: The two-tissue compartmental method results in the calculation of 5 kinetic parameters, the fractional blood volume VB (known also as the distribution volume), and the transport rates k1 to k4. Furthermore, the influx according to Patlak can be calculated from the transport rates. The fractal dimension of the time-activity curves describes the heterogeneity of the tracer distribution. The use of the regression-based parametric images of FDG helps to visualise the transport/perfusion and the transport/phosphorylation-dependent FDG uptake, and adds a new dimension to the existing conventional PET or PET/CT images.
Conclusions: More sophisticated quantification methods and dedicated software as well as high computational power and faster acquisition protocols can facilitate the assessment of dPET/CT, and may find use in clinical routine, in particular for the assessment of early therapeutic effects or new treatment protocols in combination with the new generation of PET/CT scanners.