Purpose: Texture indices (TI) calculated from 18F-FDG PET tumor images show promise for predicting response to therapy and survival. Their calculation involves a resampling of standardized uptake values (SUV) within the tumor. This resampling can be performed differently and significantly impacts the TI values. Our aim was to investigate how the resampling approach affects the ability of TI to reflect tissue-specific pattern of metabolic activity.
Methods: 18F-FDG PET were acquired for 48 naïve-treatment patients with non-small cell lung cancer and for a uniform phantom. We studied 7 TI, SUVmax and metabolic volume (MV) in the phantom, tumors and healthy tissue using the usual relative resampling (RR) method and an absolute resampling (AR) method. The differences in TI values between tissue types and cancer subtypes were investigated using Wilcoxon's tests.
Results: Most RR-based TI were highly correlated with MV for tumors less than 60 mL (Spearman correlation coefficient r between 0.74 and 1), while this correlation was reduced for AR-based TI (r between 0.06 and 0.27 except for RLNU where r = 0.91). Most AR-based TI were significantly different between tumor and healthy tissues (pvalues <0.01 for all 7 TI) and between cancer subtypes (pvalues<0.05 for 6 TI). Healthy tissue and adenocarcinomas exhibited more homogeneous texture than tumor tissue and squamous cell carcinomas respectively.
Conclusion: TI computed using an AR method vary as a function of the tissue type and cancer subtype more than the TI involving the usual RR method. AR-based TI might be useful for tumor characterization.