Reproducibility of Lobar Perfusion and Ventilation Quantification Using SPECT/CT Segmentation Software in Lung Cancer Patients

J Nucl Med Technol. 2017 Sep;45(3):185-192. doi: 10.2967/jnmt.117.191056. Epub 2017 Apr 13.


Planar perfusion scintigraphy with 99mTc-labeled macroaggregated albumin is often used for pretherapy quantification of regional lung perfusion in lung cancer patients, particularly those with poor respiratory function. However, subdividing lung parenchyma into rectangular regions of interest, as done on planar images, is a poor reflection of true lobar anatomy. New tridimensional methods using SPECT and SPECT/CT have been introduced, including semiautomatic lung segmentation software. The present study evaluated inter- and intraobserver agreement on quantification using SPECT/CT software and compared the results for regional lung contribution obtained with SPECT/CT and planar scintigraphy. Methods: Thirty lung cancer patients underwent ventilation-perfusion scintigraphy with 99mTc-macroaggregated albumin and 99mTc-Technegas. The regional lung contribution to perfusion and ventilation was measured on both planar scintigraphy and SPECT/CT using semiautomatic lung segmentation software by 2 observers. Interobserver and intraobserver agreement for the SPECT/CT software was assessed using the intraclass correlation coefficient, Bland-Altman plots, and absolute differences in measurements. Measurements from planar and tridimensional methods were compared using the paired-sample t test and mean absolute differences. Results: Intraclass correlation coefficients were in the excellent range (above 0.9) for both interobserver and intraobserver agreement using the SPECT/CT software. Bland-Altman analyses showed very narrow limits of agreement. Absolute differences were below 2.0% in 96% of both interobserver and intraobserver measurements. There was a statistically significant difference between planar and SPECT/CT methods (P < 0.001) for quantification of perfusion and ventilation for all right lung lobes, with a maximal mean absolute difference of 20.7% for the right middle lobe. There was no statistically significant difference in quantification of perfusion and ventilation for the left lung lobes using either method; however, absolute differences reached 12.0%. The total right and left lung contributions were similar for the two methods, with a mean difference of 1.2% for perfusion and 2.0% for ventilation. Conclusion: Quantification of regional lung perfusion and ventilation using SPECT/CT-based lung segmentation software is highly reproducible. This tridimensional method yields statistically significant differences in measurements for right lung lobes when compared with planar scintigraphy. We recommend that SPECT/CT-based quantification be used for all lung cancer patients undergoing pretherapy evaluation of regional lung function.

Keywords: SPECT/CT; lobar quantification; pulmonary perfusion; pulmonary ventilation; scintigraphy.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Algorithms
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung / physiopathology
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lung Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pattern Recognition, Automated / methods
  • Perfusion Imaging / methods
  • Pulmonary Circulation*
  • Pulmonary Ventilation*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography Computed Tomography / methods*
  • Software*