The 6th annual meeting to address key issues in positron emission tomography (PET)/magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was held again in Tübingen, Germany, from March 27 to 29, 2017. Over three days of invited plenary lectures, round table discussions and dialogue board deliberations, participants critically assessed the current state of PET/MRI, both clinically and as a research tool, and attempted to chart future directions. The meeting addressed the use of PET/MRI and workflows in oncology, neurosciences, infection, inflammation and chronic pain syndromes, as well as deeper discussions about how best to characterise the tumour microenvironment, optimise the complementary information available from PET and MRI, and how advanced data mining and bioinformatics, as well as information from liquid biomarkers (circulating tumour cells and nucleic acids) and pathology, can be integrated to give a more complete characterisation of disease phenotype. Some issues that have dominated previous meetings, such as the accuracy of MR-based attenuation correction (AC) of the PET scan, were finally put to rest as having been adequately addressed for the majority of clinical situations. Likewise, the ability to standardise PET systems for use in multicentre trials was confirmed, thus removing a perceived barrier to larger clinical imaging trials. The meeting openly questioned whether PET/MRI should, in all cases, be used as a whole-body imaging modality or whether in many circumstances it would best be employed to give an in-depth study of previously identified disease in a single organ or region. The meeting concluded that there is still much work to be done in the integration of data from different fields and in developing a common language for all stakeholders involved. In addition, the participants advocated joint training and education for individuals who engage in routine PET/MRI. It was agreed that PET/MRI can enhance our understanding of normal and disrupted biology, and we are in a position to describe the in vivo nature of disease processes, metabolism, evolution of cancer and the monitoring of response to pharmacological interventions and therapies. As such, PET/MRI is a key to advancing medicine and patient care.
Keywords: Hybrid imaging; Infection; Inflammation; MR-PET; MRI; Molecular imaging; Multi-parametric imaging; Neurology; Oncology; PET; PET/CT; PET/MRI; Quantification.