Our aim was to introduce and validate qPSMA, a semiautomatic software package for whole-body tumor burden assessment in prostate cancer patients using 68Ga-prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) 11 PET/CT. Methods: qPSMA reads hybrid PET/CT images in DICOM format. Its pipeline was written using Python and C++ languages. A bone mask based on CT and a normal-uptake mask including organs with physiologic 68Ga-PSMA11 uptake are automatically computed. An SUV threshold of 3 and a liver-based threshold are used to segment bone and soft-tissue lesions, respectively. Manual corrections can be applied using different tools. Multiple output parameters are computed, that is, PSMA ligand-positive tumor volume (PSMA-TV), PSMA ligand-positive total lesion (PSMA-TL), PSMA SUVmean, and PSMA SUVmax Twenty 68Ga-PSMA11 PET/CT data sets were used to validate and evaluate the performance characteristics of qPSMA. Four analyses were performed: validation of the semiautomatic algorithm for liver background activity determination, assessment of intra- and interobserver variability, validation of data from qPSMA by comparison with Syngo.via, and assessment of computational time and comparison of PSMA PET-derived parameters with serum prostate-specific antigen. Results: Automatic liver background calculation resulted in a mean relative difference of 0.74% (intraclass correlation coefficient [ICC], 0.996; 95%CI, 0.989;0.998) compared with METAVOL. Intra- and interobserver variability analyses showed high agreement (all ICCs > 0.990). Quantitative output parameters were compared for 68 lesions. Paired t testing showed no significant differences between the values obtained with the 2 software packages. The ICC estimates obtained for PSMA-TV, PSMA-TL, SUVmean, and SUVmax were 1.000 (95%CI, 1.000;1.000), 1.000 (95%CI, 1.000;1.000), 0.995 (95%CI, 0.992;0.997), and 0.999 (95%CI, 0.999;1.000), respectively. The first and second reads for intraobserver variability resulted in mean computational times of 13.63 min (range, 8.22-25.45 min) and 9.27 min (range, 8.10-12.15 min), respectively (P = 0.001). Highly significant correlations were found between serum prostate-specific antigen value and both PSMA-TV (r = 0.72, P < 0.001) and PSMA-TL (r = 0.66, P = 0.002). Conclusion: Semiautomatic analyses of whole-body tumor burden in 68Ga-PSMA11 PET/CT is feasible. qPSMA is a robust software package that can help physicians quantify tumor load in heavily metastasized prostate cancer patients.
Keywords: PET/CT; PSMA; qPSMA; tumor segmentation.
© 2019 by the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging.
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