Impact of respiratory motion correction on lesion visibility and quantification in thoracic PET/MR imaging

PLoS One. 2020 Jun 4;15(6):e0233209. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0233209. eCollection 2020.


The impact of a method for MR-based respiratory motion correction of PET data on lesion visibility and quantification in patients with oncologic findings in the lung was evaluated. Twenty patients with one or more lesions in the lung were included. Hybrid imaging was performed on an integrated PET/MR system using 18F-FDG as radiotracer. The standard thoracic imaging protocol was extended by a free-breathing self-gated acquisition of MR data for motion modelling. PET data was acquired simultaneously in list-mode for 5-10 mins. One experienced radiologist and one experienced nuclear medicine specialist evaluated and compared the post-processed data in consensus regarding lesion visibility (scores 1-4, 4 being best), image noise levels (scores 1-3, 3 being lowest noise), SUVmean and SUVmax. Motion-corrected (MoCo) images were additionally compared with gated images. Non-motion-corrected free-breathing data served as standard of reference in this study. Motion correction generally improved lesion visibility (3.19 ± 0.63) and noise ratings (2.95 ± 0.22) compared to uncorrected (2.81 ± 0.66 and 2.95 ± 0.22, respectively) or gated PET data (2.47 ± 0.93 and 1.30 ± 0.47, respectively). Furthermore, SUVs (mean and max) were compared for all methods to estimate their respective impact on the quantification. Deviations of SUVmax were smallest between the uncorrected and the MoCo lesion data (average increase of 9.1% of MoCo SUVs), while SUVmean agreed best for gated and MoCo reconstructions (MoCo SUVs increased by 1.2%). The studied method for MR-based respiratory motion correction of PET data combines increased lesion sharpness and improved lesion activity quantification with high signal-to-noise ratio in a clinical setting. In particular, the detection of small lesions in moving organs such as the lung and liver may thus be facilitated. These advantages justify the extension of the PET/MR imaging protocol by 5-10 minutes for motion correction.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Artifacts*
  • Female
  • Fluorine Radioisotopes
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lung / physiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motion*
  • Multimodal Imaging / methods*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Respiratory Mechanics*


  • Fluorine Radioisotopes
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Fluorine-18

Grant support

This work was supported by a research agreement between the University Hospital Essen and Siemens Healthcare GmbH. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.