We prospectively evaluated whether a strategy using point spread function (PSF) reconstruction for both diagnostic and quantitative analysis in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients meets the European Association of Nuclear Medicine (EANM) guidelines for harmonization of quantitative values.
The NEMA NU-2 phantom was used to determine the optimal filter to apply to PSF-reconstructed images in order to obtain recovery coefficients (RCs) fulfilling the EANM guidelines for tumour positron emission tomography (PET) imaging (PSF EANM). PET data of 52 consecutive NSCLC patients were reconstructed with unfiltered PSF reconstruction (PSF allpass), PSF EANM and with a conventional ordered subset expectation maximization (OSEM) algorithm known to meet EANM guidelines. To mimic a situation in which a patient would undergo pre- and post-therapy PET scans on different generation PET systems, standardized uptake values (SUVs) for OSEM reconstruction were compared to SUVs for PSF EANM and PSF allpass reconstruction.
Overall, in 195 lesions, Bland-Altman analysis demonstrated that the mean ratio between PSF EANM and OSEM data was 1.03 [95 % confidence interval (CI) 0.94–1.12] and 1.02 (95 % CI 0.90–1.14) for SUV max and SUV mean, respectively. No difference was noticed when analysing lesions based on their size and location or on patient body habitus and image noise. Ten patients (84 lesions) underwent two PET scans for response monitoring. Using the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) criteria, there was an almost perfect agreement between OSEM PET1/OSEM PET2 (current standard) and OSEM PET1/PSF EANM-PET2 or PSF EANM-PET1/OSEM PET2 with kappa values of 0.95 (95 % CI 0.91–1.00) and 0.99 (95 % CI 0.96–1.00), respectively. The use of PSF allpass either for pre- or post-treatment (i.e. OSEM PET1/PSF allpass-PET2 or PSF allpass-PET1/OSEM PET2) showed considerably less agreement with kappa values of 0.75 (95 % CI 0.67–0.83) and 0.86 (95 % CI 0.78–0.94), respectively.
Protocol-optimized images and compliance with EANM guidelines allowed for a reliable pre- and post-therapy evaluation when using different generation PET systems. These data obtained in NSCLC patients could be extrapolated to other solid tumours.