This study assesses the accuracy of prospective phase-gated PET/CT data binning and presents a retrospective data binning method that improves image quality and consistency. Respiratory signals from 17 patients who underwent 4D PET/CT were analysed to evaluate the reproducibility of temporal triggers used for the standard phase-based gating method. Breathing signals were reprocessed to implement retrospective PET data binning. The mean and standard deviation of time lags between automatic triggers provided by the Real-time Position Management (RPM, Varian) gating device and inhalation peaks derived from respiratory curves were computed for each patient. The total number of respiratory cycles available for 4D PET/CT according to the binning mode (prospective versus retrospective) was compared. The maximum standardized uptake value (SUVmax), biological tumour volume (BTV) and tumour trajectory measures were determined from the PET/CT images of five patients. Compared to retrospective binning (RB), prospective gating approach led to (i) a significant loss in breathing cycles (15%) and (ii) the inconsistency of data binning due to temporal dispersion of triggers (average 396 ms). Consequently, tumour characterization could be impacted. In retrospective mode, SUVmax was up to 27% higher, where no significant difference appeared in BTV. In addition, prospective mode gave an inconsistent spatial location of the tumour throughout the bins. Improved consistency with breathing patterns and greater motion amplitude of the tumour centroid were observed with retrospective mode. The detection of the tumour motion and trajectory was improved also for small temporal dispersion of triggers. This study shows that the binning mode could have a significant impact on 4D PET images. The consistency of triggers with breathing signals should be checked before clinical use of gated PET/CT images, and our RB method improves 4D PET/CT image quantification.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging