Evaluation of quantitative imaging methods for organ activity and residence time estimation using a population of phantoms having realistic variations in anatomy and uptake
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Estimating organ residence times is an essential part of patient-specific dosimetry for radioimmunotherapy (RIT). Quantitative imaging methods for RIT are often evaluated using a single physical or simulated phantom but are intended to be applied clinically where there is variability in patient anatomy, biodistribution, and biokinetics. To provide a more relevant evaluation, the authors have thus developed a population of phantoms with realistic variations in these factors and applied it to the evaluation of quantitative imaging methods both to find the best method and to demonstrate the effects of these variations. Using whole body scans and SPECT/CT images, organ shapes and time-activity curves of 111In ibritumomab tiuxetan were measured in dosimetrically important organs in seven patients undergoing a high dose therapy regimen. Based on these measurements, we created a 3D NURBS-based cardiac-torso (NCAT)-based phantom population. SPECT and planar data at realistic count levels were then simulated using previously validated Monte Carlo simulation tools. The projections from the population were used to evaluate the accuracy and variation in accuracy of residence time estimation methods that used a time series of SPECT and planar scans, Quantitative SPECT (QSPECT) reconstruction methods were used that compensated for attenuation, scatter, and the collimator-detector response. Planar images were processed with a conventional (CPlanar) method that used geometric mean attenuation and triple-energy window scatter compensation and a quantitative planar (QPlanar) processing method that used model-based compensation for image degrading effects. Residence times were estimated from activity estimates made at each of five time points. The authors also evaluated hybrid methods that used CPlanar or QPlanar time-activity curves rescaled to the activity estimated from a single QSPECT image. The methods were evaluated in terms of mean relative error and standard deviation of the relative error in the residence time estimates taken over the phantom population. The mean errors in the residence time estimates over all the organs were < 9.9% (pure QSPECT), < 13.2% (pure QPLanar), < 7.2% (hybrid QPlanar/QSPECT), < 19.2% (hybrid CPlanar/QSPECT), and 7%-159% (pure CPlanar). The standard deviations of the errors for all the organs over all the phantoms were < 9.9%, < 11.9%, < 10.8%, < 22.0%, and < 107.9% for the same methods, respectively. The processing methods differed both in terms of their average accuracy and the variation of the accuracy over the population of phantoms, thus demonstrating the importance of using a phantom population in evaluating quantitative imaging methods. Hybrid CPlanar/QSPECT provided improved accuracy compared to pure CPlanar and required the addition of only a single SPECT acquisition. The QPlanar or hybrid QPlanar/QSPECT methods had mean errors and standard deviations of errors that approached those of pure QSPECT while providing simplified image acquisition protocols, and thus may be more clinically practical.
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