Correction for partial volume effects in PET imaging
The limited spatial resolution in positron emission tomography (PET) images leads to difficulties to measure correct uptake in tumours. This is called partial volume effects (PVE) and can lead to serious bias, especially for small tumours. Correct uptake values are valuable for evaluating therapies and can be used as a tool for treatment planning. The purpose of this project was to evaluate two methods for compensating for PVE. Also, a method for tumour delineation in PET-images was evaluated. The methods were used on images reconstructed with two algorithms, VUE-point HD (VP HD) and VP SharpIR. The evaluation was performed using a phantom including fillable spheres which were used to simulate tumours of different sizes.
The first method used for PVE compensation was an iterative deconvolution method which to some degree restores the spatial resolution in the images. The tumour uptake was measured with volumes of interest (VOIs) based on a percentage of the maximum voxel value.
The second method was to use recovery coefficients (RCs) as correction factors for the measured activity concentrations. These were calculated by convolving binary images of tumours with the point spread function (PSF). The binary images were achieved both from computed tomography (CT) images and from PET images with a threshold method for tumour delineation. The threshold method was based on both tumour activity and background activity, and was also compared with a conventional threshold technique.
The results showed that images reconstructed with VP SharpIR can be used for activity concentration measurements with good precision for tumours larger than 13mm diameter. Smaller tumours benefit from RCs correction. The threshold method for tumour delineation showed substantially better results compared to the conventional threshold method.
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