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Iodine-123 α-methyl tyrosine single-photon emission tomography of cerebral gliomas: standardised evaluation of tumour uptake and extent

  • Single-photon emission tomography (SPET) with the amino acid analogue l-3-[123I]iodo-α-methyl tyrosine (IMT) is helpful in the diagnosis and monitoring of cerebral gliomas. Radiolabelled amino acids seem to reflect tumour infiltration more specifically than conventional methods like magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography. Automatic tumour delineation based on maximal tumour uptake may cause an overestimation of mean tumour uptake and an underestimation of tumour extension in tumours with circumscribed peaks. The aim of this study was to develop a program for tumour delineation and calculation of mean tumour uptake which takes into account the mean background activity and is thus optimised to the problem of tumour definition in IMT SPET. Using the frequency distribution of pixel intensities of the tomograms a program was developed which automatically detects a reference brain region and draws an isocontour region around the tumour taking into account mean brain radioactivity. Tumour area and tumour/brain ratios were calculated. A three-compartment phantom was simulated to test the program. The program was applied to IMT SPET studies of 20 patients with cerebral gliomas and was compared to the results of manual analysis by three different investigators. Activity ratios and chamber extension of the phantom were correctly calculated by the automatic analysis. A method based on image maxima alone failed to determine chamber extension correctly. Manual region of interest analysis in patient studies resulted in a mean inter-observer standard deviation of 8.7%±6.1% (range 2.7%–25.0%). The mean value of the results of the manual analysis showed a significant correlation to the results of the automatic analysis (r = 0.91, P<0.0001 for the uptake ratio; r = 0.87, P<0.0001 for the tumour area). We conclude that the algorithm proposed simplifies the calculation of uptake ratios and may be used for observer-independent evaluation of IMT SPET studies. Three-dimensional tumour recognition and transfer to co-registered morphological images based on this program may be useful for the planning of surgical and radiation treatment.

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Author:Martin Weckesser, Martin Grießmeier, Daniela Schmidt, Frank Sonnenberg, Karl Ziemons, Lars Kemna, Marcus Holschbach, Karl-J. Langen, Hans-W. Müller-Gärtner
Parent Title (English):European Journal of Nuclear Medicine
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:1998
Date of the Publication (Server):2013/01/28
First Page:150
Last Page:156
Institutes:FH Aachen / Fachbereich Medizintechnik und Technomathematik