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Radiother Oncol. 2012 Mar;102(3):377-82. doi: 10.1016/j.radonc.2011.12.015. Epub 2012 Jan 20.

Evaluating FDG uptake changes between pre and post therapy respiratory gated PET scans.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.



Whole body (3D) and respiratory gated (4D) FDG-PET/CT scans performed pre-radiotherapy (pre-RT) and post-radiotherapy (post-RT) were analyzed to investigate the impact of 4D PET in evaluating 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) uptake changes due to therapy, relative to traditional 3D PET.


3D and 4D sequential FDG-PET/CT scans were acquired pre-RT and approximately one month post-RT for patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The lesions of high uptake targeted with radiotherapy were identified on the pre-RT scan of each patient. Each lesion on the 3D and each of the five phases of the 4D scan were analyzed using a region of interest (ROI). For each patient the ROIs of the pre-RT scans were used to locate the areas of initial FDG uptake on the post-RT scans following rigid registration. Post-RT ROIs were drawn and the FDG uptake was compared with that of the pre-RT scans.


Sixteen distinct lesions from 12 patients were identified and analyzed. Standardized uptake value (SUV) maxima were significantly higher (p-value <0.005) for the lesions as measured on the 4D compared to 3D PET. Comparison of serial pre and post-RT scans showed a mean 62% decrease in SUV with the 3D PET scan (range 36-89%), and a 67% decrease with the 4D PET scan (range 30-89%). The mean absolute difference in SUV change on 3D versus 4D scans was 4.9%, with a range 0-15% (p-value = 0.07).


Signal recovery with 4D PET results in higher SUVs when compared to standard 3D PET. Consequently, differences in the evaluation of SUV changes between pre and post-RT plans were observed. Such difference can have a significant impact in PET-based response assessment.

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