223Ra is an alpha particle emitter that targets areas of increased bone turnover in bone metastases. Alpha particles account for 95% of the 27.8 MeV emitted per decay. Less than 2% of the emissions are from photons. This means that a high absorbed dose will be delivered locally, although the number of photons for imaging will be low. The purpose of this study was to investigate the possibility of quantitative imaging of 223Ra to enable biodistribution studies.Methods
A Philips Forte gamma camera, equipped with a medium-energy collimator, was used. Basic imaging parameters were determined from phantom studies, and the accuracy of activity quantification was tested in a phantom study and within a patient study.Results
Imaging parameters were determined for the three most suitable photon peaks from the acquired energy spectrum (82, 154 and 270 keV). Camera sensitivity is constant for circular sources with areas greater than 10 cm2. The spatial resolution (full-width at half-maximum) was 1.1 cm for each of the three energy windows. The possibility for quantitative imaging was further investigated for the 82 keV energy window, which showed the highest sensitivity and spatial resolution. A phantom study showed that activity could be quantified to within 10% for a 200 ml volume placed within water containing background activity and to within 50% for a 0.5 ml phantom. Quantification of activity in bone after administrations of 100 kBq/kg of 223Ra-chloride proved the feasibility of quantitative imaging of patients who have received radionuclide therapy.Conclusion
Because of the high-energy deposition of 223Ra, only a low injected activity is required for therapy, which results in a low count rate for the gamma camera. Nevertheless, this study has demonstrated that it is possible to quantify uptake with a sufficient degree of accuracy to obtain clinically relevant information.