Progress in SPECT/CT Imaging of Prostate Cancer

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Abstract

Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer (other than skin cancer) among men in the United States. Although prostate cancer is one of the few cancers that grow so slowly that it may never threaten the lives of some patients, it can be lethal once metastasized. Indium-111 capromab pendetide (ProstaScint®, Cytogen Corporation, Princeton, NJ) imaging is indicated for staging and recurrence detection of the disease, and is particularly useful to determine whether or not the disease has spread to distant metastatic sites. However, the interpretation of 111 In-capromab pendetide is challenging without correlated structural information mostly because the radiopharmaceutical demonstrates nonspecific uptake in the normal vasculature, bowel, bone marrow, and the prostate gland. We developed an improved method of imaging and localizing 111 In-Capromab pendetide using a SPECT/CT imaging system. The specific goals included: i) development and application of a novel iterative SPECT reconstruction algorithm that utilizes a priori information from coregistered CT; and ii) assessment of clinical impact of adding SPECT/CT for prostate cancer imaging with capromab pendetide utilizing the standard and novel reconstruction techniques.

Patient imaging studies with capromab pendetide were performed from 1999 to 2004 using two different SPECT/CT scanners, a prototype SPECT/CT system and a commercial SPECT/CT system (Discovery VH, GE Healthcare, Waukesha, WI). SPECT projection data from both systems were reconstructed using an experimental iterative algorithm that compensates for both photon attenuation and collimator blurring. In addition, the data obtained from the commercial system were reconstructed with attenuation correction using an OSEM reconstruction supplied by the camera manufacturer for routine clinical interpretation. For 12 sets of patient data, SPECT images reconstructed using the experimental algorithm were interpreted separately and compared with interpretation of images obtained using the standard reconstruction technique. The experimental reconstruction algorithm improved spatial resolution, reduced streak artifacts, and yielded a better correlation with anatomic details of CT in comparison to conventional reconstruction methods (e.g., filtered back-projection or OSEM with attenuation correction only). Images produced with the experimental algorithm produced a subjective improvement in the confidence of interpretation for 11 of 12 studies. There were also changes in interpretations for 4 of 12 studies although the changes were not sufficient to alter prognosis or the patient treatment plan.

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