Differentiation of Metabolically Distinct Areas within Head and Neck Region using Dynamic 18F-FDG Positron Emission Tomography Imaging
Din, Mueez U. (2014-01-28)
Din, Mueez U.
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Positron Emission Tomography (PET) using 18F-FDG is playing a vital role in the diagnosis and treatment planning of cancer. However, the most widely used radiotracer, 18F-FDG, is not specific for tumours and can also accumulate in inflammatory lesions as well as normal physiologically active tissues making diagnosis and treatment planning complicated for the physicians. Malignant, inflammatory and normal tissues are known to have different pathways for glucose metabolism which could possibly be evident from different characteristics of the time activity curves from a dynamic PET acquisition protocol. Therefore, we aimed to develop new image analysis methods, for PET scans of the head and neck region, which could differentiate between inflammation, tumour and normal tissues using this functional information within these radiotracer uptake areas. We developed different dynamic features from the time activity curves of voxels in these areas and compared them with the widely used static parameter, SUV, using Gaussian Mixture Model algorithm as well as K-means algorithm in order to assess their effectiveness in discriminating metabolically different areas. Moreover, we also correlated dynamic features with other clinical metrics obtained independently of PET imaging. The results show that some of the developed features can prove to be useful in differentiating tumour tissues from inflammatory regions and some dynamic features also provide positive correlations with clinical metrics. If these proposed methods are further explored then they can prove to be useful in reducing false positive tumour detections and developing real world applications for tumour diagnosis and contouring.