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In European journal of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging ; h5-index 66.0

PURPOSE : Tendency is to moderate the injected activity and/or reduce acquisition time in PET examinations to minimize potential radiation hazards and increase patient comfort. This work aims to assess the performance of regular full-dose (FD) synthesis from fast/low-dose (LD) whole-body (WB) PET images using deep learning techniques.

METHODS : Instead of using synthetic LD scans, two separate clinical WB 18F-Fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG) PET/CT studies of 100 patients were acquired: one regular FD (~ 27 min) and one fast or LD (~ 3 min) consisting of 1/8th of the standard acquisition time. A modified cycle-consistent generative adversarial network (CycleGAN) and residual neural network (ResNET) models, denoted as CGAN and RNET, respectively, were implemented to predict FD PET images. The quality of the predicted PET images was assessed by two nuclear medicine physicians. Moreover, the diagnostic quality of the predicted PET images was evaluated using a pass/fail scheme for lesion detectability task. Quantitative analysis using established metrics including standardized uptake value (SUV) bias was performed for the liver, left/right lung, brain, and 400 malignant lesions from the test and evaluation datasets.

RESULTS : CGAN scored 4.92 and 3.88 (out of 5) (adequate to good) for brain and neck + trunk, respectively. The average SUV bias calculated over normal tissues was 3.39 ± 0.71% and - 3.83 ± 1.25% for CGAN and RNET, respectively. Bland-Altman analysis reported the lowest SUV bias (0.01%) and 95% confidence interval of - 0.36, + 0.47 for CGAN compared with the reference FD images for malignant lesions.

CONCLUSION : CycleGAN is able to synthesize clinical FD WB PET images from LD images with 1/8th of standard injected activity or acquisition time. The predicted FD images present almost similar performance in terms of lesion detectability, qualitative scores, and quantification bias and variance.

Sanaat Amirhossein, Shiri Isaac, Arabi Hossein, Mainta Ismini, Nkoulou René, Zaidi Habib


Deep learning, Lesion detectability, Low-dose imaging, PET/CT, Whole-body imaging