Positron emission tomography (PET) using 18F-fluordeoxyglucose (F-FDG) is an established imaging modality for tumor staging in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). There is a growing interest in using F-FDG PET for therapy response assessment in NSCLC which relies on quantitative PET parameters such as standardized uptake values (SUV). Different reconstruction algorithms in PET may affect SUV. We sought to determine the variation of SUV in patients with NSCLC when using ordered subset expectation maximization (OSEM) and block sequential regularized expectation maximization (BSREM) in latest-generation digital PET/CT, including a subanalysis for adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.
A total of 58 patients (34 = adenocarcinoma, 24 = squamous cell carcinoma) that underwent a clinically indicated F-FDG PET/CT for staging were reviewed. PET images were reconstructed with OSEM and BSREM reconstruction with noise penalty strength β-levels of 350, 450, 600, 800 and 1200. Lung tumors maximum standardized uptake value (SUV) were compared.
Lung tumors SUV were significantly lower in adenocarcinomas compared to squamous cell carcinomas in all reconstructions evaluated (all p < 0.01). Comparing BSREM to OSEM, absolute SUV differences were highest in lower β-levels of BSREM with + 2.9 ± 1.6 in adenocarcinoma and + 4.0 ± 2.9 in squamous cell carcinoma, (difference between histology; p-values > 0.05). There was a statistically significant difference of the relative increase of SUV in adenocarcinoma (mean + 34.8%) and squamous cell carcinoma (mean 23.4%), when using BSREM instead of OSEM (p < 0.05).
In NSCLC the relative change of SUV when using BSREM instead of OSEM is significantly higher in adenocarcinoma as compared to squamous cell carcinoma.
ADVANCES IN KNOWLEDGE:
The impact of BSREM on SUV may vary in different histological subtypes of NSCLC. This highlights the importance for careful standardisation of β-value used for serial F-FDG PET scans when following-up NSCLC patients.