In radiopharmaceutical therapy, an understanding of the dose distribution in normal and target tissues is important for optimizing treatment. Three-dimensional (3D) dosimetry takes into account patient anatomy and the nonuniform uptake of radiopharmaceuticals in tissues. Dose-volume histograms (DVHs) provide a useful summary representation of the 3D dose distribution and have been widely used for external beam treatment planning. Reliable 3D dosimetry requires an accurate 3D radioactivity distribution as the input. However, activity distribution estimates from SPECT are corrupted by noise and partial volume effects (PVEs). In this work, we systematically investigated OS-EM based quantitative SPECT (QSPECT) image reconstruction in terms of its effect on DVHs estimates. A modified 3D NURBS-based Cardiac-Torso (NCAT) phantom that incorporated a non-uniform kidney model and clinically realistic organ activities and biokinetics was used. Projections were generated using a Monte Carlo (MC) simulation; noise effects were studied using 50 noise realizations with clinical count levels. Activity images were reconstructed using QSPECT with compensation for attenuation, scatter and collimator-detector response (CDR). Dose rate distributions were estimated by convolution of the activity image with a voxel S kernel. Cumulative DVHs were calculated from the phantom and QSPECT images and compared both qualitatively and quantitatively. We found that noise, PVEs, and ringing artifacts due to CDR compensation all degraded histogram estimates. Low-pass filtering and early termination of the iterative process were needed to reduce the effects of noise and ringing artifacts on DVHs, but resulted in increased degradations due to PVEs. Large objects with few features, such as the liver, had more accurate histogram estimates and required fewer iterations and more smoothing for optimal results. Smaller objects with fine details, such as the kidneys, required more iterations and less smoothing at early time points post-radiopharmaceutical administration but more smoothing and fewer iterations at later time points when the total organ activity was lower. The results of this study demonstrate the importance of using optimal reconstruction and regularization parameters. Optimal results were obtained with different parameters at each time point, but using a single set of parameters for all time points produced near-optimal dose-volume histograms.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging