A novel technique, called augmented whole-body scanning viamagnifying PET (AWSM-PET), that improves the sensitivity and lesion detectability of a PET scanner for whole-body imaging is proposed and evaluated. A Siemens Biograph Vision PET/CT scanner equipped with one or two high-resolution panel-detectors was simulated to study the effectiveness of AWSM-PET technology. The detector panels are located immediately outside the scanner's axial field-of-view (FOV). A detector panel contains 2 × 8 detector modules each consisting of 32 × 64 LSO crystals (1.0×1.0×10.0mm3 each). A 22Na point source was stepped across the scanner's FOV axially to measure sensitivity profiles at different locations. An elliptical torso phantom containing 7 × 9 spherical lesions was imaged at different axial locations to mimic a multi-bed-position whole-body imaging protocol. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were analyzed to evaluate the improvement in lesion detectability by the AWSM-PET technology. Experimental validation was conducted using an existing flat-panel detector integrated with a Siemens Biograph 40 PET/CT scanner to image a torso phantom containing spherical lesions with diameters ranging from 3.3 to 11.4 mm. The contrast-recovery-coefficient (CRC) of the lesions was evaluated for the scanner with or without the AWSM-PET technology. Monte Carlo simulation shows 36%-42% improvement in system sensitivity by a dual-panel AWSM-PET device. The area under the ROC curve is 0.962 by a native scanner for the detection of 4 mm diameter lesions with 5:1 tumor-to-background activity concentration. It was improved to 0.977 and 0.991 with a single- and dual-panel AWSM-PET system, respectively. Experimental studies showed that the average CRC of 3.3 mm and 4.3 mm diameter tumors were improved from 2.8% and 4.2% to 7.9% and 11.0%, respectively, by a single-panel AWSM-PET device. With a high-sensitivity dual-panel device, the corresponding CRC can be further improved to 11.0% and 15.9%, respectively. The principle of the AWSM-PET technology has been developed and validated. Enhanced system sensitivity, CRC and tumor detectabilitywere demonstratedbyMonteCarlo simulations and imaging experiments. This technology may offer a cost-effective path to realize high-resolution whole-body PET imaging clinically.
- cancer detection
- virtual-pinhole PET