Performance comparison of a dedicated total breast PET system with a clinical whole-body PET system: A simulation study

Suranjana Samanta, Jianyong Jiang, Mahdjoub Hamdi, Alan Z. Register, Stanislaw Majewski, Mark B. Williams, Timothy G. Turkington, Martin P. Tornai, Richard Laforest, Joseph A. O'Sullivan, Yuan Chuan Tai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This paper presents a novel PET geometry for breast cancer imaging. The scanner consists of a 'stadium' (a rectangle with two semi-circles on opposite sides) shaped ring, along with anterior and posterior panels to provide high sensitivity and high spatial resolution for an imaging field-of-view (FOV) that include both breasts, mediastinum and axilla. We simulated this total-breast PET system using GATE and reconstructed the coincidence events using a GPU-based list-mode image reconstruction implementing maximum likelihood expectation-maximization (ML-EM) algorithm. The rear-panel is made up of a single layer of LSO crystals (3.2 3.2 20 mm3 each), while the 'stadium'-shaped elongated ring and the anterior panel are made with dual-layered LSO crystals (1.6 1.6 6 mm3 each). The energy resolution and coincidence resolving time of all detectors are assumed to be 12% and 250 ps full-width-at-half-maximum, respectively. Various sized simulated lesions (4, 5, 6 mm) having 4:1, 5:1, and 6:1 lesion-to-background radioactivity concentration ratios, mimicking different biological uptakes, were strategically located throughout a volumetric torso phantom. We compared system sensitivity and lesion detectability of the dedicated total-breast PET system to a state-of-the-art clinical whole-body PET scanner. The mean sensitivity of the total-breast PET system is 3.21 times greater than that of a whole-body PET scanner in the breast regions. The total-breast PET system also provides better contrast-recovery coefficients for lesions of all sizes and lesion-to-background ratios in the breast when compared to a reference clinical whole-body PET scanner. Receiver operating characteristics (ROC) study shows the area under the ROC curve is 0.948 and 0.924 for the total-breast system and the whole-body PET scanner, respectively, in the detection of 4 mm diameter lesions with 4:1 lesion-to-background ratio. This study demonstrates our novel geometry can provide an imaging FOV larger than conventional PEM systems to simultaneously image both breasts, chest wall and axillae with significantly improved lesion detectability in the breasts when compared to a whole-body PET scanner.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115004
JournalPhysics in medicine and biology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 7 2021


  • GATE simulation
  • PET,ML-EM reconstruction
  • breast PET
  • breast cancer


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