Multiparametric PET/CT-perfusion does not add significant additional information for initial staging in lung cancer compared with standard PET/CT
To assess the additional functional vascular information and the relationship between perfusion measurements and glucose metabolism (SUVmax) obtained by including a perfusion CT study in a whole-body contrast-enhanced PET/CT protocol in primary lung cancer lesions. Enrolled in this prospective study were 34 consecutive patients with a biopsy-proven diagnosis of lung cancer who were referred for contrast-enhanced PET/CT staging. This prospective study was approved by our institutional review board, and informed consent was obtained from all patients. Perfusion CT was performed with the following parameters: 80 kV, 200 mAs, 30 scans during intravenous injection of 50 ml contrast agent, flow rate 5 ml/s. Another bolus of contrast medium (3.5 ml/s, 80 ml, 60-s delay) was administered to ensure a full diagnostic contrast-enhanced CT scan for clinical staging. The perfusion CT data were used to calculate a range of tumour vascularity parameters (blood flow, blood volume and mean transit time), and tumour FDG uptake (SUVmax) was used as a metabolic indicator. Quantitative and functional parameters were compared and in relation to location, histology and tumour size. The nonparametric Kruskal-Wallis rank sum test was used for statistical analysis. A cut-off value of 3 cm was used according to the TNM classification to discriminate between T1 and T2 tumours (i.e. T1b vs. T2a). There were significant perfusion differences (lower blood volumes and higher mean transit time) between tumours with diameter >30 mm and tumours with diameter <30 mm (p < 0.05; blood volume 5.6 vs. 7.1 ml/100 g, mean transit time 8.6 vs. 3.9 s, respectively). Also there was a trend for blood flow to be lower in larger lesions (p < 0.053; blood flow 153.1 vs. 98.3 ml/100 g tissue/min). Significant inverse correlations (linear regression) were found between blood volume and SUVmax in tumours with diameter >30 mm in diameter. Perfusion CT combined with PET/CT is feasible technique that may provide additional functional information about vascularity and tumour aggressiveness as a result of lower perfusion and higher metabolism shown by larger lesions.