Molecular Imaging of Neuroblastoma Progression in TH-MYCN Transgenic Mice
AIM To evaluate the accuracy of semi-quantitative small-animal PET data, uncorrected for attenuation, and then of the same semi-quantitative data corrected by means of recovery coefficients (RCs) based on phantom studies. MATERIALS AND METHODS A phantom containing six fillable spheres (diameter range: 4.4-14 mm) was filled with an 18F-FDG solution (spheres/background activity=10.1, 5.1 and 2.5). RCs, defined as measured activity/expected activity, were calculated. Nude rats harbouring tumours (n=50) were imaged after injection of 18F-FDG and sacrificed. The standardized uptake value (SUV) in tumours was determined with small-animal PET and compared to ex-vivo counting (ex-vivo SUV). Small-animal PET SUVs were corrected with RCs based on the greatest tumour diameter. Tumour proliferation was assessed with cyclin A immunostaining and correlated to the SUV. RESULTS RCs ranged from 0.33 for the smallest sphere to 0.72 for the largest. A sigmoidal correlation was found between RCs and sphere diameters (r(2)=0.99). Small-animal PET SUVs were well correlated with ex-vivo SUVs (y=0.48x-0.2; r(2)=0.71) and the use of RCs based on the greatest tumour diameter significantly improved regression (y=0.84x-0.81; r(2)=0.77), except for tumours with important necrosis. Similar results were obtained without sacrificing animals, by using PET images to estimate tumour dimensions. RC-based corrections improved correlation between small-animal PET SUVs and tumour proliferation (uncorrected data: Rho=0.79; corrected data: Rho=0.83). CONCLUSION Recovery correction significantly improves both accuracy of small-animal PET semi-quantitative data in rat studies and their correlation with tumour proliferation, except for largely necrotic tumours.