Effects of arm truncation on the appearance of the halo artifact in (68)Ga-PSMA-11 (HBED-CC) PET/MRI

PSMA ligand imaging with hybrid PET/MRI scanners could be an integral part of the clinical routine in the future. However, the first study about this novel method revealed a severe photopenic artifact ("halo artifact") around the urinary bladder causing significantly reduced tumor visibility. The aim of this evaluation was to analyze the role of arm truncation on the appearance of the halo artifact in (68)Ga-PSMA-11 PET/MRI hypothesizing that this influences the appearance.

Twenty-seven consecutive patients were subjected to (68)Ga-PSMA-11 PET/CT (1 h p.i.) followed by PET/MRI (3 h p.i.). PET/MRI was first started with scans of the abdomen to pelvis with arms positioned up above the head. Immediately thereafter, additional scans from the pelvis to abdomen were conducted with arms positioned down beside the trunk. All investigations were first analyzed separately and then compared with respect to tumor detection and tumor uptake (SUV) as well as the presence and intensity of the halo artifact. The Wilcoxon signed rank test was used to determine statistical differences including Bonferroni correction.

The halo was significantly reduced if the arms were elevated. Lesions inside the halo artifact (n = 16) demonstrated significantly increased SUVmean (p = 0.0007) and SUVmax (p = 0.0024) with arms positioned up. The halo appearance and intensity was not dependent on the total activity and activity concentration of the urinary bladder.

Positioning the arms down was shown to be significantly associated with the appearance of the halo artifact in PET/MRI. Positioning the arms up above the head can significantly reduce the halo artifact, thereby detecting more tumor lesions.

European journal of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging. 2017 May 15 [Epub ahead of print]

Ali Afshar-Oromieh, Maya Wolf, Uwe Haberkorn, Marc Kachelrieß, Regula Gnirs, Klaus Kopka, Heinz-Peter Schlemmer, Martin T Freitag

Department of Nuclear Medicine, Heidelberg University Hospital, INF 400, 69120, Heidelberg, Germany. ., Department of Radiology, German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg, Germany., Department of Nuclear Medicine, Heidelberg University Hospital, INF 400, 69120, Heidelberg, Germany., Department of Medical Physics in Radiology, German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg, Germany., Division of Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry, German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg, Germany.

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