The authors sought to evaluate a simple, semiautomated lung mass estimation method using computed tomography (CT) scans obtained using a variety of acquisition techniques and reconstruction parameters for mass correction of medical internal radiation dose-based internal radionuclide radiation absorbed dose estimates.
CT scans of 27 patients with lung cancer undergoing stereotactic body radiation therapy treatment planning with PET/CT were analyzed retrospectively. For each patient, free-breathing (FB) and respiratory-gated 4DCT scans were acquired. The 4DCT scans were sorted into ten respiratory phases, representing one complete respiratory cycle. An average CT reconstruction was derived from the ten-phase reconstructions. Mid expiration breath-hold CT scans were acquired in the same session for many patients. Deep inspiration breath-hold diagnostic CT scans of many of the patients were obtained from different scanning sessions at similar time points to evaluate the effect of contrast administration and maximum inspiration breath-hold. Lung mass estimates were obtained using all CT scan types, and intercomparisons made to assess lung mass variation according to scan type. Lung mass estimates using the FB CT scans from PET/CT examinations of another group of ten male and ten female patients who were 21–30 years old and did not have lung disease were calculated and compared with reference lung mass values. To evaluate the effect of varying CT acquisition and reconstruction parameters on lung mass estimation, an anthropomorphic chest phantom was scanned and reconstructed with different CT parameters. CT images of the lungs were segmented using the OsiriX MD software program with a seed point of about −850 HU and an interval of 1000. Lung volume, and mean lung, tissue, and air HUs were recorded for each scan. Lung mass was calculated by assuming each voxel was a linear combination of only air and tissue. The specific gravity of lung volume was calculated using the formula (lung HU − air HU)/(tissue HU − air HU), and mass = specific gravity × total volume × 1.04 g/cm3.
The range of calculated lung masses was 0.51–1.29 kg. The average male and female lung masses during FB CT were 0.80 and 0.71 kg, respectively. The calculated lung mass varied across the respiratory cycle but changed to a lesser degree than did lung volume measurements (7.3% versus 15.4%). Lung masses calculated using deep inspiration breath-hold and average CT were significantly larger (p < 0.05) than were some masses calculated using respiratory-phase and FB CT. Increased voxel size and smooth reconstruction kernels led to high lung mass estimates owing to partial volume effects.
Organ mass correction is an important component of patient-specific internal radionuclide dosimetry. Lung mass calculation necessitates scan-based density correction to account for volume changes owing to respiration. The range of lung masses in the authors’ patient population represents lung doses for the same absorbed energy differing from 25% below to 64% above the dose found using reference phantom organ masses. With proper management of acquisition parameters and selection of FB or midexpiration breath hold scans, lung mass estimates with about 10% population precision may be achieved.
II.A. Population and CT acquisition parameters
II.B. Lung segmentation
II.C. Lung mass calculation
II.D. CT acquisition parameter variation
III.A. Patient lung mass calculation results
III.B. Patient lung volume results
III.C. Tissue fraction
III.D. Phantom study results
IV.A. Selection of reference conditions for phantom tests
IV.B. Phantom conclusions
IV.C. Mass and volume performance across the respiratory cycle
IV.D. Breath-hold and contrast-enhanced scans
IV.E. AVG CT
IV.F. Influence of body morphometry and composition on lung mass
IV.G. Comparison of mean lung mass with reference values
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