Optimal conspicuity of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma in virtual monochromatic imaging reconstructions on a photon-counting detector CT: comparison to conventional MDCT
Josua A Decker, Judith Becker, Mark Härting, Bertram Jehs, Franka Risch, Luca Canalini, Claudia Wollny, Christian Scheurig-Muenkler, Thomas Kroencke, Florian Schwarz, Stefanie Bette
Abdom Radiol (NY) . 2023 Oct 5. doi: 10.1007/s00261-023-04042-5. Online ahead of print.
Purpose: To analyze the conspicuity of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) in virtual monoenergetic images (VMI) on a novel photon-counting detector CT (PCD-CT) in comparison to energy-integrating CT (EID-CT).
Methods: Inclusion criteria comprised initial diagnosis of PDAC (reference standard: histopathological analysis) and standardized contrast-enhanced CT imaging either on an EID-CT or a PCD-CT. Patients were excluded due to different histopathological diagnosis or missing tumor delineation on CT. On the PCD-CT, 40-190 keV VMI reconstructions were generated. Image noise, tumor-to-pancreas ratio (TPR) and contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) were analyzed by ROI-based measurements in arterial and portal venous contrast phase. Two board-certified radiologist evaluated image quality and tumor delineation at both, EID-CT and PCD-CT (40 and 70 keV).
Results: Thirty-eight patients (mean age 70.4 years ± 10.3 [range 45-91], 27 males; PCD-CT: n=19, EID-CT: n=19) were retrospectively included. On the PCD-CT, tumor conspicuity (reflected by low TPR and high CNR) was significantly improved at low-energy VMI series (≤ 70 keV compared to > 70 keV), both in arterial and in portal venous contrast phase (P < 0.001), reaching the maximum at 40 keV. Comparison between PCD-CT and EID-CT showed significantly higher CNR on the PCD-CT in portal venous contrast phase at < 70 keV (P < 0.016). On the PCD-CT, tumor conspicuity was improved in portal venous contrast phase compared to arterial contrast phase especially at the lower end of the VMI spectrum (≤ 70 keV). Qualitative analysis revealed that tumor delineation is improved in 40 keV reconstructions compared to 70 keV reconstructions on a PCD-CT.
Conclusion: PCD-CT VMI reconstructions (≤ 70 keV) showed significantly improved conspicuity of PDAC in quantitative and qualitative analysis in both, arterial and portal venous contrast phase, compared to EID-CT, which may be important for early detection of tumor tissue in clinical routine. Tumor delineation was superior in portal venous contrast phase compared to arterial contrast phase.