When increasing the PET acquisition time to match the longer MRI protocol in simultaneous PET/MR, the injected PET tracer dose can possibly be lowered to reduce radiation exposure. Moreover, applying new commercially available time-of-flight (TOF) block sequential regularized expectation maximization (BSREM)-based reconstruction algorithms could allow for further dose reductions. The purpose of this study was to find the minimal dose of the tracer targeting the prostate specific membrane antigen (Ga-PSMA-11) for a dedicated 15-min pelvic PET/MR scan that still matches the image quality of a reference 3-min scan at 100% (150 MBq) dose.
In this retrospective analysis, 25 patients were included. PET emission datasets were edited to simulate stepwise reductions of injected tracer dose. Reference TOF ordered subset expectation maximum (OSEM) and new TOF BSREM reconstructions were performed and differences in the resulting PET images were visually and quantitatively assessed.
Visually, TOF BSREM reconstructions with relatively high regularization parameter (β) values are preferred. Quantitatively, however, high β-values result in lower lesion maximum standardized uptake values (SUV) compared to the reference. A β-value of 550 was considered the optimal compromise for the lowest possible 10% dose reconstructions, resulting in comparable visual assessment and lesion SUV.
This study indicates that the injected Ga-PSMA-11 tracer dose for a standard 3-min PET scan can be reduced to approximately 10% (15 MBq) when the PET acquisition time is matched to the 15-min pelvic MRI protocol, and when reconstructed with TOF BSREM using β = 550. This decreases the effective dose from 3.54 to 0.35 mSv.
• Low-dose dedicated pelvicGa-PSMA-11 PET/MR reduces radiation exposure for patients. • Retrospective study investigating the minimal dose needed for adequate image quality for 15-min PET frames over the pelvis showed using quantitative and qualitative analysis that a substantial dose reduction is possible without significant loss of image quality when using the TOF BSREM reconstruction algorithm. • With the introduction of low-dose pelvicGa-PSMA-11 PET/MR, new potential applications ofGa-PSMA-11 PET for local staging or investigation of equivocal MRI findings could become applicable, even for patients without confirmed prostate cancer.