DOI: 10.1186/s40658-018-0204-0Pages: 1-13

Quantitative analysis of phantom studies of 111In and 68Ga imaging of neuroendocrine tumours

1. Lund University, Department of Medical Radiation Physics, Clinical Sciences

2. County Hospital Ryhov, Department of Hospital Physics

3. Skåne University Hospital, Department of Radiation Physics

4. Clinical Sciences Lund University, Department of Oncology and Pathology

Correspondence to:
L. Jönsson




Nuclear medicine imaging of neuroendocrine tumours is performed either by SPECT/CT imaging, using 111In-octreotide or by PET/CT imaging using 68Ga-radiolabelled somatostatin analogs. These imaging techniques will give different image quality and different detection thresholds for tumours, depending on size and activity uptake. The aim was to evaluate the image quality for 111In-SPECT and 68Ga-PET imaging, i.e. the smallest volume possible to visualize for different source-to-background activity ratios. The accuracy of quantification of lesion volume and activity was also investigated to develop an objective evaluation for radionuclide therapy eligibility.

The phantom study was performed using the NEMA IEC Body Phantom with six hot spheres having inner diameters of 10, 13, 17, 22, 28, and 37 mm, filled with either 68Ga or 111In with sphere-to-background ratios (SBRs) of no background activity, 5:1, 2.5:1, and 1.25:1. Activity ratios of 1.25:1 and 2.5:1 are clinically found for lesions close to the liver and spleen. Clinical acquisition and reconstruction protocols were applied. Line profiles were drawn to evaluate the smallest detectable volume within a given SBR. Recovery curves based on threshold-based VOIs, threshold-based VOIs adapted to the background and CT-based ROIs were obtained for all SBRs and sphere diameters, allowing for quantification.


The 10-mm sphere was not possible to detect in SPECT images. It was detectable in PET images for SBRs of 2.5:1 and higher. In a background corresponding to the activity uptake in the liver, spheres larger than 22–37 mm were detectable in the 111In-SPECT images and spheres larger than 13–22 mm were detectable in the 68Ga-PET images. The maximum activity concentration was accurately quantified for spheres larger than 22 mm in the PET images; however, the quantification was impaired by sphere size and background activity.


It was not possible to detect the 10-mm sphere in any of the SPECT images. In a background corresponding to the activity uptake in the liver, spheres larger than approximately 30 mm were visible in the 111In-SPECT images and spheres larger than approximately 17 mm were visible in the 68Ga-PET images. Sphere diameter and background activity strongly affect the possibility of a correct quantification.

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  • Accepted: Jan 16, 2018
  • Online: Feb 20, 2018

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