Impact of respiratory motion correction and spatial resolution on lesion detection in PET: a simulation study based on real MR dynamic data

Irene Polycarpou*, Charalampos Tsoumpas, Andrew P. King, Paul K. Marsden

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)
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The aim of this study is to investigate the impact of respiratory motion correction and spatial resolution on lesion detectability in PET as a function of lesion size and tracer uptake. Real respiratory signals describing different breathing types are combined with a motion model formed from real dynamic MR data to simulate multiple dynamic PET datasets acquired from a continuously moving subject. Lung and liver lesions were simulated with diameters ranging from 6 to 12 mm and lesion to background ratio ranging from 3: 1 to 6:1. Projection data for 6 and 3 mm PET scanner resolution were generated using analytic simulations and reconstructed without and with motion correction. Motion correction was achieved using motion compensated image reconstruction. The detectability performance was quantified by a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis obtained using a channelized Hotelling observer and the area under the ROC curve (AUC) was calculated as the figure of merit. The results indicate that respiratory motion limits the detectability of lung and liver lesions, depending on the variation of the breathing cycle length and amplitude. Patients with large quiescent periods had a greater AUC than patients with regular breathing cycles and patients with long-term variability in respiratory cycle or higher motion amplitude. In addition, small (less than 10 mm diameter) or low contrast (3:1) lesions showed the greatest improvement in AUC as a result of applying motion correction. In particular, after applying motion correction the AUC is improved by up to 42% with current PET resolution (i.e. 6 mm) and up to 51% for higher PET resolution (i.e. 3 mm). Finally, the benefit of increasing the scanner resolution is small unless motion correction is applied. This investigation indicates high impact of respiratory motion correction on lesion detectability in PET and highlights the importance of motion correction in order to benefit from the increased resolution of future PET scanners.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)697-713
Number of pages17
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 7-Feb-2014
Externally publishedYes


  • PET-MR
  • breathing pattern
  • motion model
  • motion correction
  • lesion detection
  • numeric observer
  • receiver operating characteristic analysis


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