Parametric images of blood flow in oncology PET studies using [15O]water

M. A. Lodge, R. E. Carson, J. A. Carrasquillo, M. Whatley, S. K. Libutti, S. L. Bacharach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


PET was used to measure tumor blood flow, which is potentially valuable for diagnosis and assessing the effects of therapy. To help visualize regional differences in blood flow and to improve the accuracy of region-of-interest placement, a parametric imaging approach was developed and compared with the standard region-of-interest method. Methods: Five patients with renal cell metastases in the thorax were studied using [15O]water and dynamic PET. To assess the reproducibility of the blood flow measurements, multiple water studies were performed on each patient. Model fitting was done on a pixel-by-pixel basis using several different formulations of the standard single-compartment model. Results: The tumors studied spanned a wide range of blood flows, varying from 0.4 to 4.2 mL/min/g. These values were generally high compared with those of most other tissues, which meant that the tumors could be readily identified in parametric images of flow. The different model formulations produced images with different characteristics, and no model was entirely valid throughout the field of view. Although tumor blood flow measured from the parametric images was largely unbiased with respect to a standard regional method, large errors were observed with certain models in regions of low flow. The most robust model throughout the field of view had only 1 free parameter and, compared with a regional method, gave rise to a flow bias of 0.3% ± 3.1% for tumor and 16% ± 11% for low-flow soft tissue (muscle plus fat). With this model, tumor blood flow was measured with an SD of 7.6% ± 4.0%. Conclusion: Parametric imaging provides a convenient way of visualizing regional changes in blood flow, which may be valuable in studies of tumor blood flow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1784-1792
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Nuclear Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • PET
  • Parametric image
  • Tumor blood flow
  • [O]water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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