3D inpatient dose reconstruction from the PET-CT imaging of 90Y microspheres for metastatic cancer to the liver: Feasibility study

E. Fourkal, I. Veltchev, M. Lin, S. Koren, J. Meyer, M. Doss, J. Q. Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Purpose: The introduction of radioembolization with microspheres represents a significant step forward in the treatment of patients with metastatic disease to the liver. This technique uses semiempirical formulae based on body surface area or liver and target volumes to calculate the required total activity for a given patient. However, this treatment modality lacks extremely important information, which is the three-dimensional (3D) dose delivered by microspheres to different organs after their administration. The absence of this information dramatically limits the clinical efficacy of this modality, specifically the predictive power of the treatment. Therefore, the aim of this study is to develop a 3D dose calculation technique that is based on the PET imaging of the infused microspheres. Methods: The Fluka Monte Carlo code was used to calculate the voxel dose kernel for 90Y source with voxel size equal to that of the PET scan. The measured PET activity distribution was converted to total activity distribution for the subsequent convolution with the voxel dose kernel to obtain the 3D dose distribution. In addition, dose-volume histograms were generated to analyze the dose to the tumor and critical structures. Results: The 3D inpatient dose distribution can be reconstructed from the PET data of a patient scanned after the infusion of microspheres. A total of seven patients have been analyzed so far using the proposed reconstruction method. Four patients underwent treatment with SIR-Spheres for liver metastases from colorectal cancer and three patients were treated with Therasphere for hepatocellular cancer. A total of 14 target tumors were contoured on post-treatment PET-CT scans for dosimetric evaluation. Mean prescription activity was 1.7 GBq (range: 0.58-3.8 GBq). The resulting mean maximum measured dose to targets was 167 Gy (range: 71-311 Gy). Mean minimum dose to 70% of target (D70) was 68 Gy (range: 25-155 Gy). Mean minimum dose to 90% of target (D90) was 53 Gy (range: 13-125 Gy). Conclusions: A three-dimensional inpatient dose reconstruction method has been developed that is based on the PET/CT data of a patient treated with 90Y microspheres. It allows for a complete description of the absorbed dose by the tumor and critical structures. It represents the first step in building predictive models for treatment outcomes for patients receiving this therapeutic modality as well as it allows for better analysis of patients' dose response and will ultimately improve future treatment administration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number081702
JournalMedical physics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2013


  • Monte Carlo
  • Y-90 microspheres
  • absolute dose reconstruction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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