Image quality and diagnostic performance of a digital pet prototype in patients with oncologic diseases: Initial experience and comparison with analog PET

Nghi C. Nguyen, Jose L. Vercher-Conejero, Abdus Sattar, Michael A. Miller, Piotr J. Maniawski, David W. Jordan, Raymond F. Muzic, Kuan Hao Su, James K. O'Donnell, Peter F. Faulhaber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


We report our initial clinical experience for image quality and diagnostic performance of a digital PET prototype scanner with time-of-flight (DigitalTF), compared with an analog PET scanner with time-of-flight (GeminiTF PET/CT). Methods: Twenty-one oncologic patients, mean age 58 y, first underwent clinical 18F-FDG PET/CT on the GeminiTF. The scanner table was then withdrawn while the patient remained on the table, and the DigitalTF was inserted between the GeminiTF PET and CT scanner. The patients were scanned for a second time using the same PET field of view with CT from the GeminiTF for attenuation correction. Two interpreters reviewed the 2 sets of PET/CT images for overall image quality, lesion conspicuity, and sharpness. They counted the number of suggestive 18F-FDG- avid lesions and provided the TNM staging for the 5 patients referred for initial staging. Standardized uptake values (SUVs) and SUV gradients as a measure of lesion sharpness were obtained. Results: The DigitalTF showed better image quality than the GeminiTF. In a side-by-side comparison using a 5-point scale, lesion conspicuity (4.3 ± 0.6), lesion sharpness (4.3 ± 0.6), and diagnostic confidence (3.4 ± 0.7) were better with DigitalTF than with GeminiTF (P < 0.01). In 52 representative lesions, the lesion maximum SUV was 36% higher with DigitalTF than with GeminiTF, lesion-to-blood-pool SUV ratio was 59% higher, and SUV gradient was 51% higher, with good correlation between the 2 scanners. Lesions less than 1.5 cm showed a greater increase in SUV from GeminiTF to DigitalTF than those lesions 1.5 cm or greater. In 5 of 21 patients, DigitalTF showed an additional 8 suggestive lesions that were not seen using GeminiTF. In the 15 restaging patients, the true-negative rate was 100% and true-positive rate was 78% for both scanners. In the 5 patients for initial staging, DigitalTF led to upstaging in 2 patients and showed the same staging in the other 3 patients, compared with GeminiTF. Conclusion: DigitalTF provides better image quality, diagnostic confidence, and accuracy than GeminiTF. DigitalTF may be the most beneficial in detecting small tumor lesions and disease staging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1378-1385
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Nuclear Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Digital PET
  • Direct photon counting
  • Oncology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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