Impact of the Q.Clear reconstruction algorithm on the interpretation of PET/CT images in patients with lymphoma


EJNMMI Res. 2020 Aug 26;10(1):99. doi: 10.1186/s13550-020-00690-6.


BACKGROUND: Q.Clear is a new Bayesian penalized-likelihood PET reconstruction algorithm. It has been documented that Q.Clear increases the SUVmax values of different malignant lesions.

PURPOSE: SUVmax values are crucial for the interpretation of PET/CT images in patients with lymphoma, particularly when the early and final responses to treatment are evaluated. The aim of the study was to systematically analyse the impact of the use of Q.Clear on the interpretation of PET/CT in patients with lymphoma.

METHODS: A total of 280 18F-FDG PET/CT scans in patients with lymphoma were performed for staging (sPET), for early treatment response (iPET), after the end of treatment (ePET) and when a relapse of lymphoma was suspected (rPET). Scans were separately reconstructed with two algorithms, Q.Clear and OSEM, and further compared.

RESULTS: The stage of lymphoma was concordantly diagnosed in 69/70 patients with both algorithms on sPET. Discordant assessment of the Deauville score (p < 0.001) was found in 11 cases (15.7%) of 70 iPET scans and in 11 cases of 70 ePET scans. An upgrade from a negative to a positive scan by Q.Clear occurred in 3 cases (4.3%) of iPET scans and 7 cases (10.0%) of ePET scans. The results of all 70 rPET scans were concordant. The SUVmax values of the target lymphoma lesions measured with Q.Clear were higher than those measured with OSEM in 88.8% of scans.

CONCLUSION: Although the Q.Clear algorithm may alter the interpretations of PET/CT in only a small proportion of patients, we recommend using standard OSEM reconstruction for the assessment of treatment response.