Theranostics 2015; 5(4):371-377. doi:10.7150/thno.10760

Research Paper

Kinetic Analysis of Dynamic 11C-Acetate PET/CT Imaging as a Potential Method for Differentiation of Hepatocellular Carcinoma and Benign Liver Lesions

Li Huo1, Jinxia Guo2, 3, Yonghong Dang1, Jinqiao Lv1, Youjing Zheng1, Fang Li1✉, Qingguo Xie3, Xiaoyuan Chen2 ✉

1. Department of Nuclear Medicine, Peking Union Medical College Hospital
2. Laboratory of Molecular Imaging and Nanomedicine (LOMIN), National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, National Institutes of Health (NIBIB), Bethesda, Maryland, USA
3. Department of Biomedical Engineering, and Wuhan National Laboratory for Optoelectronics(WNLO), Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei, China


Objective: The kinetic analysis of 11C-acetate PET provides more information than routine one time-point static imaging. This study aims to investigate the potential of dynamic 11C-acetate hepatic PET imaging to improve the diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and benign liver lesions by using compartmental kinetic modeling and discriminant analysis.

Methods: Twenty-two patients were enrolled in this study, 6 cases were with well-differentiated HCCs, 7 with poorly-differentiated HCCs and 9 with benign pathologies. Following the CT scan, all patients underwent 11C-acetate dynamic PET imaging. A three-compartment irreversible dual-input model was applied to the lesion time activity curves (TACs) to estimate the kinetic rate constants K1-k3, vascular fraction (VB) and the coefficient α representing the relative hepatic artery (HA) contribution to the hepatic blood supply on lesions and non-lesion liver tissue. The parameter Ki (=K1×k3/(k2 + k3)) was calculated to evaluate the local hepatic metabolic rate of acetate (LHMAct). The lesions were further classified by discriminant analysis with all the above parameters.

Results: K1 and lesion to non-lesion standardized uptake value (SUV) ratio (T/L) were found to be the parameters best characterizing the differences among well-differentiated HCC, poorly-differentiated HCC and benign lesions in stepwise discriminant analysis. With discriminant functions consisting of these two parameters, the accuracy of lesion prediction was 87.5% for well-differentiated HCC, 50% for poorly-differentiated HCC and 66.7% for benign lesions. The classification was much better than that with SUV and T/L, where the corresponding classification accuracy of the three kinds of lesions was 57.1%, 33.3% and 44.4%.

Conclusion: 11C-acetate kinetic parameter K1 could improve the identification of HCC from benign lesions in combination with T/L in discriminant analysis. The discriminant analysis using static and kinetic parameters appears to be a very helpful method for clinical liver masses diagnosis and staging.

Keywords: 11C-Acetate, dynamic PET, hepatocellular carcinoma, kinetic modeling, discriminant analysis

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How to cite this article:
Huo L, Guo J, Dang Y, Lv J, Zheng Y, Li F, Xie Q, Chen X. Kinetic Analysis of Dynamic 11C-Acetate PET/CT Imaging as a Potential Method for Differentiation of Hepatocellular Carcinoma and Benign Liver Lesions. Theranostics 2015; 5(4):371-377. doi:10.7150/thno.10760. Available from