Ventilation/perfusion positron emission tomography-based assessment of radiation injury to lung
2015. Purpose: To investigate 68Ga-ventilation/perfusion (V/Q) positron emission tomography (PET)/computed tomography (CT) as a novel imaging modality for assessment of perfusion, ventilation, and lung density changes in the context of radiation therapy(RT). Methods and Materials: In a prospective clinical trial, 20 patients underwent 4-dimensional (4D)-V/Q PET/CT before, midway through, and 3 months after definitive lung RT. Eligible patients were prescribed 60Gy in 30 fractions with or without concurrent chemotherapy. Functional images were registered to the RT planning 4D-CT, and isodose volumes were averaged into 10-Gy bins. Within each dose bin, relative loss in standardized uptake value (SUV) was recorded for ventilation and perfusion, and loss in air-filled fraction was recorded to assess RT-induced lung fibrosis. A dose-effect relationship was described using both linear and 2-parameter logistic fit models, and goodness of fit was assessed with Akaike Information Criterion (AIC). Results: A total of 179 imaging datasets were available for analysis (1 scan was unrecoverable). An almost perfectly linear negative dose-response relationship was observed for perfusion and air-filled fraction (r 2=0.99, P<.01), with ventilation strongly negatively linear (r 2=0.95, P<.01). Logistic models did not provide a better fit as evaluated by AIC. Perfusion, ventilation, and the air-filled fraction decreased 0.75±0.03%, 0.71±0.06%, and 0.49±0.02%/Gy, respectively. Within high-dose regions, higher baseline perfusion SUV was associated with greater rate of loss. At 50Gy and 60Gy, the rate of loss was 1.35% (P=.07) and 1.73% (P=.05) per SUV, respectively. Of 8/20 patients with peritumoral reperfusion/reventilation during treatment, 7/8 did not sustain this effect after treatment. Conclusions: Radiation-induced regional lung functional deficits occur in a dose-dependent manner and can be estimated by simple linear models with 4D-V/Q PET/CT imaging. These findings may inform future studies of functional lung avoidance using V/Q PET/CT.