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Purpose—Application of advanced imaging techniques, such as PET and x-ray CT, can potentially improve detection of breast cancer. Unfortunately, both modalities have challenges in the detection of some lesions. The combination of the two techniques, however, could potentially lead to an overall improvement in diagnostic breast imaging. The purpose of this investigation is to test the basic performance of a new dedicated breast-PET/CT. Methods—The PET component consists of a rotating pair of detectors. Its performance was evaluated using the NEMA NU4-2008 protocols. The CT component utilizes a pulsed x-ray source and flat panel detector mounted on the same gantry as the PET scanner. Its performance was assessed using specialized phantoms. The radiation dose to a breast during CT imaging was explored by the measurement of free-in-air kerma and air kerma measured at the center of a 16 cm-diameter PMMA cylinder. Finally, the combined capabilities of the system were demonstrated by imaging of a micro-hot-rod phantom. Results—Overall, performance of the PET component is very good, comparable to many preclinical and other dedicated breast-PET scanners. Its spatial resolution is 2.2 mm, 5 mm from the center of the scanner using images created with the single-sliced-filtered-backprojection algorithm. Peak NECR is 24.6 kcps; peak sensitivity is 1.36%; the scatter fraction is 27%. Spatial resolution of the CT scanner is 1.1 lp/mm at 10% MTF. The free-in-air kerma is 2.33 mGy, while the PMMA-air kerma is 1.24 mGy. Finally, combined imaging of a micro-hot-rod phantom illustrated the good quality and potential utility of the dual-modality images produced by the system. Conclusion—The basic performance characteristics of a new dedicated breast-PET/CT scanner are good, demonstrating that its performance is similar to current dedicated PET and CT scanners. The potential value of this system is the capability to produce combined duality-modality images that could improve detection of breast disease. The next stage in development of this system is testing with more advanced phantoms and human subjects.

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Raylman RR, Van Kampen W, Stolin AV, et al. A dedicated breast-PET/CT scanner: Evaluation of basic performance characteristics. Medical Physics. 2018;45(4):1603-1613. doi:10.1002/mp.12780