Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging 2017 Nov 4;44(12):2060-2072. Epub 2017 Jul 4.
Nuclear Medicine Unit, Department of Medicine - DIMED, University Hospital of Padua, Via Giustiniani 2, 35128, Padua, Italy.
Purpose: In the initial evaluation of patients with suspected dementia and Alzheimer's disease, there is no consensus on how to perform semiquantification of amyloid in such a way that it: (1) facilitates visual qualitative interpretation, (2) takes the kinetic behaviour of the tracer into consideration particularly with regard to at least partially correcting for blood flow dependence, (3) analyses the amyloid load based on accurate parcellation of cortical and subcortical areas, (4) includes partial volume effect correction (PVEC), (5) includes MRI-derived topographical indexes, (6) enables application to PET/MRI images and PET/CT images with separately acquired MR images, and (7) allows automation.
Methods: A method with all of these characteristics was retrospectively tested in 86 subjects who underwent amyloid (F-florbetaben) PET/MRI in a clinical setting (using images acquired 90-110 min after injection, 53 were classified visually as amyloid-negative and 33 as amyloid-positive). Early images after tracer administration were acquired between 0 and 10 min after injection, and later images were acquired between 90 and 110 min after injection. PVEC of the PET data was carried out using the geometric transfer matrix method. Parametric images and some regional output parameters, including two innovative "dual time-point" indexes, were obtained.
Results: Subjects classified visually as amyloid-positive showed a sparse tracer uptake in the primary sensory, motor and visual areas in accordance with the isocortical stage of the topographic distribution of the amyloid plaque (Braak stages V/VI). In patients classified visually as amyloid-negative, the method revealed detectable levels of tracer uptake in the basal portions of the frontal and temporal lobes, areas that are known to be sites of early deposition of amyloid plaques that probably represented early accumulation (Braak stage A) that is typical of normal ageing. There was a strong correlation between age and the indexes of the new dual time-point amyloid imaging method in amyloid-negative patients.
Conclusions: The method can be considered a valuable tool in both routine clinical practice and in the research setting as it will standardize data regarding amyloid deposition. It could potentially also be used to identify early amyloid plaque deposition in younger subjects in whom treatment could theoretically be more effective.