The study aims to investigate the correlations between positron emission tomography (PET) texture features, X-ray computed tomography (CT) texture features, and histological subtypes in non-small-cell lung cancer evaluated with 2-deoxy-2-[18F]fluoro-D-glucose PET/CT.
We retrospectively evaluated the baseline PET/CT scans of 81 patients with histologically proven non-small-cell lung cancer. Feature extraction and statistical analysis were carried out on the Matlab platform (MathWorks, Natick, USA).
Intra-CT correlation analysis revealed a strong positive correlation between volume of the lesion (CTvol) and maximum density (CTmax), and between kurtosis (CTkrt) and maximum density (CTmax). A moderate positive correlation was found between volume (CTvol) and average density (CTmean), and between kurtosis (CTkrt) and average density (CTmean). Intra-PET analysis identified a strong positive correlation between the radiotracer uptake (SUVmax, SUVmean) and its degree of variability/disorder throughout the lesion (SUVstd, SUVent). Conversely, there was a strong negative correlation between the uptake (SUVmax, SUVmean) and its degree of uniformity (SUVuni). There was a positive moderate correlation between the metabolic tumor volume (MTV) and radiotracer uptake (SUVmax, SUVmean). Inter (PET-CT) correlation analysis identified a very strong positive correlation between the volume of the lesion at CT (CTvol) and the metabolic volume (MTV), a moderate positive correlation between average tissue density (CTmean) and radiotracer uptake (SUVmax, SUVmean), and between kurtosis at CT (CTkrt) and metabolic tumor volume (MTV). Squamous cell carcinomas had larger volume higher uptake, stronger PET variability and lower uniformity than the other subtypes. By contrast, adenocarcinomas exhibited significantly lower uptake, lower variability and higher uniformity than the other subtypes.
Significant associations emerged between PET features, CT features, and histological type in NSCLC. Texture analysis on PET/CT shows potential to differentiate between histological types in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer.