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Open Access 26-07-2023 | Multiple Myeloma | Original Article

Application of an artificial intelligence-based tool in [18F]FDG PET/CT for the assessment of bone marrow involvement in multiple myeloma

Authors: Christos Sachpekidis, Olof Enqvist, Johannes Ulén, Annette Kopp-Schneider, Leyun Pan, Anna Jauch, Marina Hajiyianni, Lukas John, Niels Weinhold, Sandra Sauer, Hartmut Goldschmidt, Lars Edenbrandt, Antonia Dimitrakopoulou-Strauss

Published in: European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging | Issue 12/2023

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Abstract

Purpose

[18F]FDG PET/CT is an imaging modality of high performance in multiple myeloma (MM). Nevertheless, the inter-observer reproducibility in PET/CT scan interpretation may be hampered by the different patterns of bone marrow (BM) infiltration in the disease. Although many approaches have been recently developed to address the issue of standardization, none can yet be considered a standard method in the interpretation of PET/CT. We herein aim to validate a novel three-dimensional deep learning-based tool on PET/CT images for automated assessment of the intensity of BM metabolism in MM patients.

Materials and methods

Whole-body [18F]FDG PET/CT scans of 35 consecutive, previously untreated MM patients were studied. All patients were investigated in the context of an open-label, multicenter, randomized, active-controlled, phase 3 trial (GMMG-HD7). Qualitative (visual) analysis classified the PET/CT scans into three groups based on the presence and number of focal [18F]FDG-avid lesions as well as the degree of diffuse [18F]FDG uptake in the BM. The proposed automated method for BM metabolism assessment is based on an initial CT-based segmentation of the skeleton, its transfer to the SUV PET images, the subsequent application of different SUV thresholds, and refinement of the resulting regions using postprocessing. In the present analysis, six different SUV thresholds (Approaches 1–6) were applied for the definition of pathological tracer uptake in the skeleton [Approach 1: liver SUVmedian × 1.1 (axial skeleton), gluteal muscles SUVmedian × 4 (extremities). Approach 2: liver SUVmedian × 1.5 (axial skeleton), gluteal muscles SUVmedian × 4 (extremities). Approach 3: liver SUVmedian × 2 (axial skeleton), gluteal muscles SUVmedian × 4 (extremities). Approach 4: ≥ 2.5. Approach 5: ≥ 2.5 (axial skeleton), ≥ 2.0 (extremities). Approach 6: SUVmax liver]. Using the resulting masks, subsequent calculations of the whole-body metabolic tumor volume (MTV) and total lesion glycolysis (TLG) in each patient were performed. A correlation analysis was performed between the automated PET values and the results of the visual PET/CT analysis as well as the histopathological, cytogenetical, and clinical data of the patients.

Results

BM segmentation and calculation of MTV and TLG after the application of the deep learning tool were feasible in all patients. A significant positive correlation (p < 0.05) was observed between the results of the visual analysis of the PET/CT scans for the three patient groups and the MTV and TLG values after the employment of all six [18F]FDG uptake thresholds. In addition, there were significant differences between the three patient groups with regard to their MTV and TLG values for all applied thresholds of pathological tracer uptake. Furthermore, we could demonstrate a significant, moderate, positive correlation of BM plasma cell infiltration and plasma levels of β2-microglobulin with the automated quantitative PET/CT parameters MTV and TLG after utilization of Approaches 1, 2, 4, and 5.

Conclusions

The automated, volumetric, whole-body PET/CT assessment of the BM metabolic activity in MM is feasible with the herein applied method and correlates with clinically relevant parameters in the disease. This methodology offers a potentially reliable tool in the direction of optimization and standardization of PET/CT interpretation in MM. Based on the present promising findings, the deep learning-based approach will be further evaluated in future prospective studies with larger patient cohorts.
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Metadata
Title
Application of an artificial intelligence-based tool in [18F]FDG PET/CT for the assessment of bone marrow involvement in multiple myeloma
Authors
Christos Sachpekidis
Olof Enqvist
Johannes Ulén
Annette Kopp-Schneider
Leyun Pan
Anna Jauch
Marina Hajiyianni
Lukas John
Niels Weinhold
Sandra Sauer
Hartmut Goldschmidt
Lars Edenbrandt
Antonia Dimitrakopoulou-Strauss
Publication date
26-07-2023
Publisher
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Published in
European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging / Issue 12/2023
Print ISSN: 1619-7070
Electronic ISSN: 1619-7089
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00259-023-06339-5

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