Master of Science (MS)


Physics and Astronomy

Document Type



Radiotherapy treatment planning utilizing PET and CT is rapidly gaining acceptance in oncology. A limiting factor of the dual modality is the PET/CT alignment. A small error in PET/CT alignment may result in giving large doses of radiation to healthy tissues as a result of poor treatment planning. For this purpose, regular quality assurance testing of PET/CT must be performed. Separate QA procedures and phantoms have been developed for the two different modalities. In particular, many existing phantoms cannot be used for both modalities, which is a requirement for evaluating PET/CT alignment. Our goal is to evaluate several existing phantom designs to evaluate their utility for checking PET/CT alignment. The three phantoms investigated are a Gammex 464 phantom, a Triple-Line Source PET phantom, and a Hot Sphere PET phantom. The PET phantoms are unmodified the Gammex 464 phantom is modified to perform PET/CT alignment. The Gammex 464 phantom is typically used for routine quality assurance of CT scanners. Several CT parameters are determined with this phantom before and after modification. Then PET/CT alignment testing is performed using this modified CT phantom and the two other phantoms. Three methods have been used for analyzing the PET/CT images to measure the PET/CT alignment errors. The methods are the Manual method which calculates the alignment error from hand-drawn profiles, the Maximum-Pixel Value method which measures the error based on the pixel value of the objects in the PET/CT images, and the Curve-fitting method, which measures the alignment error by getting the best fit values for the object profiles. The Curve-fitting method also estimates the PET resolution from apparent size of objects in the phantoms. Our PET/CT alignment data and results suggest that the Maximum-Pixel Value method for the modified phantom with acrylic insert is a good choice for measuring the PET/CT alignment error, providing a reasonable balance between computational analysis effort and measurement precision.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Kenneth L. Matthews II