Methods for a dedicated breast cancer scanner combining positron emission tomography (PET) and mammography imaging
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The PET/X breast imaging system is designed to be a compact positron emission tomography (PET) scanner with a rectangular field of view (FOV) that can be mounted directly over the conventional mammography scanner. This thesis studies the prototyping of this dedicated breast cancer scanner that combines PET and mammography, using mostly computer modeling methods, while the hardware of data acquisition system is being concurrently developed. Apart from processing scripts and functions, two major simulation software packages are used: SimSET and CatSim. The former models PET emission process and the latter models mammography projection. This thesis delves into the details of using these packages and presents results of applying them to the PET/X system. By studying reconstructed images using simulated PET data, this thesis characterizes the proposed PET/X scanner and estimates its performance upper bound. Under several idealized detector conditions, the PET/X scanner exceeds the design goal of detecting a 20% change of radiotracer concentration with high sensitivity and specificity. This thesis also explores the use of X-ray (mammography) images for necessary attenuation correction of the PET data. Preliminary result shows that the X-ray-based attenuation correction (XAC) method has potential to be a surrogate for ground truth attenuation correction for the PET/X system.
- Physics