By Wayne Forrest, contributing writer
November 14, 2013

The field of molecular imaging and nuclear medicine continues to attract great enthusiasm for what many observers see as limitless possibilities for an expanding range of clinical applications.

PET/MRI, of course, is garnering much of the attention. According to the RSNA, nuclear medicine education exhibit submissions increased by approximately 25% this year, with particularly strong growth in abstracts investigating the pros and cons of PET/MRI and PET/CT.

The discipline of molecular imaging also is broadening its reach into radiology with more studies that address issues such as the use of molecular MRI for multiple sclerosis and optical imaging for colorectal cancer.

Poster sessions in nuclear medicine and molecular imaging begin on Sunday, December 1, and continue through Thursday, December 5, in Room S503AB. Starting times vary slightly from day to day, but poster availability generally begins during the noon hour and continues for 30 to 45 minutes.

Of particular note is Sunday's nuclear medicine poster session (CL-NMS-SUB, 1:00 p.m.-1:30 p.m., Room S503AB), which offers six studies on the roles of FDG and choline with PET/CT to assess various forms of cancer.

On Monday, a four-part refresher course (RC217, 8:30 a.m.-10 a.m., Room S504CD) includes a presentation by Dr. Claus Claussen, director of the diagnostic radiology department at Tübingen University Hospital in Germany, on "MR/PET, A New Perspective of Molecular Imaging." Zang-Hee Cho, PhD, director of the Neuroscience Research Institute at Gachon University of Medicine & Science in South Korea, follows with insights on dedicated brain PET/MRI, its potential, and how soon the hybrid modality may become more common in the clinical environment.

If you're looking for a more hands-on experience in nuclear medicine, there is Tuesday's refresher course (RC351, 8:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m., Room E353C) on PET/CT for the abdomen and pelvis. In the opening presentation, Dr. Erik Paulson, chairman of the department of radiology at Duke University School of Medicine, details the value of iodinated contrast and PET/CT. In addition, Dr. Andrea Rockall, a professor and a consultant radiologist with the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, shows how to recognize typical findings on FDG-PET/CT in pelvic malignancies, as well as gynecologic and urologic cancers.

Wednesday's refresher courses include three presentations on breast imaging (RC511, 8:30 a.m.-10:0 a.m., Room S505AB). Molecular breast imaging (MBI), positron emission mammography (PEM), and breast-specific gamma imaging (BSGI) will be covered.

On Thursday, a two-part refresher course (RC611, 8:30 a.m.- 10:00 a.m., Room S505AB) covers advances in cardiac nuclear imaging with SPECT/CT and PET/CT. Dr. E. Gordon DePuey, director of nuclear medicine at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City, reports on advances in cardiac SPECT, while Dr. Sharmila Dorbala, an assistant professor at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, covers cardiac PET.

If you are still in Chicago on Friday, December 6, there is a refresher course (RC823, 8:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m., Room S403B) on recording and reporting radiation dose. Wesley Bolch, PhD, a professor of biomedical engineering and medical physics at the University of Florida, discusses the necessary parameters to estimate dose during nuclear medicine imaging and therapy. In addition, Frederic Fahey, DSc, director of nuclear medicine physics at Boston Children's Hospital, provides details on how to track radiation dose among pediatric patients.

Your preview of some of the more novel and noteworthy scientific paper presentations regarding molecular imaging and nuclear medicine for this year's annual meeting of RSNA starts below. You also can click here to view the entire meeting program for RSNA 2013.

Scientific and Educational Presentations
FDG-PET/CT takes on bone scans for Ewing's sarcoma
Sunday, December 1 | 11:05 a.m.-11:15 a.m. | SSA18-03 | Room S505AB
Are methylene diphosphonate bone scans necessary during initial staging of Ewing's sarcoma patients if FDG-PET/CT is performed? That's the question researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center sought to answer in this study.
3T DWI-MRI equals PET/CT for bone and soft-tissue tumors
Sunday, December 1 | 11:35 a.m.-11:45 a.m. | SSA14-06 | Room E451B
Korean researchers have found that 3-tesla diffusion-weighted MRI (DWI-MRI) is comparable to FDG-PET/CT for evaluating bone and soft-tissue tumors.
SPECT/CT should be used for lymph nodes with vulvar cancer
Monday, December 2 | 3:00 p.m.-3:10 p.m. | SSE20-01 | Room S505AB
When it comes to detecting both sentinel lymph nodes and downstream lymph nodes in vulvar cancer, SPECT/CT is superior to conventional planar lymphoscintigraphy, according to a new study from German researchers.
FDG-PET/CT perhaps unnecessary for anal cancer staging
Monday, December 2 | 3:40 p.m.-3:50 p.m. | SSE08-05 | Room E353C
In this scientific session, Swedish researchers will discuss how contrast-enhanced CT appears to be sufficient for lymph node staging in squamous cell carcinoma of the anorectum and anal verge, decreasing the need for biopsy and PET/CT.
Study touts benefits of PET/MRI for breast cancer
Tuesday, December 3 | 10:50 a.m.-11:00 a.m. | SSG01-03 | Room E451A
German researchers from Essen University Hospital are showing positive results for PET/MRI over PET/CT for detecting and estimating the size of malignant breast lesions.
BSGI improves sensitivity of mammography, ultrasound
Tuesday, December 3 | 11:20 a.m.-11:30 a.m. | SSG01-06 | Room E451A
Adding breast-specific gamma imaging (BSGI) to mammography and ultrasound improves the ability of these modalities to find cancer, according to a study that will be presented at RSNA 2013 on Tuesday.
MBI produces few false positives in dense breast screening
Tuesday, December 3 | 11:30 a.m.-11:40 a.m. | SSG01-07 | Room E451A
A study from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, shows that molecular breast imaging (MBI) provides a relatively low additional false-positive rate compared with other modalities for supplemental screening in women with dense breasts.
Lower-dose MBI still finds more cancers in dense tissue
Tuesday, December 3 | 11:40 a.m.-11:50 a.m. | SSG01-08 | Room E451A
Using lower doses of radiopharmaceuticals in molecular breast imaging (MBI) works just as well as higher doses, researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, have found.
PET/MRI gets high marks for lymphoma staging
Wednesday, December 4 | 10:50 a.m.-11:00 a.m. | SSK17-03 | Room S505AB
German researchers believe FDG-PET/MRI is a promising method for staging lymphoma, given that the hybrid modality's images are analogous to PET/CT without the ionizing radiation from CT.
PET provides good lung images when combined with CT or MRI
Wednesday, December 4 | 11:00 a.m.-11:10 a.m. | SSK17-04 | Room S505AB
Despite differences in attenuation correction techniques, the PET images from a PET/MRI system are equivalent to PET/CT in terms of quality and detection rate for FDG-positive lung lesions, according to researchers from Germany.
FDG-PET/MRI shows prowess in breast cancer cases
Wednesday, December 4 | 11:20 a.m.-11:30 a.m. | SSK17-06 | Room S505AB
FDG-PET/MRI may offer greater lesion detection and diagnostic confidence in breast cancer cases at half the radiation dose compared with PET/CT, according to a study from NYU Langone Medical Center.
PET/MRI, PET/CT both beneficial for primary pelvic tumors
Wednesday, December 4 | 11:40 a.m.-11:50 a.m. | SSK09-08 | Room N228
In this scientific session, researchers from University Hospital Zurich will present the clinical benefits from both PET/MRI and PET/CT for evaluating primary tumors in the pelvic region.
PET/MRI complements PET/CT in NSCLC assessment
Wednesday, December 4 | 11:40 a.m.-11:50 a.m. | SSK17-08 | Room S505AB
PET/MRI using a dedicated pulmonary MRI protocol and PET/CT show good agreement on thoracic tumor-node-metastasis staging for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients, according to a study from Germany.
FDG-PET/CT tops MRI in colon cancer staging
Wednesday, December 4 | 3:00 p.m.-3:10 p.m. | SSM17-01 | Room S505AB
While whole-body MRI is a feasible method for staging colon cancer patients, the modality does not quite reach the accuracy of FDG-PET/CT, according to a new study by Italian researchers.
DWI-MRI matches PET/CT in lymph node evaluation
Wednesday, December 4 | 3:10 p.m. - 3:20 p.m. | SSM17-02 | Room S505AB
Diffusion-weighted MRI (DWI-MRI) is a viable, radiation-free alternative for evaluating lymph nodes, with findings that closely parallel those of FDG-PET/CT, researchers in India have concluded.
PET utilization fluctuates between market segments
Wednesday, December 4 | 3:50 p.m.-4:00 p.m. | SSM17-06 | Room S505AB
PET utilization is growing among certain imaging specialties, but it's taking a hit among traditional users, according to research from Jefferson University Hospitals to be presented in this RSNA 2013 session.