The purpose of this study was to investigate whether a correction for annihilation photon attenuation in small objects such as mice is necessary. The attenuation recovery for specific organs and subcutaneous tumors was investigated. A comparison between different attenuation correction methods was performed. Methods
: Ten NMRI nude mice with subcutaneous implantation of human breast cancer cells (MCF-7) were scanned consecutively in small animal PET and CT scanners (MicroPETTM
Focus 120 and ImTek’s MicroCATTM
II). CT-based AC, PET-based AC and uniform AC methods were compared. Results:
The activity concentration in the same organ with and without AC revealed an overall attenuation recovery of 9–21% for MAP reconstructed images, i.e.
, SUV without AC could underestimate the true activity at this level. For subcutaneous tumors, the attenuation was 13 ± 4% (9–17%), for kidneys 20 ± 1% (19–21%), and for bladder 18 ± 3% (15–21%). The FBP reconstructed images showed almost the same attenuation levels as the MAP reconstructed images for all organs. Conclusions:
The annihilation photons are suffering attenuation even in small subjects. Both PET-based and CT-based are adequate as AC methods. The amplitude of the AC recovery could be overestimated using the uniform map. Therefore, application of a global attenuation factor on PET data might not be accurate for attenuation correction.