The aim of this work was to develop a method to manufacture oncological phantoms for quantitation purposes in 18F-FDG PET and DW-MRI studies. Radioactive and diffusion materials were prepared using a mixture of agarose and sucrose radioactive gels. T2 relaxation and diffusion properties of gels at different sucrose concentrations were evaluated. Realistic oncological lesions were created using 3D-printed plastic molds filled with the gel mixture. Once solidified, gels were extracted from molds and immersed in a low-radioactivity gel simulating normal background tissue. A breast cancer phantom was manufactured using the proposed method as an exploratory feasibility study, including several realistic oncological configurations in terms of both radioactivity and diffusion. The phantom was acquired in PET with 18F-FDG, immediately after solidification, and in DW-MRI the following day. Functional volumes characterizing the simulated BC lesions were segmented from PET and DW-MRI images. Measured radioactive uptake and ADC values were compared with gold standards. Phantom preparation was straightforward, and the time schedule was compatible with both PET and MRI measurements. Lesions appeared on 18F-FDG PET and DW-MRI images as expected, without visible artifacts. Lesion functional parameters revealed the phantom's potential for validating quantification methods, in particular for new generation hybrid PET-MRI systems.
- Journal Article