Real-Time US-18FDG-PET/CT Image Fusion for Guidance of Thermal Ablation of 18FDG-PET-Positive Liver Metastases: The Added Value of Contrast Enhancement

Giovanni Mauri, Nicolò Gennaro, Stefano De Beni, Tiziana Ierace, S. Nahum Goldberg, Marcello Rodari, Luigi Alessandro Solbiati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To assess the feasibility of US-18FDG-PET/CT fusion-guided microwave ablation of liver metastases either poorly visible or totally undetectable with US, CEUS and CT, but visualized by PET imaging. Materials and Methods: Twenty-three patients with 58 liver metastases underwent microwave ablation guided by image fusion system that combines US with 18FDG-PET/CT images. In 28/58 tumors, 18FDG-PET/CT with contrast medium (PET/CECT) was used. The registration technical feasibility, registration time, rates of correct targeting, technical success at 24 h, final result at 1 year and complications were analyzed and compared between the PET/CT and PET/CECT groups. Results: Registration was successfully performed in all cases with a mean time of 7.8 + 1.7 min (mean + standard deviation), (4.6 + 1.5 min for PET/CECT group versus 10.9 + 1.8 min for PET/CT group, P < 0.01). In total, 46/58 (79.3%) tumors were correctly targeted, while 3/28 (10.7%) and 9/30 (30%) were incorrectly targeted in PET/CT and PET/CECT group, respectively (P < 0.05). Complete ablation was obtained at 24 h in 70.0% of cases (n = 40 tumors), 23/28 (82.1%) in the PET/CECT group and 17/30 (56.7%) in the PET/CT group (P < 0.037). Fourteen tumors underwent local retreatment (11 ablations, 2 with resection and 1 with stereotactic body radiation therapy), while 4 tumors could not be retreated because of distant disease progression and underwent systemic therapy. Finally, 54/58 (93.1%) tumors were completely treated at 1 year. One major complication occurred, a gastrointestinal hemorrhage which required surgical repair. Conclusions: Percutaneous ablation of 18FDG-PET-positive liver metastases using fusion imaging of real-time US and pre-acquired 18FDG-PET/CT images is feasible, safe and effective. Contrast-enhanced PET/CT improves overall ablation accuracy and shortens procedural duration time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-68
Number of pages9
JournalCardioVascular and Interventional Radiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Fusion imaging
  • Liver
  • Metastasis
  • PET
  • Thermal ablation
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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