Towards quantitative PET/MRI: a review of MR-based attenuation correction techniques
Introduction Positron emission tomography (PET) is a fully quantitative technology for imaging metabolic pathways and dynamic processes in vivo. Attenuation correction of raw PET data is a prerequisite for quantification and is typically based on separate transmission measurements. In PET/CT attenuation correction, however, is performed routinely based on the available CT transmission data. Objective Recently, combined PET/magnetic resonance (MR) has been proposed as a viable alternative to PET/CT. Current concepts of PET/MRI do not include CT-like transmission sources and, therefore, alternative methods of PET attenuation correction must be found. This article reviews existing approaches to MR-based attenuation correction (MR-AC). Most groups have proposed MR-AC algorithms for brain PET studies and more recently also for torso PET/MR imaging. Most MR-AC strategies require the use of complementary MR and transmission images, or morphology templates generated from transmission images. We review and discuss these algorithms and point out challenges for using MR-AC in clinical routine. Discussion MR-AC is work-in-progress with potentially promising results from a template-based approach applicable to both brain and torso imaging. While efforts are ongoing in making clinically viable MR-AC fully automatic, further studies are required to realize the potential benefits of MR-based motion compensation and partial volume correction of the PET data.