Evaluation of changes in tumor size from images acquired by ultrasound (US), computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a common measure of cancer chemotherapy efficacy. Tumor size measurement based on either the World Health Organization (WHO) criteria or the Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST) is the only imaging biomarker for anti-cancer drug testing presently approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The aim of this paper was to design and test a quality assurance phantom with the capability of monitoring tumor size changes with multiple preclinical imaging scanners (US, CT and MRI) in order to facilitate preclinical anti-cancer drug testing.
Three phantoms (Gammex/UTHSCSA Mark 1, Gammex/UTHSCSA Mark 2 and UTHSCSA multimodality tumor measurement phantom) containing tumor-simulating test objects were designed and constructed. All three phantoms were scanned in US, CT and MRI devices. The size of test objects in the phantoms was measured from the US, CT and MRI images. RECIST, WHO and volume analyses were performed.
The smaller phantom size, simplified design and better test object CT contrast of the UTHSCSA multimodality tumor measurement phantom allowed scanning of the phantom in preclinical US, CT and MRI scanners compared with only limited preclinical scanning capability of Mark 1 and Mark 2 phantoms. For all imaging modalities, RECIST and WHO errors were reduced for UTHSCSA multimodality tumor measurement phantom (≤1.69 ± 0.33%) compared with both Mark 1 (≤ -7.56 ± 6.52%) and Mark 2 (≤ 5.66 ± 1.41%) phantoms. For the UTHSCSA multimodality tumor measurement phantom, measured tumor volumes were highly correlated with NIST traceable design volumes for US (R2 = 1.000, p < 0.0001), CT (R2 = 0.9999, p < 0.0001) and MRI (R2 = 0.9998, p < 0.0001).
The UTHSCSA multimodality tumor measurement phantom described in this study can potentially be a useful quality assurance tool for verifying radiologic assessment of tumor size change during preclinical anti-cancer therapy testing with multiple imaging modalities.