Characterization of a multi-pinhole molecular breast tomosynthesis scanner

Beien Wang*, Jarno van Roosmalen, Rob Kreuger, Jan Huizenga, Freek J. Beekman, Marlies C. Goorden

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
30 Downloads (Pure)


In recent years, breast imaging using radiolabelled molecules has attracted significant interest. Our group has proposed a multi-pinhole molecular breast tomosynthesis (MP-MBT) scanner to obtain 3D functional molecular breast images at high resolutions. After conducting extensive optimisation studies using simulations, we here present a first prototype of MP-MBT and evaluate its performance using physical phantoms. The MP-MBT design is based on two opposing gamma cameras that can image a lightly compressed pendant breast. Each gamma camera consists of a 250 × 150 mm2 detector equipped with a collimator with multiple pinholes focusing on a line. The NaI(Tl) gamma detector is a customised design with 3.5 mm intrinsic spatial resolution and high spatial linearity near the edges due to a novel light-guide geometry and the use of square PMTs. A volume-of-interest is scanned by translating the collimator and gamma detector together in a sequence that optimises count yield from the scan region. Derenzo phantom images showed that the system can reach 3.5 mm resolution for a clinically realistic 99mTc activity concentration in an 11-minute scan, while in breast phantoms the smallest spheres visible were 6 mm in diameter for the same scan time. To conclude, the experimental results of the novel MP-MBT scanner showed that the setup had sub-centimetre breast tumour detection capability which might facilitate 3D molecular breast cancer imaging in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Article number195010
Number of pages17
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Breast imaging
  • Gamma camera
  • Pinhole collimator


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