European Radiology

, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 930–939 | Cite as

Recent developments of dual-energy CT in oncology

  • David Simons
  • Marc Kachelrieß
  • Heinz-Peter Schlemmer
Computed Tomography


Dual-energy computed tomography (DECT) can amply contribute to support oncological imaging: the DECT technique offers promising clinical applications in oncological imaging for tumour detection and characterisation while concurrently reducing the radiation dose. Fast image acquisition at two different X-ray energies enables the determination of tissue- or material-specific features, the calculation of virtual unenhanced images and the quantification of contrast medium uptake; thus, tissue can be characterised and subsequently monitored for any changes during treatment. DECT is already widely used, but its potential in the context of oncological imaging has not been fully exploited yet. The technology is the subject of ongoing innovation and increasingly with respect to its clinical potential, particularly in oncology. This review highlights recent state-of-the-art DECT techniques with a strong emphasis on ongoing DECT developments relevant to oncologic imaging, and then focuses on clinical DECT applications, especially its prospective uses in areas of oncological imaging.

Key Points

Dual-energy CT (DECT) offers fast, robust, quantitative and functional whole-body imaging.

DECT provides improved tumour detection and more detailed tissue differentiation and characterisation.

DECT affords therapy monitoring with complementary information and reduced radiation dose.

The use of DECT in oncology is of increasing clinical importance.

The potential of DECT in oncology has not been fully exploited yet.


Computed tomography Dual-energy CT Oncology Oncologic imaging Cancer imaging 



Dual-energy computed tomography


Dual-source computed tomography


Field of measurement


Gastrointestinal stromal tumour


Hepatocellular carcinoma




Magnetic resonance imaging


Non-small cell lung carcinoma


Squamous cell carcinoma


Single-photon emission computed tomography


Virtual non-contrast



Cooperation with Siemens AG, Germany. This includes a specific collaboration agreement with the aim of a joint collaboration in the field of CT research in oncology as well as consultancies within the Siemens Advisory Board on oncologic imaging.


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Copyright information

© European Society of Radiology 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Simons
    • 1
  • Marc Kachelrieß
    • 2
  • Heinz-Peter Schlemmer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Radiology, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ)HeidelbergGermany
  2. 2.Department of Medical Physics in Radiology, Division of X-ray Imaging and CT, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ)HeidelbergGermany

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