ROC study and SUV threshold using quantitative multi-modal SPECT for bone imaging

A. H. Vija, P. A. Bartenstein, J. W. Froelich, T. Kuwert, H. Macapinlac, Cory P Daignault, N. Gowda, O. Hadjiev, J. Hephzibah, P. Huang, H. Ilhan, A. Jessop, M. Cachovan, J. Ma, X. Ding, D. Spence, G. Platsch, Z. Szabo

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15 Scopus citations


Background: We investigated the clinical performance of a quantitative multi-modal SPECT/CT reconstruction platform for yielding radioactivity concentrations of bone imaging with 99mTc-methylene diphosphonate (MDP) or 99mTc-dicarboxypropane diphosphonate (DPD). The novel reconstruction incorporates CT-derived tissue information while preserving the delineation of tissue boundaries. We assessed image-based reader concordance and confidence, and determined lesion classification and SUV thresholds from ROC analysis. Methods: Seventy-two cancer patients were scanned at three US and two German clinical sites, each contributing two experienced board-certified nuclear medicine physicians as readers. We compared four variants of the reconstructed data resulting from the Flash3D (F3D) and the xSPECT Bone™ (xB) iterative reconstruction methods and presented images to the readers with and without a fused CT, resulting in four combinations. We used an all-or-none approach for inclusion, compiling results only when a reader completed all reads in a subset. After the final read, we conducted a “surrogate truth” reading, presenting all data to each reader. For any remaining discordant lesions, we conducted a consensus read. We next undertook ROC analysis to determine SUV thresholds for differentiating benign and lesional uptake. Results: On a five-point rating scale of image quality, xB was deemed better by almost two points in resolution and one point better in overall acceptance compared to F3D. The absolute agreement of the rendered decision between the nine readers was significantly higher with CT information either inside the reconstruction (xB, xBCT) or simply through image fusion (F3DCT): 0.70 (xBCT), 0.67 (F3DCT), 0.64 (xB), and 0.46 (F3D). The confidence level to characterize the lesion was significantly higher (3.03x w/o CT, 1.32x w/CT) for xB than for F3D. There was high correlation between xB and F3D scores for lesion detection and classification, but lesion detection confidence was 41% higher w/o CT, and 21% higher w/CT for xB compared to F3D. Without CT, xB had 6.6% higher sensitivity, 7.1% higher specificity, and 6.9% greater AUC compared to F3D, and similarly with CT-fusion. The overall SUV-criterion (SUVc) of xB (12) exceeded that for xSPECT Quant™ (xQ; 9), an approach not using the tissue delineation of xB. SUV critical numbers depended on lesion volume and location. For non-joint lesions > 6 ml, the AUC for xQ and xB was 94%, with SUVc > 9.28 (xQ) or > 9.68 (xB); for non-joint lesions ≤ 6 ml, AUCs were 81% (xQ) and 88% (xB), and SUVc > 8.2 (xQ) or > 9.1 (xB). For joint lesions, the AUC was 80% (xQ) and 83% (xB), with SUVc > 8.61 (xQ) or > 13.4 (xB). Conclusion: The incorporation of high-resolution CT-based tissue delineation in SPECT reconstruction (xSPECT Bone) provides better resolution and detects smaller lesions (6 ml), and the CT component facilitates lesion characterization. Our approach increases confidence, concordance, and accuracy for readers with a wide range of experience. The xB method retained high reading accuracy, despite the unfamiliar image presentation, having greatest impact for smaller lesions, and better localization of foci relative to bone anatomy. The quantitative assessment yielded an SUV-threshold for sensitively distinguishing benign and malignant lesions. Ongoing efforts shall establish clinically usable protocols and SUV thresholds for decision-making based on quantitative SPECT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number10
JournalEuropean Journal of Hybrid Imaging
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, The Author(s).


  • AUC
  • Bone imaging
  • Concordance
  • DPD
  • Diphosphonate
  • MDP
  • Quantitative SPECT
  • ROC
  • SUV
  • Tc99m
  • xSPECT bone
  • xSPECT quant


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