An automated method for the extraction of regional data from PET images

Psychiatry Res. 2006 Jun 30;147(1):79-89. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2006.01.011. Epub 2006 Jun 21.


Manual drawing of regions of interest (ROIs) on brain positron emission tomography (PET) images is labour intensive and subject to intra- and inter-individual variations. To standardize analysis and improve the reproducibility of PET measures, we have developed image analysis software for automated quantification of PET data. The method is based on the individualization of a set of standard ROIs using a magnetic resonance (MR) image co-registered with the PET image. To evaluate the performance of this automated method, the software-based quantification has been compared with conventional manual quantification of PET images obtained using three different PET radiotracers: [(11)C]-WAY 100635, [(11)C]-raclopride and [(11)C]-DASB. Our results show that binding potential estimates obtained using the automated method correlate highly with those obtained by trained raters using manual delineation of ROIs for frontal and temporal cortex, thalamus, and striatum (global intraclass correlation coefficient >0.8). For the three radioligands, the software yields time-activity data that are similar (within 8%) to those obtained by manual quantification, eliminates investigator-dependent variability, considerably shortens the time required for analysis and thus provides an alternative method for accurate quantification of PET data.

MeSH terms

  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Electronic Data Processing / instrumentation*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Models, Biological*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Software