Purpose: A technique is described for accurate quantification of the specific binding ratio (SBR) in [(123)I]FP-CIT SPECT brain images.
Methods: Using a region of interest (ROI) approach, the SBR is derived from a measure of total striatal counts that takes into account the partial volume effect. Operator intervention is limited to the placement of the striatal ROIs, a task facilitated by the use of geometrical template regions. The definition of the image for the analysis is automated and includes transaxial slices within a "slab" approximately 44 mm thick centred on the highest striatal signal. The reference region is automatically defined from the non-specific uptake in the whole brain enclosed in the slab, with exclusion of the striatal region. A retrospective study consisting of 25 normal and 30 abnormal scans-classified by the clinical diagnosis reached with the scan support-was carried out to assess intra- and inter-operator variability of the technique and its clinical usefulness. Three operators repeated the quantification twice and the variability was measured by the coefficient of variation (COV).
Results: The COVs for intra- and inter-operator variability were 3% and 4% respectively. A cutoff approximately 4.5 was identified that separated normal and abnormal groups with a sensitivity, specificity and diagnostic concordance of 97%, 92% and 95% respectively.
Conclusion: The proposed technique provides a reproducible and sensitive index. It is hoped that its independence from the partial volume effect will improve consistency in quantitative measurements between centres with different imaging devices and analysis software.