18F-Fluoride positron emission tomography and positron emission tomography/computed tomography

Semin Nucl Med. 2007 Nov;37(6):462-9. doi: 10.1053/j.semnuclmed.2007.07.002.


(18)F-Fluoride is a positron-emitting bone-seeking agent, the uptake of which reflects blood flow and remodeling of bone. Assessment of (18)F-fluoride kinetics using quantitative positron emission tomography (PET) methods allows the regional characterization of lesions of metabolic bone diseases and the monitoring of their response to therapy. It also enables the assessment of bone viability and discrimination of uneventful and impaired healing processes of fractures, bone grafts and osteonecrosis. Taking advantage of the favorable pharmacokinetic properties of the tracer combined with the high performance of PET technology, static (18)F-fluoride PET is a highly sensitive imaging modality for detection of benign and malignant osseous abnormalities. Although (18)F-fluoride uptake mechanism corresponds to osteoblastic activity, it is also sensitive for detection of lytic and early marrow-based metastases, by identifying their accompanying reactive osteoblastic changes, even when minimal. The instant fusion of increased (18)F-fluoride uptake with morphological data of computed tomography (CT) using hybrid PET/CT systems improves the specificity of (18)F-fluoride PET in cancer patients by accurately differentiating between benign and malignant sites of uptake. The results of a few recent publications suggest that (18)F-fluoride PET/CT is a valuable modality in the diagnosis of pathological osseous conditions in patients also referred for nononcologic indications. (18)F-fluoride PET and PET/CT are, however, not widely used in clinical practice. The limited availability of (18)F-fluoride and of PET and PET/CT systems is a major factor. At present, there are not enough data on the cost-effectiveness of (18)F-fluoride PET/CT. However, it has been stated by some experts that (18)F-fluoride PET/CT is expected to replace (99m)Tc-MDP bone scintigraphy in the future.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bone Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Bone Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Bone Neoplasms / secondary
  • Female
  • Fluorides*
  • Fluorine Radioisotopes*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Myeloma / diagnostic imaging
  • Osteoma, Osteoid / diagnostic imaging
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Radiopharmaceuticals*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Whole Body Imaging


  • Fluorine Radioisotopes
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Fluorides