Skeletal PET with 18F-fluoride: applying new technology to an old tracer

J Nucl Med. 2008 Jan;49(1):68-78. doi: 10.2967/jnumed.106.037200. Epub 2007 Dec 12.


Although (18)F-labeled NaF was the first widely used agent for skeletal scintigraphy, it quickly fell into disuse after the introduction of (99m)Tc-labeled bone-imaging agents. Recent comparative studies have demonstrated that (18)F-fluoride PET is more accurate than (99m)Tc-diphosphonate SPECT for identifying both malignant and benign lesions of the skeleton. Combining (18)F-fluoride PET with other imaging, such as CT, can improve the specificity and overall accuracy of skeletal (18)F-fluoride PET and probably will become the routine clinical practice for (18)F-fluoride PET. Although (18)F-labeled NaF and (99m)Tc-diphosphonate have a similar patient dosimetry, (18)F-fluoride PET offers shorter study times (typically less than 1 h), resulting in a more efficient workflow, improved patient convenience, and faster turnarounds of reports to the referring physicians. With the widespread availability of PET scanners and the improved logistics for the delivery of (18)F radiopharmaceuticals, prior limitations to the routine use of (18)F-fluoride bone imaging have largely been overcome. The favorable imaging performance and the clinical utility of (18)F-fluoride PET, compared with (99m)Tc-diphosphonate scintigraphy, support the reconsideration of (18)F-fluoride as a routine bone-imaging agent.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bone Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Bone Neoplasms / secondary
  • Bone and Bones / diagnostic imaging*
  • Fluorine Radioisotopes*
  • Humans
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals*
  • Sodium Fluoride*
  • Technetium Tc 99m Medronate
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed / methods


  • Fluorine Radioisotopes
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Sodium Fluoride
  • Technetium Tc 99m Medronate