Reducing between scanner differences in multi-center PET studies

Neuroimage. 2009 May 15;46(1):154-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2009.01.057. Epub 2009 Feb 6.


This work is part of the multi-center Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), a large multi-site study of dementia, including patients having mild cognitive impairment (MCI), probable Alzheimer's disease (AD), as well as healthy elderly controls. A major portion of ADNI involves the use of [(18)F]-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) with positron emission tomography (PET). The objective of this paper is the reduction of inter-scanner differences in the FDG-PET scans obtained from the 50 participating PET centers having fifteen different scanner models. In spite of a standardized imaging protocol, systematic inter-scanner variability in PET images from various sites is observed primarily due to differences in scanner resolution, reconstruction techniques, and different implementations of scatter and attenuation corrections. Two correction steps were developed by comparison of 3-D Hoffman brain phantom scans with the 'gold standard' digital 3-D Hoffman brain phantom: i) high frequency correction; where a smoothing kernel for each scanner model was estimated to smooth all images to a common resolution and ii) low frequency correction; where smooth affine correction factors were obtained to reduce the attenuation and scatter correction errors. For the phantom data, the high frequency correction reduced the variability by 20%-50% and the low frequency correction further reduced the differences by another 20%-25%. Correction factors obtained from phantom studies were applied to 95 scans from normal control subjects obtained from the participating sites. The high frequency correction reduced differences similar to the phantom studies. However, the low frequency correction did not further reduce differences; hence further refinement of the procedure is necessary.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / instrumentation*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18