PET and PET/CT imaging of skeletal metastases

Cancer Imaging. 2010 Jul 19;10(1):1-8. doi: 10.1102/1470-7330.2010.0022.


Bone scintigraphy augmented with radiographs or cross-sectional imaging, such as computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), has remained the commonest method to diagnose and follow up skeletal metastases. However, bone scintigraphy is associated with relatively poor spatial resolution, limited diagnostic specificity and reduced sensitivity for bone marrow disease. It also shows limited diagnostic accuracy in assessing response to therapy in a clinically useful time period. With the advent of hybrid positron emission tomography (PET)/CT scanners there has been an increasing interest in using various PET tracers to evaluate skeletal disease including [(18)F]fluoride (NaF) as a bone-specific tracer and [(18)F]fluorodeoxyglucose and [(18)F]choline as tumour-specific tracers. There is also early work exploring the receptor status of skeletal metastases with somatostatin receptor analogues. This review describes the potential utility of these tracers in the assessment of skeletal metastases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bone Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Bone Neoplasms / secondary
  • Contrast Media
  • Humans
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*


  • Contrast Media
  • Radiopharmaceuticals