Accuracy and precision of radioactivity quantification in nuclear medicine images

Semin Nucl Med. 2012 May;42(3):208-18. doi: 10.1053/j.semnuclmed.2011.11.003.


The ability to reliably quantify activity in nuclear medicine has a number of increasingly important applications. Dosimetry for targeted therapy treatment planning or for approval of new imaging agents requires accurate estimation of the activity in organs, tumors, or voxels at several imaging time points. Another important application is the use of quantitative metrics derived from images, such as the standard uptake value commonly used in positron emission tomography (PET), to diagnose and follow treatment of tumors. These measures require quantification of organ or tumor activities in nuclear medicine images. However, there are a number of physical, patient, and technical factors that limit the quantitative reliability of nuclear medicine images. There have been a large number of improvements in instrumentation, including the development of hybrid single-photon emission computed tomography/computed tomography and PET/computed tomography systems, and reconstruction methods, including the use of statistical iterative reconstruction methods, which have substantially improved the ability to obtain reliable quantitative information from planar, single-photon emission computed tomography, and PET images.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods*
  • Humans
  • Nuclear Medicine / methods*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Radioactivity
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon