The effect of SUV discretization in quantitative FDG-PET Radiomics: the need for standardized methodology in tumor texture analysis

Sci Rep. 2015 Aug 5;5:11075. doi: 10.1038/srep11075.


FDG-PET-derived textural features describing intra-tumor heterogeneity are increasingly investigated as imaging biomarkers. As part of the process of quantifying heterogeneity, image intensities (SUVs) are typically resampled into a reduced number of discrete bins. We focused on the implications of the manner in which this discretization is implemented. Two methods were evaluated: (1) R(D), dividing the SUV range into D equally spaced bins, where the intensity resolution (i.e. bin size) varies per image; and (2) R(B), maintaining a constant intensity resolution B. Clinical feasibility was assessed on 35 lung cancer patients, imaged before and in the second week of radiotherapy. Forty-four textural features were determined for different D and B for both imaging time points. Feature values depended on the intensity resolution and out of both assessed methods, R(B) was shown to allow for a meaningful inter- and intra-patient comparison of feature values. Overall, patients ranked differently according to feature values–which was used as a surrogate for textural feature interpretation–between both discretization methods. Our study shows that the manner of SUV discretization has a crucial effect on the resulting textural features and the interpretation thereof, emphasizing the importance of standardized methodology in tumor texture analysis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18 / chemistry
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18 / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Lung Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / metabolism*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / therapeutic use
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18