EBONI: A Tool for Automated Quantification of Bone Metastasis Load in PSMA PET/CT

J Nucl Med. 2018 Jul;59(7):1070-1075. doi: 10.2967/jnumed.117.203265. Epub 2017 Dec 14.


Prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) PET/CT has a high diagnostic accuracy for lesion detection in metastatic prostate cancer, including bone metastases. Novel therapeutic approaches require valid biomarkers for standardized disease staging and for evaluation of progression and therapy response. Here, we introduce EBONI (Evaluation of Bone Involvement), a software tool to automatically quantify the bone metastasis load in PSMA PET/CT. Lesion quantity, mean and maximum lesional SUV, z score, and percentage of affected bone volume are determined. EBONI is open source and freely available. Methods: To validate EBONI, the results of automated quantification of 38 PSMA PET/CT scans with different levels of bone involvement were compared with visual expert reading. The influence of SUV threshold and Hounsfield unit thresholds was analyzed. Results: A high correlation between bone lesion quantity as determined visually and automatically was found (SUVmax, r2 = 0.97; SUVmean, r2 = 0.88; lesion count, r2 = 0.97). The Hounsfield unit threshold had no significant influence, whereas an SUV threshold of 2.5 proved optimal for automated lesion quantification. The systematic error of false-positive tissue misclassification was low, occurred mainly around the salivary and lacrimal glands, and could easily be corrected. There were no false-negative ratings. Conclusion: EBONI analysis is robust, quick (<3 min per scan), and 100% reproducible. It allows rater-independent quantification of bone metastasis in metastatic prostate cancer. It provides lesion quantification equivalent to that of visual assessment, as well as providing complementary information. It can be easily implemented as an add-on to visual analysis of PSMA PET/CT scans and has the potential to reduce turnaround time.

Keywords: PSMA PET/CT; automated analysis; bone metastasis; image processing; prostate cancer; software-based rating.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Algorithms
  • Automation
  • Bone Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Bone Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Glutamate Carboxypeptidase II / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Male
  • Positron Emission Tomography Computed Tomography*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Software*


  • Glutamate Carboxypeptidase II