QCT of the femur: Comparison between QCTPro CTXA and MIAF Femur

Bone. 2019 Mar;120:262-270. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2018.10.016. Epub 2018 Oct 17.


QCT is commonly employed in research studies and clinical trials to measure BMD at the proximal femur. In this study we compared two analysis software options, QCTPro CTXA and MIAF-Femur, using CT scans of the semi-anthropometric European Proximal Femur Phantom (EPFP) and in vivo data from 130 Chinese elderly men and women aged 60-80 years. Integral (Int), cortical (Cort) and trabecular (Trab) vBMD, volume, and BMC of the neck (FN), trochanter (TR), inter-trochanter (IT), and total hip (TH) VOIs were compared. Accuracy was determined in the 5 mm wide central portion of the femoral neck of the EPFP. Nominal values were: cross-sectional area (CSA) 4.9 cm2, cortical thickness (C.Th) 2 mm, CortBMD 723 mg/cm3 and TrabBMD 100 mg/cm3. In MIAF the so-called peeled trabecular VOI was analyzed, which excludes subcortical bone to avoid partial volume artefacts at the endocortical border that artificially increase TrabBMD. For CTXA uncorrected, so called raw cortical values were used for the analysis. QCTPro and MIAF phantom results were: CSA 5.9 cm2 versus 5.1 cm2; C.Th 1.68 mm versus 1.92 mm; CortBMD 578 mg/cm3 versus 569 mg/cm3; and TrabBMD 154 mg/cm3 versus 104 mg/cm3. In vivo correlations (R2) of integral and trabecular bone parameters ranged from 0.63 to 0.96. Bland-Altman analysis for TH and FN TrabBMD showed that lower mean values were associated with higher differences, which means that TrabBMD differences between MIAF and CTXA are larger for osteoporotic than for normal patients, which can be largely explained by the inclusion of subcortical BMD in the trabecular VOI analyzed by CTXA in combination with fixed thresholds used to separate cortical from trabecular bone compartments. Correlations between CTXA corrected CortBMD and MIAF were negative, whereas raw data correlated positively with MIAF measurements for all VOIs questioning the validity of the CTXA corrections. The EPFP results demonstrated higher MIAF accuracy of cortical thickness and TrabBMD. Integral and trabecular bone parameters were highly correlated between CTXA and MIAF. Partial volume artefacts at the endocortical border artificially increased trabecular BMD by CTXA, especially for osteoporosis patients. With respect to volumetric cortical measurements with CTXA, the use raw data is recommended, because corrected data cause a negative correlation with MIAF CortBMD.

Keywords: CTXA; Cortical and trabecular bone; Hip; MIAF; QCT.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bone Density
  • Cancellous Bone / diagnostic imaging
  • Female
  • Femur / diagnostic imaging*
  • Hip / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phantoms, Imaging*
  • Software*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*