Influence of statistical fluctuation on reproducibility and accuracy of SUVmax and SUVpeak: A phantom study

Go Akamatsu, Yasuhiko Ikari, Hiroyuki Nishida, Tomoyuki Nishio, Akihito Ohnishi, Akira Maebatake, Masayuki Sasaki, Michio Senda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)


Standardized uptake values (SUVs) have been widely used in the diagnosis of malignant tumors and in clinical trials of tumor therapies as semiquantitative metrics of tumor 18F-FDG uptake. However, SUVs for small lesions are liable to errors due to partial-volume effect and statistical noise. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the reproducibility and accuracy of maximum and peak SUV (SUVmax and SUVpeak, respectively) of small lesions in phantom experiments. Methods: We used a body phantom with 6 spheres in a quarter warm background. The PET data were acquired for 1,800 s in list-mode, from which data were extracted to generate 15 PET images for each of the 60-, 90-, 120-, 150-, and 180-s scanning times. The SUVmax and SUVpeak of the hot spheres in the 1,800-s scan were used as a reference (SUVref, max and SUVref, peak). Coefficients of variation for both SUVmax and SUVpeak in hot spheres (CVmax and CVpeak) were calculated to evaluate the variability of the SUVs. On the other hand, percentage differences between SUVmax and SUVref, max and between SUVpeak and SUVref, peak were calculated for evaluation of the accuracy of SUV. We additionally examined the coefficients of variation of background activity and the percentage background variability as parameters for the physical assessment of image quality. Results: Visibility of a 10-mm-diameter hot sphere was considerably different among scan frames. The CVmax and CVpeak increased as the sphere size became smaller and as the acquisition time became shorter. SUVmax was generally overestimated as the scan time shortened and the sphere size increased. The SUVmax and SUVpeak of a 37-mm-diameter sphere for 60-s scans had average positive biases of 28.3% and 4.4%, compared with the reference. Conclusion: SUVmax was variable and overestimated as the scan time decreased and the sphere size increased. In contrast, SUVpeak was a more robust and accurate metric than SUVmax. Themeasurements of SUVpeak (or SUVpeak normalized to lean body mass) in addition to SUVmax are desirable for reproducible and accurate quantification in clinical situations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)222-226
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of nuclear medicine technology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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