Semiquantitative and visual analysis of FDG-PET images in pulmonary abnormalities

V. J. Lowe, J. M. Hoffman, D. M. DeLong, E. F. Patz, R. E. Coleman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

246 Scopus citations


FDG PET images of the thorax can be analyzed semiquantitatively using standardized uptake ratios (SUR) or activity ratios between abnormal and normal tissue, or qualitatively by visual comparison of the abnormality to normal structures. Standardized uptake ratio evaluation of FDG PET images has been shown to accurately differentiate benign from malignant focal pulmonary abnormalities. The accuracy of activity ratios and visual analysis have not been evaluated. We therefore prospectively analyzed FDG PET images in patients with pulmonary abnormalities to evaluate differences in analytic schemes. Methods: We evaluated 107 patients with an indeterminate focal abnormality on chest radiograph or CT with FDG PET between November 1991 and March 1993. The PET studies were evaluated using SUR, activity ratios and visual analysis. Activity ratios of maximum activity/cc and average activity/cc between regions of interest (ROIs) in abnormalities and normal lung on the contralateral side were calculated. Visual interpretations were graded on a five-point scale of two observers' confidence of malignancy. FDG uptake in the abnormality was also visually graded in comparison to mediastinal activity. Receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curve areas were generated for the SUR data, activity ratios and visual analysis. Results: Of 88 patients in which a conclusive diagnosis was made, 61 (69%) patients had malignancy and 27 (31%) patients had a benign process. SUR, maximum activity ratio, average activity ratio and visual interpretation ROC curve areas were 0.96, 0.95, 0.92 and 0.96, respectively. Conclusions: SUR, activity ratios and visual evaluation are each equally accurate methods of FDG PET data analysis in differentiating malignant from benign focal pulmonary abnormalities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1771-1776
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nuclear Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994


  • PET
  • fluorine-18-FDG
  • lung neoplasms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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