Measuring temporal stability of positron emission tomography standardized uptake value bias using long-lived sources in a multicenter network

Darrin Byrd, Rebecca Christopfel, Grae Arabasz, Ciprian Catana, Joel Karp, Martin A. Lodge, Charles Laymon, Eduardo G. Moros, Mikalai Budzevich, Sadek Nehmeh, Joshua Scheuermann, John Sunderland, Jun Zhang, Paul Kinahana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Positron emission tomography (PET) is a quantitative imaging modality, but the computation of standardized uptake values (SUVs) requires several instruments to be correctly calibrated. Variability in the calibration process may lead to unreliable quantitation. Sealed source kits containing traceable amounts of 68GeM68Ga were used to measure signal stability for 19 PET scanners at nine hospitals in the National Cancer Institute's Quantitative Imaging Network. Repeated measurements of the sources were performed on PET scanners and in dose calibrators. The measured scanner and dose calibrator signal biases were used to compute the bias in SUVs at multiple time points for each site over a 14-month period. Estimation of absolute SUV accuracy was confounded by bias from the solid phantoms' physical properties. On average, the intrascanner coefficient of variation for SUV measurements was 3.5%. Over the entire length of the study, single-scanner SUV values varied over a range of 11%. Dose calibrator bias was not correlated with scanner bias. Calibration factors from the image metadata were nearly as variable as scanner signal, and were correlated with signal for many scanners. SUVs often showed low intrascanner variability between successive measurements but were also prone to shifts in apparent bias, possibly in part due to scanner recalibrations that are part of regular scanner quality control. Biases of key factors in the computation of SUVs were not correlated and their temporal variations did not cancel out of the computation. Long-lived sources and image metadata may provide a check on the recalibration process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number011016
JournalJournal of Medical Imaging
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Quantitative positron emission tomography imaging
  • calibration
  • clinical trials
  • standardized uptake value

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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