Experimental Multicenter and Multivendor Evaluation of the Performance of PET Radiomic Features Using 3-Dimensionally Printed Phantom Inserts

Elisabeth Pfaehler, Joyce van Sluis, Bram B.J. Merema, Peter van Ooijen, Ralph C.M. Berendsen, Floris H.P. van Velden, Ronald Boellaard

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The sensitivity of radiomic features to several confounding factors, such as reconstruction settings, makes clinical use challenging. To investigate the impact of harmonized image reconstructions on feature consistency, a multicenter phantom study was performed using 3-dimensionally printed phantom inserts reflecting realistic tumor shapes and heterogeneity uptakes. Methods: Tumors extracted from real PET/CT scans of patients with non-small cell lung cancer served as model for three 3-dimensionally printed inserts. Different heterogeneity pattern were realized by printing separate compartments that could be filled with different activity solutions. The inserts were placed in the National Electrical Manufacturers Association image-quality phantom and scanned various times. First, a list-mode scan was acquired and 5 statistically equal replicates were reconstructed. Second, the phantom was scanned 4 times on the same scanner. Third, the phantom was scanned on 6 PET/CT systems. All images were reconstructed using EANM Research Ltd. (EARL)-compliant and locally clinically preferred reconstructions. EARL-compliant reconstructions were performed without (EARL1) or with (EARL2) point-spread function. Images were analyzed with and without resampling to 2-mm cubic voxels. Images were discretized with a fixed bin width (FBW) of 0.25 and a fixed bin number (FBN) of 64. The intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) of each scan setup was calculated and compared across reconstruction settings. An ICC above 0.75 was regarded as high. Results: The percentage of features yielding a high ICC was largest for the statistically equal replicates (70%-91% for FBN; 90%-96% for FBW discretization). For scans acquired on the same system, the percentage decreased, but most features still resulted in a high ICC (FBN, 52%-63%; FBW, 75%-85%). The percentage of features yielding a high ICC decreased more in the multicenter setting. In this case, the percentage of features yielding a high ICC was larger for images reconstructed with EARL-compliant reconstructions: for example, 40% for EARL1 and 60% for EARL2 versus 21% for the clinically preferred setting for FBW discretization. When discretized with FBW and resampled to isotropic voxels, this benefit was more pronounced. Conclusion: EARL-compliant reconstructions harmonize a wide range of radiomic features. FBW discretization and a sampling to isotropic voxels enhances the benefits of EARL-compliant reconstructions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)469-476
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of nuclear medicine : official publication, Society of Nuclear Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


  • 18F-FDG PET/CT radiomic features
  • feature harmonization
  • image reconstruction

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