The effect of SUV discretization in quantitative FDG-PET Radiomics: the need for standardized methodology in tumor texture analysis

Ralph T. H. Leijenaar*, Georgi Nalbantov, Sara Carvalho, Wouter J. C. van Elmpt, Esther G. C. Troost, Ronald Boellaard, Hugo J. W. L. Aerts, Robert J. Gillies, Philippe Lambin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

249 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

FDG-PET-derived textural features describing intra-tumor heterogeneity are increasingly investigated as imaging biomarkers. As part of the process of quantifying heterogeneity, image intensities (SUVs) are typically resampled into a reduced number of discrete bins. We focused on the implications of the manner in which this discretization is implemented. Two methods were evaluated: (1) RD, dividing the SUV range into D equally spaced bins, where the intensity resolution (i.e. bin size) varies per image; and (2) RB, maintaining a constant intensity resolution B. Clinical feasibility was assessed on 35 lung cancer patients, imaged before and in the second week of radiotherapy. Forty-four textural features were determined for different D and B for both imaging time points. Feature values depended on the intensity resolution and out of both assessed methods, RB was shown to allow for a meaningful inter-and intra-patient comparison of feature values. Overall, patients ranked differently according to feature values-which was used as a surrogate for textural feature interpretation-between both discretization methods. Our study shows that the manner of SUV discretization has a crucial effect on the resulting textural features and the interpretation thereof, emphasizing the importance of standardized methodology in tumor texture analysis.
Original languageEnglish
Article number11075
JournalScientific Reports
Volume5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Aug 2015

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