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


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
Publication statusPublished - 5 Aug 2015

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