Scientific reports

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

PMID 26242464


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) R(D), dividing the SUV range into D equally spaced bins, where the intensity resolution (i.e. bin size) varies per image; and (2) R(B), 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, R(B) 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.