Purpose: 18F-Sodium fluoride is a bone tracer with a high signal-to-noise ratio, but its dosimetry is higher than that of 99mTc-labeled phosphonates at the recommended activities. The study’s purpose was to determine whether the reduction by half of 18F-sodium fluoride-injected activity, mimicked by a short-timed reconstruction image, simulating a total dose less than or equal to that of 99mTc-hydroxymethane diphosphonate scintigraphy, had an impact on the accuracy of PET semiquantitative measurements and image quality.
Methods: Whole-body time-of-flight 18F-sodium fluoride PET/computed tomography (CT) images were acquired prospectively from 40 adult patients for detection of bone metastases. 18F-Sodium fluoride was administered according to the European Association of Nuclear Medicine (EANM) and Society of Nuclear Medicine (SNM) practice guidelines. From the acquired 1 min/bed position list-mode data, 30-s reconstructions were extracted. Measurements of maximum standard uptake value were recorded with a region of interest applied to the same location on the 1-min and 30-s images, which were displayed side by side, and were analyzed using Bland–Altman plots. A masked reading was performed by two senior nuclear medicine physicians who counted the foci of visually increased uptake.
Results: Bland–Altman plots showed an excellent agreement between the maximum standard uptake value measurements of the 60- and 30-s images. The paired Wilcoxon test results between the corresponding 60- and 30-s images read by masked readers A and B were not significant (P=0.15 and 0.19, respectively).
Conclusion: Reducing acquisition duration by half or injecting half of the activity recommended by the EANM and SNM practice guidelines can lead to 18F-sodium fluoride time-of-flight PET images of diagnostic quality, achieving a radiation dose less than or equal to that of 99mTc-labeled phosphonates.