J Cancer 2013; 4(7):524-530. doi:10.7150/jca.6259

Research Paper

Bone Windows for Distinguishing Malignant from Benign Primary Bone Tumors on FDG PET/CT

Colleen M. Costelloe1✉, Hubert H. Chuang2, Beth A. Chasen2, Tinsu Pan3, Patricia S. Fox4, Roland L. Bassett4, John E. Madewell1

1. Department of Diagnostic Radiology,
2. Department of Nuclear Medicine,
3. Department of Imaging Physics, and
4. Department of Biostatics, UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Blvd., Houston, TX 77030, USA


Objective. The default window setting on PET/CT workstations is soft tissue. This study investigates whether bone windowing and hybrid FDG PET/CT can help differentiate between malignant and benign primary bone tumors.

Materials and methods. A database review included 98 patients with malignant (n=64) or benign primary bone (n=34) tumors. The reference standard was biopsy for malignancies and biopsy or >1 year imaging follow-up of benign tumors. Three radiologists and/or nuclear medicine physicians blinded to diagnosis and other imaging viewed the lesions on CT with bone windows (CT-BW) without and then with PET (PET/CT-BW), and separate PET-only images for malignancy or benignity. Three weeks later the tumors were viewed on CT with soft tissue windows (CT-STW) without and then with PET (PET/CT-STW).

Results. Mean sensitivity and specificity for identifying malignancies included: CT-BW: 96%, 90%; CT-STW: 90%, 90%; PET/CT-BW: 95%, 85%, PET/CT-STW: 95%, 86% and PET-only: 96%, 75%, respectively. CT-BW demonstrated higher specificity than PET-only and PET/CT-BW (p=0.0005 and p=0.0103, respectively) and trended toward higher sensitivity than CT-STW (p=0.0759). Malignant primary bone tumors were more avid than benign lesions overall (p<0.0001) but the avidity of benign aggressive lesions (giant cell tumors and Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis) trended higher than the malignancies (p=0.08).

Conclusion. Bone windows provided high specificity for distinguishing between malignant and benign primary bone tumors and are recommended when viewing FDG PET/CT.

Keywords: FDG PET/CT, CT, primary bone tumor, bone window, soft tissue window.

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How to cite this article:
Costelloe CM, Chuang HH, Chasen BA, Pan T, Fox PS, Bassett RL, Madewell JE. Bone Windows for Distinguishing Malignant from Benign Primary Bone Tumors on FDG PET/CT. J Cancer 2013; 4(7):524-530. doi:10.7150/jca.6259. Available from http://www.jcancer.org/v04p0524.htm