Added value of semiquantitative analysis of brain FDG-PET for the differentiation between MCI-Lewy bodies and MCI due to Alzheimer’s disease

Federico Massa, Andrea Chincarini, Matteo Bauckneht, Stefano Raffa, Enrico Peira, Dario Arnaldi, Matteo Pardini, Marco Pagani, Beatrice Orso, Maria Isabella Donegani, Andrea Brugnolo, Erica Biassoni, Pietro Mattioli, Nicola Girtler, Ugo Paolo Guerra, Silvia Morbelli, Flavio Nobili

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: FDG-PET is an established supportive biomarker in dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), but its diagnostic accuracy is unknown at the mild cognitive impairment (MCI-LB) stage when the typical metabolic pattern may be difficultly recognized at the individual level. Semiquantitative analysis of scans could enhance accuracy especially in less skilled readers, but its added role with respect to visual assessment in MCI-LB is still unknown. Methods: We assessed the diagnostic accuracy of visual assessment of FDG-PET by six expert readers, blind to diagnosis, in discriminating two matched groups of patients (40 with prodromal AD (MCI-AD) and 39 with MCI-LB), both confirmed by in vivo biomarkers. Readers were provided in a stepwise fashion with (i) maps obtained by the univariate single-subject voxel-based analysis (VBA) with respect to a control group of 40 age- and sex-matched healthy subjects, and (ii) individual odds ratio (OR) plots obtained by the volumetric regions of interest (VROI) semiquantitative analysis of the two main hypometabolic clusters deriving from the comparison of MCI-AD and MCI-LB groups in the two directions, respectively. Results: Mean diagnostic accuracy of visual assessment was 76.8 ± 5.0% and did not significantly benefit from adding the univariate VBA map reading (77.4 ± 8.3%) whereas VROI-derived OR plot reading significantly increased both accuracy (89.7 ± 2.3%) and inter-rater reliability (ICC 0.97 [0.96–0.98]), regardless of the readers’ expertise. Conclusion: Conventional visual reading of FDG-PET is moderately accurate in distinguishing between MCI-LB and MCI-AD, and is not significantly improved by univariate single-subject VBA but by a VROI analysis built on macro-regions, allowing for high accuracy independent of reader skills.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Oct 15 2021


  • MCI with Lewy bodies
  • Semiquantitative tools
  • Volumetric regions of interest

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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