Site specific measurements of bone formation using [18F] sodium fluoride PET/CT
Dynamic positron emission tomography (PET) imaging with fluorine-18 labelled sodium fluoride ([18F]NaF) allows the quantitative assessment of regional bone formation by measuring the plasma clearance of fluoride to bone at any site in the skeleton. Today, hybrid PET and computed tomography (CT) dual-modality systems (PET/CT) are widely available, and [18F]NaF PET/CT offers a convenient noninvasive method of studying bone formation at the important osteoporotic fracture sites at the hip and spine, as well as sites of pure cortical or trabecular bone. The technique complements conventional measurements of bone turnover using biochemical markers or bone biopsy as a tool to investigate new therapies for osteoporosis, and has a potential role as an early biomarker of treatment efficacy in clinical trials. This article reviews methods of acquiring and analyzing dynamic [18F]NaF PET/CT scan data, and outlines a simplified approach combining venous blood sampling with a series of short (3- to 5-minute) static PET/CT scans acquired at different bed positions to estimate [18F]NaF plasma clearance at multiple sites in the skeleton with just a single injection of tracer.