QIBA-EARL Collaboration Improves PET/CT Conformance

Standardizing imaging procedures ensures reliable and reproducible quantitative imaging

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A collaboration by the Quantitative Imaging Biomarker Alliance (QIBA) of RSNA and EARL, an initiative of the European Association of Nuclear Medicine (EANM), is making inroads into international PET/CT harmonization. Nine clinical sites across Europe and Japan – all EARL-accredited for FDG-PET/CT imaging – have successfully passed the conformance test for the QIBA FDG-PET/CT Profile.


These centers are not only conducting best-practice FDG-PET/CT imaging, but also providing high-quality quantitative imaging to their patients. The uptake of the radiopharmaceutical can be measured reliably and reproducibly at these centers of excellence. This could help many cancer patients and those with COVID-19 or long COVID.


“Standardizing and harmonizing imaging procedures are essential for reliable and reproducible quantitative imaging across scanners, imaging sites and time,” said QIBA vice chair Gudrun Zahlmann, PhD. “The international collaboration between EARL and QIBA is an important step in this direction.”


Launched by RSNA in 2007, QIBA aims to improve the value and practicality of quantitative imaging biomarkers by reducing variability across devices, sites, patients, and time and to unite researchers, health care professionals and industry to advance quantitative imaging and the use of imaging biomarkers in clinical trials and clinical practice.


EANM, with its central role in the scientific community, constitutes the umbrella organization for nuclear medicine in Europe. In 2006, the leadership of the EANM launched EARL as an initiative to promote multi-center nuclear medicine and research. Through EARL’s accreditation program to harmonize and standardize imaging in clinical trials, it enhances the comparability of data acquired by molecular imaging, and therewith intends to boost molecular imaging to become a standard modality in future clinical medicine and research.


In August 2020, QIBA and EARL signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on PET/CT scanner harmonization and the wider application of PET/CT quantification in nuclear medicine imaging in clinical trials and clinical practice. The QIBA and EARL collaboration continues to get more quantitative imaging harmonization applied internationally.


“EARL and QIBA have common goals and a shared vision for the field,” said Iva Hristova, EARL program director. “The first common pilot study was a great success, and the next, larger one is in the making. We are looking forward to continuing our work together.”


The groups plan to work with many more EARL-accredited sites to achieve imaging excellence, and to expand to additional radiotracers beyond FDG.


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