Review Article

European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging

, Volume 37, Issue 10, pp 1959-1985

First online:

A review on the clinical uses of SPECT/CT

  • Giuliano MarianiAffiliated withRegional Center of Nuclear Medicine, University of Pisa Medical School Email author 
  • , Laura BruselliAffiliated withRegional Center of Nuclear Medicine, University of Pisa Medical School
  • , Torsten KuwertAffiliated withClinic of Nuclear Medicine, Friedrich-Alexander-University
  • , Edmund E. KimAffiliated withNuclear Medicine Service, MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • , Albert FlotatsAffiliated withHospital de Sant Pau, Nuclear Medicine Department, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
  • , Ora IsraelAffiliated withDepartment of Nuclear Medicine, Rambam Health Care Campus
  • , Maurizio DondiAffiliated withNuclear Medicine Section, Division of Human Health, International Atomic Energy Agency
  • , Naoyuki WatanabeAffiliated withNuclear Medicine Section, Division of Human Health, International Atomic Energy AgencyDepartment of Radiological Technology, Gunma Prefectural College of Health Sciences

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In the era when positron emission tomography (PET) seems to constitute the most advanced application of nuclear medicine imaging, still the conventional procedure of single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) is far from being obsolete, especially if combined with computed tomography (CT). In fact, this dual modality imaging technique (SPECT/CT) lends itself to a wide variety of useful diagnostic applications whose clinical impact is in most instances already well established, while the evidence is growing for newer applications. The increasing availability of new hybrid SPECT/CT devices with advanced technology offers the opportunity to shorten acquisition time and to provide accurate attenuation correction and fusion imaging. In this review we analyse and discuss the capabilities of SPECT/CT for improving sensitivity and specificity in the imaging of both oncological and non-oncological diseases. The main advantages of SPECT/CT are represented by better attenuation correction, increased specificity, and accurate depiction of the localization of disease and of possible involvement of adjacent tissues. Endocrine and neuroendocrine tumours are accurately localized and characterized by SPECT/CT, as also are solitary pulmonary nodules and lung cancers, brain tumours, lymphoma, prostate cancer, malignant and benign bone lesions, and infection. Furthermore, hybrid SPECT/CT imaging is especially suited to support the increasing applications of minimally invasive surgery, as well as to precisely define the diagnostic and prognostic profile of cardiovascular patients. Finally, the applications of SPECT/CT to other clinical disorders or malignant tumours is currently under extensive investigation, with encouraging results in terms of diagnostic accuracy.


SPECT/CT Hybrid imaging Attenuation correction Diagnostic specificity Localization and extent of disease Malignant and benign disorders