Biomarker Localization, Analysis, Visualization, Extraction, and Registration (BLAzER) Methodology for Research and Clinical Brain PET Applications

Academic Article


  • Background: Tools for efficient evaluation of amyloid- and tau-PET images are needed in both clinical and research settings. Objective: This study was designed to validate a semi-automated image analysis methodology, called Biomarker Localization, Analysis, Visualization, Extraction, and Registration (BLAzER). We tested BLAzER using two different segmentation platforms, FreeSurfer (FS) and Neuroreader (NR), for regional brain PET quantification in participants in the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) dataset. Methods: 127 amyloid-PET and 55 tau-PET studies with volumetric MRIs were obtained from ADNI. The BLAzER methodology utilizes segmentation of MR images by FS or NR, then visualizes and quantifies regional brain PET data using FDA-cleared software (MIM), enabling quality control to ensure optimal registration and to detect segmentation errors. Results: BLAzER analysis required ∼5 min plus segmentation time. BLAzER using FS segmentation showed strong agreement with ADNI for global amyloid-PET standardized uptake value ratios (SUVRs) (r = 0.9922, p < 0.001) and regional tau-PET SUVRs across all Braak staging regions (r > 0.97, p < 0.001) with high inter-operator reproducibility (ICC > 0.97) and nearly identical dichotomization as amyloid-positive or -negative (2 discrepant cases out of 127). Comparing FS versus NR segmentation with BLAzER, global SUVRs were strongly correlated for amyloid-PET (r = 0.9841, p < 0.001), but were systematically higher (4% on average) with NR, likely due to more inclusion of white matter with NR-defined regions. Conclusions: BLAzER provides an efficient methodology for regional brain PET quantification. FDA-cleared components and visualization of registration reduce barriers between research and clinical applications.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Raman F; Grandhi S; Murchison CF; Kennedy RE; Landau S; Roberson ED; Mcconathy J
  • Start Page

  • 1241
  • End Page

  • 1257
  • Volume

  • 70
  • Issue

  • 4