Performance of Principal Component Analysis and Independent Component Analysis with Respect to Signal Extraction from Noisy Positron Emission Tomography Data - a Study on Computer Simulated Images

Pasha Razifar*, 1, 2, Hamid Hamed Muhammed3, Fredrik Engbrant4, Per-Edvin Svensson4, Johan Olsson4, Ewert Bengtsson4, Bengt Långström5, Mats Bergström6
1 Molecular Imaging & CT Research, GE Healthcare, WI 53188, Waukesha, USA
2 Uppsala Applied Science Laboratory, GE Healthcare, SE-752 28, Uppsala, Sweden
3 Department of Information Technology, Uppsala University, SE-751 05 Uppsala, Sweden
4 Centre for Image Analysis, Uppsala University, SE-751 05 Uppsala
5 Uppsala Imanet, GE Healthcare, SE-751 85 Uppsala, Sweden
6 Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences, Uppsala Biomedical Centre, SE-751 24 Uppsala, Sweden

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© Razifar et al; Licensee Bentham Open

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Uppsala Applied Science Laboratory, GE Healthcare, SE-752 28, Uppsala, Sweden; E-mail:


Multivariate image analysis tools are used for analyzing dynamic or multidimensional Positron Emission Tomography, PET data with the aim of noise reduction, dimension reduction and signal separation. Principal Component Analysis is one of the most commonly used multivariate image analysis tools, applied on dynamic PET data. Independent Component Analysis is another multivariate image analysis tool used to extract and separate signals. Because of the presence of high and variable noise levels and correlation in the different PET images which may confound the multivariate analysis, it is essential to explore and investigate different types of pre-normalization (transformation) methods that need to be applied, prior to application of these tools. In this study, we explored the performance of Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and Independent Component Analysis (ICA) to extract signals and reduce noise, thereby increasing the Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) in a dynamic sequence of PET images, where the features of the noise are different compared with some other medical imaging techniques. Applications on computer simulated PET images were explored and compared. Application of PCA generated relatively similar results, with some minor differences, on the images with different noise characteristics. However, clear differences were seen with respect to the type of pre-normalization. ICA on images normalized using two types of normalization methods also seemed to perform relatively well but did not reach the improvement in SNR as PCA. Furthermore ICA seems to have a tendency under some conditions to shift over information from IC1 to other independent components and to be more sensitive to the level of noise. PCA is a more stable technique than ICA and creates better results both qualitatively and quantitatively in the simulated PET images. PCA can extract the signals from the noise rather well and is not sensitive to type of noise, magnitude and correlation, when the input data are correctly handled by a proper pre-normalization. It is important to note that PCA as inherently a method to separate signal information into different components could still generate PC1 images with improved SNR as compared to mean images.