The Language of Acronyms in Imaging - WDTM?

Acronyms are everywhere. We use them ubiquitously at work, on social media, and throughout healthcare and the life science. In some ways, as with Morse code or musical notation, acronyms make up a language of their own. And, TBH, it’s important to know the difference between a SPOC and a SPECT. (LOL.)

Read on for a useful list of common acronyms and abbreviations that apply to imaging. Feel free to take a screenshot or print it out and use it as a reference when you need it.

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Acronyms and Abbreviations In Imaging and Radiology



Adverse Event


American College of Radiology


American College of Radiology Imaging Network

ALARA As low as reasonably achievable - Principle for a radiation dose
BICR Blinded Independent Central Review
BOR Best Overall Response
CRA Contract Research Associate
CRF Case Report Form
CRO Contract Research Organization

Computed Tomography

CTN Clinical Trial Network
CR Complete Response
DCE-MRI Dynamic Contrast Enhanced MRI
DXA/DEXA  Dual-X-ray Absorptiometry or Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry - Spectral imaging of BMD, the most widely used bone density measurement technology

Digital imaging and communication


Data Monitoring Committee - A group of independent scientists who monitor the safety and scientific integrity of a clinical trial


Data and Safety Monitoring Board


Diffusion Weighted Imaging - A form of MR imaging often used for tumor characterization to measure cellular tissues


European Association of Nuclear Medicine


European Medicines Agency


US Food and Drug Administration




Field of View


Good Clinical Practice - International ethical and scientific quality standards for designing, conducting, monitoring, recording, auditing, analyzing, and reporting studies


Gastroenteropancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumor


The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) — Established national standards for electronic health care transactions and national identifiers for providers, health plans, and employers


Imaging Core Lab


Imaging Contract Research Organization


Institutional Review Board — An independent group of professionals designated to review and approve the clinical protocol, informed consent forms, study advertisements, and patient brochures, to ensure that the study is safe and effective for human participation. It is also the IRB's responsibility to ensure that the study adheres to the FDA's regulations.


Modified RECIST guidelines for immunotherapy


Modified RECIST


Magnetic Resonance Imaging

MRI Sequences A number of radiofrequency pulses/gradients resulting in a set of images with a particular appearance (T1, T2, T2* [star], FSE – Fast spin echo, etc.)
NE Not Evaluable
NET Neuroendocrine Tumor
ORR Objective Response Rate
PACS Picture Archiving and Communications Systems
PD Progressive Disease
PERCIST Positron Emission Tomography Response Criteria in Solid Tumors
PET Positron Emission Tomography
PFS Progression Free Survival
PI  Principal Investigator
PR Partial Response 
PRRT Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Therapy - A form of targeted radiopharmaceutical cancer therapy
QC  Quality Control - Verification of images against given criteria. May be automatic or manual
RANO Response Assessment Neuro-Oncology
RECIST Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors - Used to measure tumor size in cancer patients
ROI Region of Interest
SD Stable Disease
SNMMI Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
SOP Standard Operating Procedure
SPECT Single Photon Emission Computerized Tomography - Nuclear medicine procedure using a gamma camera to provide cross-sectional 3D imaging information
SUV  Standard Uptake Value - a dimensionless ratio of the concentration of radiopharmaceutical in a volume of tissues in microcuries
TAT Turn Around Time
ToF TIme of Flight
TTP Time to Progression
TTR Time to Response
VNA  Vendor Neutral Archive - a 21st-century medical imaging technology that allows diverse images to be stored in a standard format
VOI Volume of Interest


The Role of Acronyms in Imaging

Many of our posts define the above acronyms and detail the roles they play in clinical trial imaging. A few months back, we discussed the importance of imaging in clinical trial CROs — or ICROs (Imaging Contract Research Organizations). And ICYMI, please catch up on RANO, RECIST, and PRRT, FWIW.


WDTM (What does that mean?); TBH (To be honest); LOL (Laugh out loud); ICYMI (In case you missed it); FWIW (For what it’s worth).

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