Nuclear medicine practice in Japan: a report of the ninth nationwide survey in 2022

Atsutaka Okizaki, Yoshihiro Nishiyama, Yoshitaka Inui, Hideki Otsuka, Kentaro Takanami, Masatoyo Nakajo, Koya Nakatani, Munenobu Nogami, Kenji Hirata, Yukito Maeda, Mana Yoshimura, Hiroshi Wakabayashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Subcommittee on Survey of Nuclear Medicine Practice in Japan has performed a nationwide survey of nuclear medicine practice every 5 years since 1982 to survey contemporary nuclear medicine practice and its changes over the years. The subcommittee sent questionnaires, including the number and category of examinations as well as the kind of the radiopharmaceuticals during the 30 days of June 2022 to all nuclear medicine institutes in Japan. The total numbers of them for the year 2022 were estimated depends on the 1-month data. A total of 1095 institutes responded to the survey, including 364 positron emission tomography (PET) centers. The recovery rate was 90.6%. The number of gamma cameras installed was 1299 in total, with 2.5% decrease in 5 years. Dual-head cameras and hybrid SPECT/CT scanners accounted for 83.8% and 35.5%, respectively. The number of single-photon tracer studies in 2022 was 1.11 million which means increase in 2.7% in 5 years. Bone scintigraphy was a leading examination (31.0%), followed by myocardial scintigraphy (27.1%) and cerebral perfusion study (23.8%) in order. The percentage of SPECT studies showed an increase from 63.5% in previous survey to 66.8% in this survey. PET centers have also increased from 389 to 412, as compared with the previous one. One hundred and twenty-two PET centers have installed one or two in-house cyclotrons. Increasing trends of the PET studies were observed from 1992 to 2017, the trend changed and PET studies showed 1.5% decrease in 5 years. 18F-FDG accounted for 98.6% (610,497 examinations). PET examinations using 11C-methionine, 13N-NH3 and 11C-PIB have decreased, with 1624, 2146 and 525 examinations, respectively in 2022. The total number of nuclear medicine examination was eventually increased by 1.0%. Therapies for pheochromocytoma or paraganglioma (PPGL) with 131I-MIBG and for neuroendocrine tumor with 177Lu-DOTA-TATE were newly started, however, a total number of targeted radionuclide therapy was decreased by 17.7% because 131I-radioiodine and 223Ra targeted therapies were decreased and supply of some radioisotopes was discontinued. 131I-radioiodine targeted therapy showed a decrease in 5 years (− 15.9%), including 4099 patients for thyroid cancer. The number of out-patient thyroid bed ablation therapy with 1110 MBq of 131I was also decreased to 1015 per year. The number of admission rooms specialized for radionuclide targeted therapy increased from 157 to 160. The number of 223Ra targeted therapies for castration-resistant metastatic prostate cancer (mCRPC) was 1041 patients. This survey was performed during COVID-19 pandemic, however, total number of nuclear medicine examinations was almost same as previous survey (+ 1.0%). Radionuclide therapies with 131I-MIBG and 177Lu-DOTA-TATE were newly started, and new radionuclide therapy will be available in future, therefore, the development of radionuclide therapy will be continued. We are convinced that this survey report is useful in understanding the current status of the nuclear medicine practice in Japan, and in devising the new strategy to strengthen a role of nuclear medicine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-327
Number of pages13
JournalAnnals of Nuclear Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 04-2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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