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Driven by input from the scientific community, the Cancer Imaging Program (CIP) stands at the crossroad of two powerful scientific requisites: the need for cross-disciplinary research and the increase of inter-institutional data sharing. The Cancer Imaging Archive (TCIA) is building a research community focused on connecting cancer phenotypes to genotypes by providing clinical images matched to subjects from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA).


 began in 2006 as a three-year pilot jointly sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). The TCGA pilot project (focused initially on glioblastoma, ovary, and lung cancers) confirmed that an atlas of genomic changes could be constructed for specific cancer types. It also showed that national networks of research and technology teams working on related projects could pool their efforts, create an economy of scale, and develop an infrastructure for making the data publicly accessible


. The success of that pilot encouraged the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to invest in TCGA’s efforts to collect and characterize more than 20 additional tumor types and make findings freely accessible for researchers to download



The genomic, clinical and histopathology images from the project are available via NCI's Genomic Data Commons.  NCI's Cancer Imaging Program subsequently leveraged the agreements with TCGA Tissue Site Source institutions Sites to collect clinical diagnostic images for TCIA that match genomically analyzed tissue cases in the 20-plus cancer types that TCGA has characterized. 

Imaging Source Site (ISS) groups are created and governed by participants from institutions providing imaging data for a given cancer type. Modeled after TCGA’s analysis groups, these ISS groups have the opportunity to publish a marker paper for a given cancer type, as outlined in the publication policies below, to increase participation in building multi-institutional data sets into an open community resource. 

Publication Policies


from these subjects and make them available on TCIA.  By combining the imaging data from TCIA with the other data types collected by TCGA a research community focused on connecting cancer phenotypes to genotypes was formed, resulting in over one hundred peer-reviewed publications about these data.

Data Access

Radiology data for TCGA patients are hosted on TCIA.  Pathology images were collected prior to TCIA's involvement in the project, and are hosted on NCI's Genomic Data Commons along with the genomic and clinical data from these studies.  Use the links in the table to access each type of imaging data.


Tumor Type

LocationsModalitiesRadiology (Subjects)Pathology (Subjects)
TCGA-BLCABladder Endothelial CarcinomaBladderCT, CR, MR, PT, DX, Pathology120


TCGA-BRCABreast CancerBreastMR, MG, Pathology1391098
TCGA-CESCCervical Squamous Cell Carcinoma and Endocervical AdenocarcinomaCervixMR, Pathology54307
TCGA-COADColon AdenocarcinomaColonCT, Pathology25460
TCGA-ESCAEsophageal CarcinomaEsophagusCT, Pathology16183
TCGA-GBMGlioblastoma MultiformeBrainMR, CT, DX, Pathology262606
TCGA-HNSCHead and Neck Squamous Cell CarcinomaHead-NeckCT, MR, PT, RTSTRUCT, RTPLAN, RTDOSE, Pathology227520
TCGA-KICHKidney ChromophobeKidneyCT, MR, Pathology15113
TCGA-KIRCKidney Renal Clear Cell CarcinomaRenalCT, MR, CR, Pathology267537
TCGA-KIRPKidney Renal Papillary Cell CarcinomaRenalCT, MR, PT, Pathology33288
TCGA-LGGLow Grade GliomaBrainMR, CT, Pathology199515
TCGA-LIHCLiver Hepatocellular CarcinomaLiverMR, CT, PT, Pathology97377
TCGA-LUADLung AdenocarcinomaChestCT, PT, NM, Pathology69514
TCGA-LUSCLung Squamous Cell CarcinomaLungCT, NM, PT, Pathology37495
TCGA-OVOvarian Serous CystadenocarcinomaOvaryCT, MR, Pathology143590
TCGA-PRADProstate CancerProstateCT, PT, MR, Pathology14496
TCGA-READRectum AdenocarcinomaRectumCT, MR, Pathology3171
TCGA-SARCSarcomasChest-Abdomen-Pelvis, Leg, TSpineCT, MR, Pathology5261
TCGA-STADStomach AdenocarcinomaStomachCT, Pathology46440
TCGA-THCAThyroid CancerThyroidCT, PT, Pathology6506
TCGA-UCECUterine Corpus Endometrial CarcinomaUterusCT, CR, MR, PT, Pathology65560

Frederick National Lab Research Efforts

Imaging Source Site (ISS) Groups are being populated and were organized by the Cancer Imaging Informatics Lab within the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research.  The groups were governed by participants from institutions that have which provided imaging data to the archive for a given each TCGA cancer type. Modeled after the TCGA genomic analysis groups, ISS groups are given the opportunity were given a one year embargo window after 100 cases were accrued to publish a marker paper for a given cancer type per the guidelines in the table abovetype. This opportunity will generate increased participation in building these multi-institutional data sets as they become an open community resource. Current TCGA-BLCA source sites includeincreased incentive among source sites to contribute their patients' images, which would ultimately become a public resource to enable radiogenomic research. The ISS groups included:

TCGA Collections Publication Guidelines

Historically TCIA had implemented publication guidelines , derived from the policy outlined by TCGA, must be the The Cancer Genome Atlas, TCGA. These were followed in addition to the publication policy of the TCGA Data Portal publication policy

There are no limitations on publications containing analyses using TCGA-linked imaging data sets, if the data set meets one of the following three freedom-to-publish criteria:

  1. A marker paper has been published on that tumor type; or
  2. It has been 12 months since the authors’ DICOM data for 100 cases of a given tumor type have been published on TCIA; or
  3. The author receives specific approval from the TCGA ISS groups representing any relevant tumor types.

The specific status of each tumor data set is available on the Data Usage Policies and Restrictions page. Do not hesitate to contact with any questions.

  As of 10/30/2018 all cancer types are now available for use without any special restrictions.  Please be sure to follow TCIA's regular Data Usage Policies and Restrictions, and to also provide attribution recognizing the TCGA data collection efforts.  An example of a proper attribution is:

"The results <published or shown> here are in whole or part based upon data generated by the TCGA Research Network:"


The following links contain publications from the main TCGA project as well as their posted publication guidelines: