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Background

Driven by input from its scientific community, the Cancer Imaging Program (CIP) finds itself at the junction of two powerful scientific requisites; the need for cross-disciplinary research and inter-institutional data-sharing to speed scientific discovery and reduce redundancy, and the need to provide imaging phenotype data to augment large scale genomic analysis. Image data collections on The Cancer Imaging Archive (TCIA) offer an opportunity to encourage a new and emerging research community focused on connecting cancer phenotypes to genotypes by making available clinical images matched to the The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). TCGA began in 2006 as a three-year pilot jointly sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and National Human Genome Research Institute. 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 a national network 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. Importantly, it proved that making the data freely available would enable distributed researchers to make and validate important discoveries. The success of that pilot led the National Institutes of Health to commit major new resources to TCGA to collect and characterize more than 20 additional tumor types.

As an opportunity to leverage that wealth of new biomedical knowledge, CIP committed substantial effort to gather and place the clinical diagnostic images that match the genomically analyzed TCGA tissue cases in The Cancer Imaging Archive. CIP encouraged an ad hoc image research team to study glioblastoma. The Cancer Imaging Archive now contains a TCGA GBM collection with images from more than 200 subjects whose molecular and clinical patient data can be accessed in the TCGA Data Portal. A multi-institutional team coordinated by Dr Adam Flanders of Thomas Jefferson University assembled researchers from across the country to create the TCGA Glioma Phenotype Research Group. In less than a year's time they have quickly demonstrated the advantages of such scientific collaboration by their rapid scientific progress with a number of publications and abstracts presented and in the pipeline for future venues.

Presently, CIP is developing agreements with many of the TCGA Tissue Site Source institutions to recover and place in the Image Archive collections of diagnostic images that match the genomic data now being deposited in the publically accessible TCGA Data Portal on cancers of the brain (GBM/LGG), breast (BRCA), renal (KIRC), lung (LUAD), and in due time, many of the future 20-plus tumors that TCGA will characterize as the program moves forward.  Imaging Source Site (ISS) Groups are being created and governed by participants from institutions that have provided imaging data to the archive for a given cancer type. Modeled after TCGA analysis groups, these groups are given the opportunity to publish a marker paper for a given cancer type per the aforementioned publication policy. It is hoped that this will generate increased participation in the building of these multi-institutional data sets that become an open community resource. 

Publication Policies

TCIA publication guidelines are derived from the policy outlined by the The Cancer Genome Atlas. These must be followed in addition to the publication policy of the TCGA Data Portal: http://cancergenome.nih.gov/abouttcga/policies/publicationguidelines.

There are no limitations on publications containing analyses using any TCGA-linked imaging data set 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. 12 months after 100 cases of a given tumor type have had their DICOM data published on TCIA; or
  3. The author receives specific approval from the TCGA Image Source Site (ISS) Groups representing any relevant tumor types.

Imaging Source Site (ISS) Groups will be populated and governed by participants from institutions that have provided imaging data to the archive for a given cancer type. Modeled after TCGA analysis groups, these groups are given the opportunity to publish a marker paper for a given cancer type per the aforementioned publication policy. It is hoped that this will generate increased participation in the building of these multi-institutional data sets that become an open community resource.

Specifically, the status of each tumor data set is available below. If you have questions, do not hesitate to contact cancerimagingarchive@mail.nih.gov.

Tumor Type

TCGA Data Portal Status

TCIA Data Status

TCGA-GBM

No restrictions; all data available without limitations

No restrictions; image data available without limitations

TCGA-KIRC

No restrictions; all data available without limitations

Publication limitations in place until 08/22/2013

TCGA-BRCA

No restrictions; all data available without limitations

Publication limitations in place until 10/16/2013

TCGA-LUAD

No restrictions; all data available without limitations

Projects have not reached 100 imaging cases; Please check with cancerimagingarchive@mail.nih.gov prior to any publication

TCGA-LGG

Publication limitations in place until 3/11/2014. Please check with tcga@mail.nih.gov prior to any publication

Projects have not reached 100 imaging cases; Please check with cancerimagingarchive@mail.nih.gov prior to any publication

TCGA-PRAD

Publication limitations in place until 3/11/2014. Please check with tcga@mail.nih.gov prior to any publication

Projects have not reached 100 imaging cases; Please check with cancerimagingarchive@mail.nih.gov prior to any publication

TCGA-OV

No restrictions; all data available without limitations

Projects have not reached 100 imaging cases; Please check with cancerimagingarchive@mail.nih.gov prior to any publication

Ongoing Research Efforts

Continuing these efforts CIP is working to encourage ad hoc multi-institutional research teams for analysis of these data sets as they are collected. Efforts have already begun or are being initiated for the following TCGA tissue types:

Please contact us at cancerimagingarchive@mail.nih.gov if you would like to discuss how we might help encourage your research, or if you'd like to join our public mailing lists to receive notifications of newly available data and other news items related to these data sets.  Points of contact for collaborating with the existing research groups can be found on their respective pages.

References

Included below are some posters and presentations which help summarize the CIP TCGA Radiology Initiative and its supporting components such as TCIA.

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

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