Why imaging data alone is not enough: AI-based integration of imaging, omics, and clinical data

  • Andreas Holzinger
  • Benjamin Haibe-Kains
  • Igor JurisicaEmail author
Original Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Advanced Image Analyses (Radiomics and Artificial Intelligence)


Artificial intelligence (AI) is currently regaining enormous interest due to the success of machine learning (ML), and in particular deep learning (DL). Image analysis, and thus radiomics, strongly benefits from this research. However, effectively and efficiently integrating diverse clinical, imaging, and molecular profile data is necessary to understand complex diseases, and to achieve accurate diagnosis in order to provide the best possible treatment. In addition to the need for sufficient computing resources, suitable algorithms, models, and data infrastructure, three important aspects are often neglected: (1) the need for multiple independent, sufficiently large and, above all, high-quality data sets; (2) the need for domain knowledge and ontologies; and (3) the requirement for multiple networks that provide relevant relationships among biological entities. While one will always get results out of high-dimensional data, all three aspects are essential to provide robust training and validation of ML models, to provide explainable hypotheses and results, and to achieve the necessary trust in AI and confidence for clinical applications.


Precision medicine Artificial intelligence Machine learning Decision support Integrative computational biology Network-based analysis Radiomics 



This study was funded in part by Ontario Research Fund (34876) to IJ. B.H.K. was supported by the Gattuso-Slaight Personalized Cancer Medicine Fund at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and the Artificial Intelligence and Microbiome Program supported by the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Author AH declares no conflict of interest. Author BHK declares no conflict of interest. Author IJ declares no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Medical Informatics / StatisticsMedical University GrazGrazAustria
  2. 2.Princess Margaret Cancer CentreUniversity Health NetworkTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Departments of Medical Biophysics and Computer ScienceUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  4. 4.Krembil Research InstituteUHNTorontoCanada
  5. 5.Institute of NeuroimmunologySlovak Academy of SciencesBratislavaSlovakia

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