The Cancer Imaging Archive (TCIA): Maintaining and Operating a Public Information Repository

Abstract

The National Institutes of Health have placed significant emphasis on sharing of research data to support secondary research. Investigators have been encouraged to publish their clinical and imaging data as part of fulfilling their grant obligations. Realizing it was not sufficient to merely ask investigators to publish their collection of imaging and clinical data, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) created the open source National Biomedical Image Archive software package as a mechanism for centralized hosting of cancer related imaging. NCI has contracted with Washington University in Saint Louis to create The Cancer Imaging Archive (TCIA)—an open-source, open-access information resource to support research, development, and educational initiatives utilizing advanced medical imaging of cancer. In its first year of operation, TCIA accumulated 23 collections (3.3 million images). Operating and maintaining a high-availability image archive is a complex challenge involving varied archive-specific resources and driven by the needs of both image submitters and image consumers. Quality archives of any type (traditional library, PubMed, refereed journals) require management and customer service. This paper describes the management tasks and user support model for TCIA.

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Acknowledgments

This project has been funded in whole or in part with federal funds from the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, under Contract No. HHSN261200800001E. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Health and Human Services, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. The Washington University component is funded by SUBCONTRACT 10XS220: SAIC-F (PI: Prior) Image Archive Hosting.

We thank John Perry, TCIA consultant, who provided expert CTP and de-identification guidance throughout. We also thank our image curators Joan Moulton, Mary Wolfsberger, and Tracy Nolan for their detailed image-quality-assurance efforts.

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Correspondence to Kenneth Clark.

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Clark, K., Vendt, B., Smith, K. et al. The Cancer Imaging Archive (TCIA): Maintaining and Operating a Public Information Repository. J Digit Imaging 26, 1045–1057 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10278-013-9622-7

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Keywords

  • TCIA
  • NBIA
  • Cancer imaging
  • Image archive
  • Biomedical image analysis
  • Cancer detection