Toward an integrated knowledge environment to support modern oncology

Cancer J. Jul-Aug 2011;17(4):257-63. doi: 10.1097/PPO.0b013e31822c390b.


Around the world, teams of researchers continue to develop a wide range of systems to capture, store, and analyze data including treatment, patient outcomes, tumor registries, next-generation sequencing, single-nucleotide polymorphism, copy number, gene expression, drug chemistry, drug safety, and toxicity. Scientists mine, curate, and manually annotate growing mountains of data to produce high-quality databases, while clinical information is aggregated in distant systems. Databases are currently scattered, and relationships between variables coded in disparate datasets are frequently invisible. The challenge is to evolve oncology informatics from a "systems" orientation of standalone platforms and silos into an "integrated knowledge environments" that will connect "knowable" research data with patient clinical information. The aim of this article is to review progress toward an integrated knowledge environment to support modern oncology with a focus on supporting scientific discovery and improving cancer care.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research
  • Databases as Topic
  • Humans
  • Knowledge Bases*
  • Medical Informatics / standards*
  • Medical Oncology / standards*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Therapeutics / statistics & numerical data*