Using big data in pediatric oncology: Current applications and future directions

Semin Oncol. 2020 Feb;47(1):56-64. doi: 10.1053/j.seminoncol.2020.02.006. Epub 2020 Feb 29.


Pediatric cancer is a rare disease with a low annual incidence, which presents a significant challenge in being able to collect enough data to fuel clinical discoveries. Big data registry trials hold promise to advance the study of pediatric cancers by allowing for the combination of traditional randomized controlled trials with the power of larger cohort sizes. The emergence of big data resources and data-sharing initiatives are becoming transformative for pediatric cancer diagnosis and treatment. This review discusses the uses of big data in pediatric cancer, existing pediatric cancer registry initiatives and research, the challenges in harmonizing these data to improve accessibility for study, and building pediatric data commons and other important future endeavors.

Keywords: Big data; Data science; Data sharing; Informatics; Pediatric cancer; Pediatric oncology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Big Data*
  • Child
  • Databases, Factual
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination
  • Medical Informatics / methods
  • Medical Oncology / statistics & numerical data*
  • Medical Oncology / trends
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Pediatrics / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pediatrics / trends
  • Public Health Surveillance
  • Registries
  • Research
  • Survivorship