Image-retrieval System Aids Cervical Cancer Studies

Xue Z, Long LR, Antani SK, Jeronimo J, Thoma GR
SPIE Newsroom. April 2009

Abstract:
Cervical cancer is the second-most common cancer affecting women worldwide. Cervicographic images (cervigrams) taken during gynecological exams (see Figure 1) are important tools for diagnosis and research of the disease. The US National Library of Medicine (NLM), in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute (NCI), is creating a large repository with about 100,000 cervigrams and related text and visual clinical data. The information was collected during two major NCI-funded projects, Guanacaste and ALTS (ASCUS-LSIL Triage Study). NLM, assisted by gynecological experts, has been developing a multimedia-database tool (MDT) for text-based searches. Though valuable, it is deficient for retrieving images with particular visual characteristics, such as cervical lesions of specific color, texture, size, or location. This has motivated research and development in content-based, image-retrieval (CBIR) techniques. Complementary to MDT, CBIR searches may become important for accessing the Guanacaste and ALTS data and studying the visual precursors to cervical cancer.