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Cancer Inform. 2009 Feb 3;8:31-44.

Semantic integration of cervical cancer data repositories to facilitate multicenter association studies: the ASSIST approach.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Papageorgiou General Hospital, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece.


The current work addresses the unification of Electronic Health Records related to cervical cancer into a single medical knowledge source, in the context of the EU-funded ASSIST research project. The project aims to facilitate the research for cervical precancer and cancer through a system that virtually unifies multiple patient record repositories, physically located in different medical centers/hospitals, thus, increasing flexibility by allowing the formation of study groups "on demand" and by recycling patient records in new studies. To this end, ASSIST uses semantic technologies to translate all medical entities (such as patient examination results, history, habits, genetic profile) and represent them in a common form, encoded in the ASSIST Cervical Cancer Ontology. The current paper presents the knowledge elicitation approach followed, towards the definition and representation of the disease's medical concepts and rules that constitute the basis for the ASSIST Cervical Cancer Ontology. The proposed approach constitutes a paradigm for semantic integration of heterogeneous clinical data that may be applicable to other biomedical application domains.


association studies; cervical cancer; coding systems; data unification; semantic integration


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