Visual analytics for the exploration of tumor tissue characteristics

Renata Georgia Raidou, U.A. van der Heide, Cuong Dinh, Ghazaleh Ghobadi, Jesper Follsted Kallehauge, Marcel Breeuwer, Anna Vilanova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Tumors are heterogeneous tissues consisting of multiple regions with distinct characteristics. Characterization of these intra-tumor regions can improve patient diagnosis and enable a better targeted treatment. Ideally, tissue characterization could be performed non-invasively, using medical imaging data, to derive per voxel a number of features, indicative of tissue properties. However, the high dimensionality and complexity of this imaging-derived feature space is prohibiting for easy exploration and analysis - especially when clinical researchers require to associate observations from the feature space to other reference data, e.g., features derived from histopathological data. Currently, the exploratory approach used in clinical research consists of juxtaposing these data, visually comparing them and mentally reconstructing their relationships. This is a time consuming and tedious process, from which it is difficult to obtain the required insight. We propose a visual tool for: (1) easy exploration and visual analysis of the feature space of imaging-derived tissue characteristics and (2) knowledge discovery and hypothesis generation and confirmation, with respect to reference data used in clinical research. We employ, as central view, a 2D embedding of the imaging-derived features. Multiple linked interactive views provide functionality for the exploration and analysis of the local structure of the feature space, enabling linking to patient anatomy and clinical reference data. We performed an initial evaluation with ten clinical researchers. All participants agreed that, unlike current practice, the proposed visual tool enables them to identify, explore and analyze heterogeneous intra-tumor regions and particularly, to generate and confirm hypotheses, with respect to clinical reference data.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-20
Number of pages10
JournalComputer Graphics Forum
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventEurographics Conference on Visualization (EuroVis) 2015 - Cagliari, Italy
Duration: 25 May 201526 May 2015


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