The potential use of big data in oncology

Stefan M. Willems*, Sanne Abeln, K. Anton Feenstra, Remco de Bree, Egge F. van der Poel, Robert J. Baatenburg de Jong, Jaap Heringa, Michiel W.M. van den Brekel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


In this era of information technology, big data analysis is entering biomedical sciences. But what is big data, where do they come from and what can we do with it? In this commentary, the main sources of big data are explained, especially in (head and neck) oncology. It also touches upon the need to integrate various sources of clinical, pathological and quality-of-life data. It discusses some initiatives in linking of such datasets on a nation-wide scale in the Netherlands. Finally, it touches upon important issues regarding governance, FAIRness of data and the need to bring into place the necessary infrastructures needed to fully exploit the full potential of big data sets in head and neck cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-12
Number of pages5
JournalOral Oncology
Early online date12 Sep 2019
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Dutch Cancer Foundation (KWF-project number UU-2017-8225 to SMW).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Author(s)


  • Big data
  • FAIR data
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Personalized medicine


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