Embracing an integromic approach to tissue biomarker research in cancer: Perspectives and lessons learned

Gerald Li, Peter Bankhead, Philip D Dunne, Paul G O'Reilly, Jacqueline A James, Manuel Salto-Tellez, Peter Hamilton, Darragh G McArt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
350 Downloads (Pure)


Modern approaches to biomedical research and diagnostics targeted towards precision medicine are generating ‘big data’ across a range of high-throughput experimental and analytical platforms. Integrative analysis of this rich clinical, pathological, molecular and imaging data represents one of the greatest bottlenecks in biomarker discovery research in cancer and other diseases. Following on from the publication of our successful framework for multimodal data amalgamation and integrative analysis, Pathology Integromics in Cancer (PICan), this article will explore the essential elements of assembling an integromics framework from a more detailed perspective. PICan, built around a relational database storing curated multimodal data, is the research tool sitting at the heart of our interdisciplinary efforts to streamline biomarker discovery and validation. While recognizing that every institution has a unique set of priorities and challenges, we will use our experiences with PICan as a case study and starting point, rationalizing the design choices we made within the context of our local infrastructure and specific needs, but also highlighting alternative approaches that may better suit other programmes of research and discovery. Along the way, we stress that integromics is not just a set of tools, but rather a cohesive paradigm for how modern bioinformatics can be enhanced. Successful implementation of an integromics framework is a collaborative team effort that is built with an eye to the future and greatly accelerates the processes of biomarker discovery, validation and translation into clinical practice.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalBriefings in Bioinformatics
Early online date02 Jun 2016
Publication statusEarly online date - 02 Jun 2016


  • Integromics teamwork
  • Big data
  • Biomarkers
  • Omics
  • Digital pathology
  • Interdisciplinary teamwork


Dive into the research topics of 'Embracing an integromic approach to tissue biomarker research in cancer: Perspectives and lessons learned'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this