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Oncologic Pathology in Biomedical Terminologies: Challenges for Data Integration
The domain of oncologic pathology is represented in several biomedical terminologies developed for epidemiology (e.g., ICD-O), clinical practice (e.g., SNOMED CT) and research (e.g., NCI Thesaurus). ICD-O, SNOMED CT (SNCT) and the NCI Thesaurus (NCIt) are all integrated in the NCI Metathesaurus and pairwise mappings have been created between some of these terminologies. The two major dimensions in the description of neoplasms are topography and morphology. These two dimensions are present in ICD-O and SNCT. The neoplasms themselves are represented in SNCT and NCIt as pre-coordinated terms, but not in ICD-O. The anatomy component (topography) is present in all three terminologies. The objective of this paper is to explore the degree to which the representations provided by the three terminologies are consistent. The consequences of inconsistencies on data integration are discussed.