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The importance of medical imaging for clinical decision making has been steadily increasing over the last four decades. Recently, there has also been an emphasis on medical imaging for preclinical decision making, i.e., for use in pharamaceutical and medical device development. There is also a drive towards quantification of imaging findings by using quantitative imaging biomarkers, which can improve sensitivity, specificity, accuracy and reproducibility of imaged characteristics used for diagnostic and therapeutic decisions. An important component of the discovery, characterization, validation and application of quantitative imaging biomarkers is the extraction of information and meaning from images through image processing and subsequent analysis. However, many advanced image processing and analysis methods are not applied directly to questions of clinical interest, i.e., for diagnostic and therapeutic decision making, which is a consideration that should be closely linked to the development of such algorithms. This article is meant to address these concerns. First, quantitative imaging biomarkers are introduced by providing definitions and concepts. Then, potential applications of advanced image processing and analysis to areas of quantitative imaging biomarker research are described; specifically, research into osteoarthritis (OA), Alzheimer's disease (AD) and cancer is presented. Then, challenges in quantitative imaging biomarker research are discussed. Finally, a conceptual framework for integrating clinical and preclinical considerations into the development of quantitative imaging biomarkers and their computer-assisted methods of extraction is presented.


Jeffrey William Prescott. Quantitative imaging biomarkers: the application of advanced image processing and analysis to clinical and preclinical decision making. Journal of digital imaging. 2013 Feb;26(1):97-108

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PMID: 22415112

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