Access Publicly Available Imaging Data from the National Lung Screening Trial

More than 70,000 CT scans from the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) are now publicly available (no data access request needed).   

The data collection provides CT scans, some pathology slide images, and limited clinical data from approximately 26,000 heavy smokers who, at the start of the study, showed no signs, symptoms, or history of lung cancer. NLST followed participants for 7 years to compare two imaging methods for detecting lung cancer: low-dose CT scans and standard chest X-rays.

Researchers can explore the data through the following NCI data sharing resources:

  • NCI Imaging Data Commons: This cloud-based platform allows researchers to view the CT scans and a subset of the clinical data directly from a browser (no download needed) or connect the data to Google BigQuery tables and Cancer Cloud Resources for more high-powered analysis.
  • The Cancer Imaging Archive: Researchers can use this portal to download the CT scans, slide images, and a subset of the available clinical data. With more than 11 terabytes of data to download, the portal also provides links to resources to help manage the download of the files.
  • NCI Cancer Data Access System: Researchers can request the full NLST data set (images, clinical, protocol, and results data) through this system. Upon approval, researchers will be asked to pay for the shipment of a hard drive storing the data set.

Interested in the data science possibilities surrounding this data set? Stay tuned for an upcoming blog where we will share more details about this data set, the resources you can use to analyze it, and some of the exciting data science using this data to better detect and screen for lung cancer.

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