Characterizing artificial intelligence applications in cancer research: A latent dirichlet allocation analysis

Bach Xuan Tran, Carl A. Latkin, Noha Sharafeldin, Katherina Nguyen, Giang Thu Vu, Wilson W.S. Tam, Ngai Man Cheung, Huong Lan Thi Nguyen, Cyrus S.H. Ho, Roger C.M. Ho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Artificial intelligence (AI)-based therapeutics, devices, and systems are vital innovations in cancer control; particularly, they allow for diagnosis, screening, precise estimation of survival, informing therapy selection, and scaling up treatment services in a timely manner. Objective: The aim of this study was to analyze the global trends, patterns, and development of interdisciplinary landscapes in AI and cancer research. Methods: An exploratory factor analysis was conducted to identify research domains emerging from abstract contents. The Jaccard similarity index was utilized to identify the most frequently co-occurring terms. Latent Dirichlet Allocation was used for classifying papers into corresponding topics. Results: From 1991 to 2018, the number of studies examining the application of AI in cancer care has grown to 3555 papers covering therapeutics, capacities, and factors associated with outcomes. Topics with the highest volume of publications include (1) machine learning, (2) comparative effectiveness evaluation of AI-assisted medical therapies, and (3) AI-based prediction. Noticeably, this classification has revealed topics examining the incremental effectiveness of AI applications, the quality of life, and functioning of patients receiving these innovations. The growing research productivity and expansion of multidisciplinary approaches are largely driven by machine learning, artificial neural networks, and AI in various clinical practices. Conclusions: The research landscapes show that the development of AI in cancer care is focused on not only improving prediction in cancer screening and AI-assisted therapeutics but also on improving other corresponding areas such as precision and personalized medicine and patient-reported outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere14401
JournalJMIR Medical Informatics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2019


  • Artificial intelligence
  • Cancer
  • Global
  • Mapping
  • Scientometrics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management


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