Quality gaps in public pancreas imaging datasets: Implications & challenges for AI applications

Garima Suman, Anurima Patra, Panagiotis Korfiatis, Shounak Majumder, Suresh T. Chari, Mark J. Truty, Joel G. Fletcher, Ajit H. Goenka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Quality gaps in medical imaging datasets lead to profound errors in experiments. Our objective was to characterize such quality gaps in public pancreas imaging datasets (PPIDs), to evaluate their impact on previously published studies, and to provide post-hoc labels and segmentations as a value-add for these PPIDs. Methods: We scored the available PPIDs on the medical imaging data readiness (MIDaR) scale, and evaluated for associated metadata, image quality, acquisition phase, etiology of pancreas lesion, sources of confounders, and biases. Studies utilizing these PPIDs were evaluated for awareness of and any impact of quality gaps on their results. Volumetric pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PDA) segmentations were performed for non-annotated CTs by a junior radiologist (R1) and reviewed by a senior radiologist (R3). Results: We found three PPIDs with 560 CTs and six MRIs. NIH dataset of normal pancreas CTs (PCT) (n = 80 CTs) had optimal image quality and met MIDaR A criteria but parts of pancreas have been excluded in the provided segmentations. TCIA-PDA (n = 60 CTs; 6 MRIs) and MSD(n = 420 CTs) datasets categorized to MIDaR B due to incomplete annotations, limited metadata, and insufficient documentation. Substantial proportion of CTs from TCIA-PDA and MSD datasets were found unsuitable for AI due to biliary stents [TCIA-PDA:10 (17%); MSD:112 (27%)] or other factors (non-portal venous phase, suboptimal image quality, non-PDA etiology, or post-treatment status) [TCIA-PDA:5 (8.5%); MSD:156 (37.1%)]. These quality gaps were not accounted for in any of the 25 studies that have used these PPIDs (NIH-PCT:20; MSD:1; both: 4). PDA segmentations were done by R1 in 91 eligible CTs (TCIA-PDA:42; MSD:49). Of these, corrections were made by R3 in 16 CTs (18%) (TCIA-PDA:4; MSD:12) [mean (standard deviation) Dice: 0.72(0.21) and 0.63(0.23) respectively]. Conclusion: Substantial quality gaps, sources of bias, and high proportion of CTs unsuitable for AI characterize the available limited PPIDs. Published studies on these PPIDs do not account for these quality gaps. We complement these PPIDs through post-hoc labels and segmentations for public release on the TCIA portal. Collaborative efforts leading to large, well-curated PPIDs supported by adequate documentation are critically needed to translate the promise of AI to clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1001-1008
Number of pages8
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • Benchmarking
  • Bias
  • Deep learning
  • Metadata
  • Pancreatic carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


Dive into the research topics of 'Quality gaps in public pancreas imaging datasets: Implications & challenges for AI applications'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this