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This chapter describes how to get started using NBIA. 

Topics in this chapter include:

Introduction to NBIA

NBIA provides the cancer research and medical community, industry, and academia access to imaging archives that can be used for many purposes, including the potential to assist in the development and validation of analytical software tools supporting these functions:

  • Lesion detection and classification software
  • Accelerated diagnostic imaging decision
  • Quantitative imaging assessment of drug response

The archive provides access to imaging resources that improve the use of imaging in today's cancer research and practice. This access increases the efficiency and reproducibility of imaging cancer detection and diagnosis, leverages imaging to provide an objective assessment of therapeutic response, and ultimately enables the development of imaging resources that will lead to improved clinical decision support.

Clinical trials, physicians and other researchers submit images to NBIA using the CTP (Clinical Trial Processing) software. Any potential user can then access NBIA to search for and download images and associated annotation files.

Images are stored in the medical image standard, Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM). A DICOM file stores the digital image along with a series of tags that contain metadata about the image such as patient ID, study ID, patient weight, anatomic site, and so forth. More information about DICOM Exit Disclaimer logo

Refresh button

The NBIA application does not support the refresh button. You are encouraged to refrain from using it when in the application.

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Registering a New User

To access both the NBIA wiki and the archive of DICOM images, you must follow these steps to register as a new user.

  1. On the NBIA welcome page, click the Register Now link in the Register Now panel as shown below.
    Register Now
    The legal provisions page appears.
  2. Review the text on the page and click the link at the bottom to indicate your agreement and continue.
    The registration form appears. 
    User Registration page
    The legal provisions page appears.
  3. Enter information for the new user. Required fields are preceded by an asterisk. Do not include special characters in your username, but your password can have special characters.
  4. Click Register to continue or Cancel to return to the homepage.
    The NBIA administrator reviews your registration and creates the new account. Once you confirm the account registration, your account is registered. For more information, see Creating a New NBIA User.

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Using NBIA Without Logging In

You do not have to log in to access public data in NBIA. Simply begin to use the features on the Welcome page.

You can use the search function as a "guest" without logging in. All data that NBIA returns without being logged in is public. As a guest, you can add data to the data basket. For more information, see Working with the Data Basket.

If you are not logged into the application, some functions are unavailable; these are saving a search query, viewing saved queries, viewing query histories, and managing saved queries. You also cannot download more than 3 gigabytes of data at one time.

If the application is configured to enable the guest account access, the login section will be "hidden" by the login link by default. Additionally, you should be able to see the Search Image link on the home page.

Bypassing Login

In some cases of local installation, the decision may have been made not to enable public data access without login. If the application is configured to disable the guest account access, the login section is "expanded" by default. If that's the case, there is no way for the user to bypass login and perform tasks.

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Logging into NBIA

Open the NBIA data portal. The welcome page appears.

If you do not have a User ID or password, click Register Now to apply for a user account. For more information, see Registering a New User.

If you have already registered, perform the following steps to log in.

  1. In the User Login panel, enter your User ID and password.
    User Login dialog box
  2. Click Login. If your login is successful, the data portal appears.


    NBIA uses popups. To prevent problems accessing the application, in your browser, enable a popup blocker exception for

    If you have persistent difficulty logging in, click I cannot access my account on the NBIA login page. An NBIA account help topic opens, describing help options for resolving your login problem. Alternately, contact Application Support.

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Using the NBIA Home Page

When you first open the NBIA Data Portal, you can search for images without logging in. 

TCIA home page before you log in

After you log in, you have more options.

NBIA home page after you log in

Options available from this page and links to more information about them follow.


Menu Option


For more information, see



Return to the NBIA home page.


Search Images

Simple Search

Open the Simple Search page.

Performing a Simple Search

 Text SearchOpen the Text Search page.Performing a Text Search
 Advanced SearchOpen the Advanced Search page.Performing an Advanced Search

Manage Data Basket


Open the My Data Basket page. This is the same option as choosing Manage Data Basket from the menu bar.

Managing the Data Basket


List DICOM Image Viewers

Open a page displaying links to freeware DICOM image viewers.

Obtaining DICOM Viewers

 View Saved QueriesOpen the Saved Queries page.Working with Saved Queries
 View Query HistoryOpen the Query History page.Viewing Query History
 Create Shared ListOpen the Create Shared List page.Creating a Shared List
 Edit Shared ListOpen the Edit Shared List page.Editing a Shared List
 Search Shared ListOpen the Search Shared List page.Searching a Shared List

Perform QC

Evaluate a submission and assign a QC status.

Only administrative users have access to this menu. If you believe you should have access, contact Application Support.

Using the Quality Control (QC) Tool

 Approve DeletionsApprove the deletion of image series marked for deletion.Approving Image Deletions
 Manage Shared ListDelete shared lists created by other users.Managing a Shared List
 View Submission ReportsRun reports to verify that images have been received and to monitor the status of the submitted images.Viewing Submission Reports
 Perform Online DeletionsImmediately remove images that are marked as approved for deletion.Manually Deleting Image Series
 Edit Collection DescriptionsAdd a brief description for a collection so that NBIA users know what data is in the collection.Editing a Collection Description
 Manage Workflow ItemsCreate, edit, and delete workflow items that involve changing the visibility status of an image series and/or trigger a web service call to a URL.Managing Workflow Items
 Manage Saved QueriesReview and delete saved queries.Managing Saved Queries



Open a browser window with support options.

Application Support

Logout Log out of NBIA and return to the NBIA home page. 

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Using NBIA Online Help

The NBIA online help retrieves topics from the NBIA User's Guide. It explains how to use all of the features of the NBIA data portal.

Not logged in?

You can open the user's guide without being logged into NBIA.

Click Help > User Guides in the top menu bar to open the NBIA User's Guide on the NCI wiki.

On any application page, click help button to open the help topic that applies to features available on that NBIA page.

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