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Overview of the NCI Metathesaurus (NCIm)

NCI Metathesaurus (NCIm) is a wide-ranging biomedical terminology database that covers most terminologies used by NCI for clinical care, translational and basic research, and public information and administrative activities.

The database contains 1,400,000 concepts mapped to 3,600,000 terms with 17,000,000 relationships. NCIm contains most public domain vocabularies from the National Library of Medicine's UMLS Metathesaurus, as well as a growing number of other biomedical vocabularies. Some propriety vocabularies are included, and have restrictions on their use.

NCIm is intended to provide rich synonymy and is useful in mapping among the codes and terms used in various biomedical vocabularies. In contrast the NCI Thesaurus (NCIt) is the NCI reference vocabulary that provides the concepts used in caCORE and caBIG® to establish data semantics.

NCIm is registered in the HL7 OID Registry as 2.16.840.1.113883. .

NCIm is updated monthly. The monthly updates correspond to minor software releases. They contain new or modified concepts, spelling corrections and other minor changes.

EVS produces two or three "builds" of NCIm each year, each roughly corresponding to a major release of a software product. Each build is created using the most recent release of the UMLS Metathesaurus, dropping some old and restricted sources, adding many NCI-specific sources, and following NCI editorial policies.  The availability of new builds, and the differences between builds, are announced on the NCI EVS list server.

In addition to the NCIm and the NCIt, the EVS servers provide access to a variety of other vocabulary products such as MedDRA, CTCAE, GO, ICD-9-CM, RadLex, SNOMED CT, LOINC and NDF-RT.

Additional Information

NCI Metathesaurus FAQ

MetamorphoSys Information

This announcement affects users who download the full NCI Metathesaurus and use the NCI provided MetamorphoSys for viewing. In early 2010 EVS will be upgrading MetamorphoSys to the latest code line used by NLM. In the background there are significant changes, but the user interface experience is substantially similar. There are a few additional features (new filters, new browser features, etc). You can find more information in the release notes. If you are interested in more details, view the webcast.

How to Provide Comments and Suggestions

Comments and suggestions may be emailed to the NCIm team at

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