Request for Information (RFI) on Challenges and Opportunities Associated with Multidimensional Tumor Atlases
Notice Number:

Key Dates

Release Date:

November 1, 2022

Response Date:
February 3, 2023

Related Announcements

NOT-CA-23-033 Notice to Extend the Response Date for NOT-CA-23-011

Issued by

National Cancer Institute (NCI)


The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is seeking input on the utility and future promise of multidimensional tumor atlases. Review of this entire Request for Information (RFI) notice is encouraged to ensure a comprehensive response and to have a full understanding of how your response will be used.


The National Cancer Institute (NCI) Human Tumor Atlas Network (HTAN) was launched in 2018 to construct human precancer and cancer atlases for the scientific research community. HTAN atlases map the multidimensional molecular, cellular, and tissue-level dynamics of human precancers and cancers with the intention of informing cancer biology, prevention, diagnosis and/or treatment research, with the ultimate goal of enhancing clinical decision-making. Major themes emerging from HTAN-supported research include the co-evolution of tumor and stroma during tumor development, progression, and response to therapy, the identification of rare cell populations driving tumor metastasis and therapy resistance, and the existence of prognostic spatial immune signatures for disease progression or regression. Publications describing the first precancer and advanced cancer HTAN atlases can be found on the HTAN Data Portal.

Information about each HTAN project and publicly available HTAN data, protocols, and resources can be found at HTAN analyses include, but are not limited to, bulk proteomics and genomics, dissociative single-cell and single-nuclei sequencing, highly multiplexed spatial proteomics, and spatial transcriptomics.

Information Requested

At this time NCI is soliciting feedback on the utility and future promise of multidimensional tumor atlases. All stakeholders with an interest in using or constructing multidimensional tumor atlases are invited to provide information. Note: for the purposes of this request, multidimensional tumor atlases are envisioned to include detailed information at the clinical, tissue, cellular, molecular, morphological, functional, temporal, and/or spatial level.

NCI is seeking information that includes, but is not limited to, perspectives on the following areas:

  1. High priority tumor types and biological or translational use cases associated with specific tumor types.
  2. High priority data types for constructing useful multidimensional tumor atlases.
  3. Challenges and/or opportunities regarding collection, preservation, and processing of human tumor tissue for multidimensional tumor atlases.
  4. Use case examples for multidimensional tumor atlases in basic cancer biology research, prevention research, translational research, or clinical research (including diagnostics). Include information on the sample size required for the use case proposed
  5. Challenges and/or opportunities regarding multi-modal data integration and computational modeling, especially with regards to single-cell multi-omics, highly-multiplexed imaging data types, and representing 3D spatial structures (molecular or cellular).
  6. Challenges and/or opportunities regarding data labeling and sharing for the purposes of atlas-related analysis (this could be with regards to integrated analysis, within and across specific atlases, across tumor types, etc).
  7. What additional opportunities are afforded by recent developments in high-content molecular spatial analyses and can impact (a) cancer biology, (b) prevention research, (c) translational research, and/or (d) clinical practice?
  8. Specific challenges may be associated with study of precancers. Additional specific topics in this area include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • What types of correlative studies may be combined to construct atlases that guide insights into cancer prevention, including early- stage detection and interception through vaccines and other modalities?
  • Recognizing the difficulties in collecting serial, longitudinal samples for precancers, what kinds of engineered experimental models and/or animal models can be used to supplement atlas construction, especially for prevention where the intervention is likely to be more effective in early stages?
  • Should germline mutations and/or other familial risk information be collected on all subjects or a select few? If only a sub-set of samples are required, what selection criteria should be followed?

NCI is particularly interested in hearing from the cancer biology, prevention, and translational cancer research communities, especially those who would like to incorporate knowledge derived from multidimensional tumor atlases. Information about other atlas programs (national or international) that inform responses to the questions above is also welcome. If desired, your response may mention your membership or affiliation within industry, government, or academia.

Submitting a Response

All responses must be submitted through the Challenges and Opportunities Associated with Multidimensional Tumor Atlases webform by February 3, 2023.

Responders are free to address any or all of the questions listed above. The webform is the preferred mode of input, but a file with associated answers may also be uploaded on the collection website.

Responses to this RFI are voluntary. Do not include any proprietary, classified, confidential, trade secret, or sensitive information in your response. The responses will be reviewed by NIH staff, and individual feedback will not be provided to any responder. The Government will use the information submitted in response to this RFI at its discretion. Any identifiers (e.g., names, institutions, e-mail addresses, etc.) will be removed when responses are compiled. The Government reserves the right to use only the processed, anonymized results on public NIH websites, in reports, in summaries of the state of the science, in any possible resultant solicitation(s), grant(s), or cooperative agreement(s), or in the development of future funding opportunity announcements.

This RFI is for information and planning purposes only and shall not be construed as a solicitation, grant, or cooperative agreement, or as an obligation on the part of the Federal Government, the NIH, or individual NIH Institutes and Centers to provide support for any ideas identified in response to it. The Government will not pay for the preparation of any information submitted or for the Government’s use of such information. No basis for claims against the U.S. Government shall arise as a result of a response to this RFI or from the Government’s use of such information.

The NCI looks forward to your input and we hope that you will share this RFI document with your colleagues for their input.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Shannon K. Hughes, Ph.D.
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Telephone: 240-276-6224