†These authors contributed equally.
Academic Editors: Jia Meng, Graham Pawelec and Wei Chen
Background: The past decade has seen major advances in the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to solve various biomedical problems, including cancer. This has resulted in more than 6000 scientific papers focusing on AI in oncology alone. The expansiveness of this research area presents a challenge to those seeking to understand how it has developed. A scientific analysis of AI in the oncology literature is therefore crucial for understanding its overall structure and development. This may be addressed through bibliometric analysis, which employs computational and visual tools to identify research activity, relationships, and expertise within large collections of bibliographic data. There is already a large volume of research data regarding the development of AI applications in cancer research. However, there is no published bibliometric analysis of this topic that offers comprehensive insights into publication growth, co-citation networks, research collaboration, and keyword co-occurrence analysis for technological trends involving AI across the entire spectrum of oncology research. The purpose of this study is to investigate documents published during the last decade using bibliometric indicators and network visualization. This will provide a detailed assessment of global research activities, key themes, and AI trends over the entire breadth of the oncology field. It will also specifically highlight top-performing authors, organizations, and nations that have made major contributions to this research domain, as well as their interactions via network collaboration maps and betweenness centrality metric. This study represents the first global investigation of AI covering the entire cancer field and using several validated bibliometric techniques. It should provide valuable reference material for reorienting this field and for identifying research trajectories, topics, major publications, and influential entities including scholars, institutions, and countries. It will also identify international collaborations at three levels: micro (that of an individual researcher), meso (that of an institution), and macro (that of a country), in order to inform future lines of research. Methods: The Science Citation Index Expanded from the Web of Science Core Collection was searched for articles and reviews pertaining exclusively to AI in cancer from 2012 through 2022. Annual publication trends were plotted using Microsoft Excel 2019. CiteSpace and VOSViewer were used to investigate the most productive countries, researchers, journals, as well as the sharing of resources, intellectual property, and knowledge base in this field, along with the co-citation analysis of references and keywords. Results: A total of 6757 documents were retrieved. China produced the most publications of any country (2087, 30.89%), and Sun Yat Sen University the highest number (167, 2.47%) of any institute. WEI WANG was the most prolific author (33, 0.49%). RUI ZHANG ranked first for highest betweenness centrality (0.21) and collaboration criteria. Scientific Reports was found to be the most prolific journal (208, 3.18%), while PloS one had the most co-citations (2121, 1.55%). Strong and ongoing citation bursts were found for keywords such as “tissue microarray”, “tissue segmentation”, and “artificial neural network”. Conclusions: Deep learning currently represents one of the most cutting-edge and applicable branches of AI in oncology. The literature to date has dealt extensively with radiomics, genomics, pathology, risk stratification, lesion detection, and therapy response. Current hot topics identified by our analysis highlight the potential application of AI in radiomics and precision oncology.