Cohort Consortium Projects

Active Projects

Project Investigator(s) Year Initiated
African American BMI and Mortality Pooling Project
Project Background
Julie R. Palmer, William J. Blot, Sarah Cohen, Nonye Harvey, and others 2011

Background: The African American BMI and Mortality Pooling Project, established in 2011, examines the relation between BMI and disease mortality, including cancer and cardiovascular disease, in African American men and women. The project draws data from seven cohorts that contain at least 10,000 African American participants.

Aspirin, Non-Aspirin NSAID, Acetaminophen Use, and Ovarian Cancer Risk
Project Background
Britton Trabert 2013

Background: This study, begun in 2013, pools case-control data from the EGRP-supported Ovarian Cancer Cohort Consortium (OC3) to examine the chemopreventive potential of aspirin, acetaminophen, or non-aspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) use and the risk of ovarian cancer and its major histologic subtypes. Ovarian cancer's high mortality rate makes this disease a major public health problem.

Biliary Tract Cancers Pooling Project
Project Background
Jill Koshiol, Peter Campbell and Katherine McGlynn 2012

Background: The Biliary Tract Cancers Pooling Project, begun in 2012, is a prospective study to evaluate risk factors for individual types of biliary tract cancers, including smoking, diabetes, anti-inflammatory drug use, and family history of cancer. Gallbladder cancer accounts for more than 50 percent of biliary tract cancers and occurs more often in women than in men.

In addition, other cancers of the biliary tract display distinct demographic and molecular profiles indicating that they are separate disease entities. Little is known about the etiology of these rare cancers beyond a positive association with history of cholesterol gallstones.

Biomarkers and Breast Cancer Risk Prediction in Younger Women
Project Background
Anne Zeleniuch-Jacquotte 2012

Background: This study, initiated in 2012, is developing an improved breast cancer risk prediction model for premenopausal women under 50 years of age. The model could have applications for both screening and chemoprevention. The study is assessing whether adding biomarkers (i.e., testosterone, free testosterone, circulating Müllerian Inhibiting Substance [MIS]) to the Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool (also known as the Gail Model) improves risk prediction in women under 50. The results could help younger women decide: (1) the most appropriate age to begin screening, and (2) whether to take tamoxifen for chemoprevention.

Breast and Prostate Cancer Cohort Consortium (BPC3) (Phase II)
Project Background
Susan Gapstur, Stephen Chanock, Peter Kraft, and others 2007

Background: This new BPC3 study will expand the first phase of BPC3 to serve as a rapid verification test set for SNPs identified in the scans other than the CGEMS scan, and to examine gene-environment interactions in the SNPs identified in CGEMS and other studies as being associated with breast and prostate cancer.

With the completion of GWAS for breast cancer and prostate cancers in aggregate, important questions remain that the BPC3 is uniquely positioned to answer. Estrogen receptor negative (ER-) breast cancers have specific epidemiologic characteristics and greater lethality, but the current generation of scans is underpowered to discover gene variants associated with these tumors. Aggressive forms of prostate cancer, characterized by extraprostatic extension (Stage C/D) or high histologic grade (Gleason score 8+), differ epidemiologically from the vastly more common indolent forms of prostate cancer and are of the greatest clinical importance, but again the current scans are underpowered to discover associated genetic determinants. No single study is likely to have enough cases of these cancer subtypes to perform a GWAS. By pooling cases across the BPC3 studies, the investigators can achieve adequate power to discover genetic variation that gives rise to these important clinical subtypes. See publications here.

Calcium Intake, Bone Turnover Markers, and Lung Cancer Among Non-Smokers
Project Background
Xiao-Ou Shu and Yumie Takata 2012

Background: Bone metastasis is a major complication among lung cancer patients. This study, begun in 2012, seeks to corroborate the findings of the Shanghai Women's Health Study in which a strong inverse association between dietary calcium intake and lung cancer risk in nonsmokers was observed. The study is evaluating the role of calcium intake and bone turnover in lung cancer among nonsmokers; testing whether bone turnover markers are associated with lung cancer risk among nonsmokers; and testing whether these associations are modified by Vitamin D status, age group, menopausal status, or hormone therapy use.

Cohort-based GWAS of Glioma (GliomaScan)
Project Background
Preetha Rajaraman and Beatrice Melin 2008

Background: GliomaScan, begun in 2008, investigates the etiology, prevention, and treatment of brain tumors by conducting a GWAS study of glioma with a large number of cohort-derived samples. Follow-up analyses are examining genetic pathways, gene-gene, and gene-environment interactions. The study has found evidence of strong replication for three previously reported associations; larger studies focusing on novel approaches as well as specific tumor subtypes or subgroups will be required to identify additional common susceptibility loci for glioma risk. See publications here.

Development of the Ovarian Cancer Cohort Consortium: Risk Factor Associations by Heterogeneity of DiseaseExternal Web Site Policy
Project Background
Shelley Tworoger and Nicolas Wentzensen for the Ovarian Cancer Cohort Consortium 2010

Background: This project began in 2010 and aims to (1) study associations of risk factors for invasive ovarian cancer, including how these factors differ by histologic subtype, tumor dominance, and tumor aggressiveness; and (2) develop ovarian cancer risk prediction models accounting for differential associations by cancer phenotype. The project will create an infrastructure with a core dataset of variables for studying ovarian cancer epidemiology including projects that will use prospectively collected biological specimens.

Diabetes and Cancer Initiative in the Cohort Consortium
Project Background
Elio Riboli 2013

Background: This project, initiated in 2013, seeks to understand the relationship of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) with cancer incidence and survival, both in terms of epidemiology and underlying molecular mechanisms. The project will investigate the association of T2DM with all major cancers, and whether this association is modified by gender, ethnicity, body size, physical activity, smoking, diet, alcohol consumption or menopausal status. The study also will investigate the association of diabetes treatments with cancer incidence and survival. An additional aim will be to identify genetic and metabolic predictors of cancer risk among diabetics.

Diet/Activity Assessment Methods Project
Project Background
Yikyung Park and Amy Subar 2008

Background: The Diet/Activity Assessment Methods Project, initiated in 2008, evaluates the measurement error structure of several self-reported, Internet-based, diet and physical activity assessment tools and questionnaires (e.g., food frequency and physical activity) and compares them against reference biomarkers and activity monitors among participants in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study, Harvard's Nurses' Health Study, and Health Professionals Follow-up Study.

Endometriosis and Histologic Subtypes of Ovarian Cancer
Project Background
Britton Trabert 2013

Background: This project, begun in 2013, is evaluating the association between endometriosis, a risk factor for ovarian cancer, and invasive ovarian cancer in multiple cohorts within the OC3. The project is considering differences by likely cell of origin (ovarian vs. fallopian tube) and aggressiveness, as well as age at endometriosis diagnosis and ovarian cancer.

Gastric and Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinomas GWAS
Project Background
Christian Abnet, Alicja Wolk, and others 2008

Background: This study, initiated in 2008, is conducting a GWAS in two anatomically different upper gastrointestinal cancer sites in two populations with distinctly different disease rates and genetic profiles. One population has very high rates of both esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) and gastric cancer (GC) and consists of participants from East Asian countries. The other population has low rates of ESCC and GC and includes participants from the Americas, Europe, Australia, the Middle East, and others. See publications here.

Genome-Wide Association Study of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL)
Project Background
Nat Rothman and Brenda M. Birmann for the Lymphoid Malignancies Working Group 2007

Background: This project, begun in 2008, is conducting a GWAS of NHL and selected NHL subtypes in cases from the InterLymph Consortium. Genome scanning is completed and data analysis is in progress. The analysis will focus on individual NHL histologic subtypes, where appropriate, and compare across subtypes to evaluate heterogeneity in genetic susceptibility to NHL. Secondary analyses of genotype data and gene-environment studies are planned. See publications here.

Genome-Wide Association Study for Pancreatic Cancer (PanScan)
Project Background
Rachael Stolzenberg-Solomon and Brian Wolpin for the Pancreatic Cancer Cohort Consortium 2006

Background: Within the framework of the NCI-sponsored Cohort Consortium, investigators from 12 prospective epidemiologic cohorts formed the Pancreatic Cancer Cohort Consortium in 2006. The group's first study, also known as "PanScan I," involved a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of common genetic variants to identify markers of susceptibility to pancreatic cancer. In 2007, the study was expanded to include 8 case-control studies (PanScan II). PanScan I and II led to the discovery of four novel regions in the genome associated with risk for pancreatic adenocarcinoma.

The third phase of PanScan (PanScan III), will study recently identified incident pancreatic cancer cases and controls drawn from 14 cohorts from the Cohort Consortium, including the 10 prospective cohorts who participated in PanScan I and II, and four newly joined cohorts. Therefore, PanScan III will include approximately 2,400 additional cases for genome-wide scanning. In a replication study, PanScan III investigators will genotype the top 20-50 loci from the GWAS. A joint analysis of the newly scanned cases will be conducted with cases from PanScan I and II to identify novel regions of the genome associated with pancreatic cancer susceptibility. With the larger sample size (about 6,200 cases and 13,900 controls), it is anticipated that the PanScan III study will identify new genetic risk variants for etiology.

Genome-wide Association Study (GWAS) of Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC)
Project Background
Mark Purdue and Ghislaine Scelo 2009

Background: This project, begun in 2009, will expand the existing GWAS of Renal Cell Carcinoma by scanning an additional 5,000 cases and controls, identifying novel RCC susceptibility loci, and obtaining survival data to enable GWAS of RCC survival. It also will search for evidence of interaction between genetic variants and established risk factors for RCC. See publications here.

Head and Neck Cancer Risk Factors and Risk Prediction Model Validation
Project Background
Mia Hashibe 2012

Background: This project, established in 2012, will estimate risk ratios and attributable fractions for established and suspected head and neck cancer (HNC) risk factors. The project will validate the International Head and Neck Cancer Epidemiology (INHANCE) HNC risk prediction model with data from the Cohort Consortium and establish the Cohort's own risk prediction model both overall and for subsites (e.g., oral cavity, oropharynx, hypopharynx, larynx) as well as exploring other HNC risk factors such as coffee/tea intake, sexual behaviors, reproductive factors for women, and physical activity.

Health Effects of Cigar, Cigarillo, Pipe, and Hookah Smoking
Project Background
Paolo Boffetta 2012

Background: This project, begun in 2012, provides precise estimates of the association between smoking of non-cigarette tobacco products (including pipe, cigarillos, cigars, and hookah) and incidence and mortality data from cancer and other chronic diseases in prospective epidemiologic studies.

Inflammation-Related Exposures and Risk of Ovarian Cancer
Project Background
Elizabeth M. Poole 2012

Background: This project, begun in 2012, is elucidating the role of inflammation-related exposures and reproductive factors in the risk of ovarian cancer. The study uses previously collected questionnaire data and C-reactive protein (CRP) levels from the OC3.

Liver Cancer Pooling Project
Project Background
Katherine A. McGlynn and Peter Campbell 2008

Background: The Liver Cancer Pooling Project was formed in 2008 to study known and novel risk factors for the increasing incidence of liver cancer in the United States. Possible factors include BMI, diabetes, physical activity, reproductive history, hormone levels, hypertension, occupational and pesticide exposure, and inflammatory markers. The project has compiled data and serum samples from 14 participating U.S. cohorts encompassing more than 2,000 individuals with liver cancer.

Lung Cancer Cohort Consortium (LC3): One-Carbon Metabolism Biomarkers and Lung Cancer Risk
Project Background
Paul Brennan, Paolo Vineis, and Mattias Johansson for the Lung Cancer Cohort Consortium 2009

Background: This project began in 2009 to evaluate etiological factors of lung cancer and to develop extensive risk prediction models, with particular focus on biomarkers of one-carbon metabolism, as well as vitamin D and inflammation. Biochemical and genetic analyses will be conducted on more than 5,000 lung cancer cases from 24 individual cohorts. See publications here.

Male Breast Cancer Pooling Project
Project Background
Louise Brinton, Susan Gapstur, Michael Cook, and others 2008

Background: The Male Breast Cancer Pooling Project, begun in 2008, is evaluating data from case-control studies to better understand causes of this rare cancer. Hormonal factors and multiple exposures considered include BMI, physical activity, diet, and family history of breast cancer. Other exposures studied include alcohol consumption, liver and thyroid diseases, infertility history, and occupational exposures. Future studies may involve genetic assays and more detailed pathologic and molecular characterization of the tumors.

Markers of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Infection and Risk of Head and Neck Cancer
Project Background
Aimee Kreimer, Paul Brennan, and Mattias Johansson 2009

Background: This project, begun in 2009, is evaluating the association between HPV and HNCs, including cancers of the oral cavity, oropharynx, and larynx, by testing incident cancer cases and matched controls using new serologic assays that allow measurement of anti-HPV antibodies. Preliminary findings from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study are available here.External Web Site Policy

One-Carbon Metabolism Pathway in Relation to the Development of Hepatocellular Carcinoma
Project Background
Jian-Min Yuan and Lesley Butler 2007

Background: This study, begun in 2007, assesses the association between concentrations of one-carbon metabolites in pre-diagnostic blood and the risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma. The study also is evaluating the modifying effect of genetic polymorphisms in the genes that are involved in one-carbon metabolites and risk of hepatocellular carcinoma. Laboratory measurements of serum one-carbon metabolism biomarkers, with statistical analyses, have been completed on all hepatocellular carcinoma cases and controls of the Shanghai Cohort Study.

Physical Activity and Risk of Cancer in the Cohort Consortium
Project Background
Steve C. Moore 2011

Background: This study began in 2011 and will assess the association between physical activity and individual cancer sites and overall cancer burden. In addition, the project will include hazard ratios for each cancer site studied to estimate the dose-response relation between physical activity and cancers of the breast, endometrium, and colon and rare cancers that have not been adequately examined in prior physical activity studies.

Pooled Analysis of Active Smoking and Breast Cancer Risk
Project Background
Mia M. Gaudet 2012

Background: The Pooled Analysis of Active Smoking and Breast Cancer Risk began in 2012 to address remaining inconsistencies in key methodological issues in individual studies of the relationship between active cigarette smoking and breast cancer, by analyzing pooled data from prospective cohort studies. The factors studied will include smoking duration, alcohol consumption, mammographic screening, age at menopause, BMI, socioeconomic status, reproductive patterns, and use of postmenopausal hormones, and family history of breast cancer.

Pooled Analysis of Circulating Carotenoids and Breast Cancer Risk
Project Background
Heather Eliassen 2012

Background: This study, begun in 2012, examines the inverse association between several carotenoids and breast cancer. The study examines whether interactions with lifestyle factors, including BMI, smoking, and alcohol consumption, modify the association of carotenoids with breast cancer risk.

Pooled Analysis of Risk Factors for Premenopausal Breast Cancer
Project Background
Anthony J. Swerdlow 2013

Background: This study, begun in 2013, seeks to produce detailed cohort-based analyses of risk factors for premenopausal and perimenopausal breast cancer, both overall and by hormone receptor status and histology, using data collected by cohorts at recruitment and at least one follow-up questionnaire. The study is analyzing breast cancer risks in the years soon after pregnancy, jointly with Hazel Nichols' Pooled Analysis of Time Since Birth and Breast Cancer Subtype.

Pooled Analysis of Risk Factors for Second Cancer
Project Background
Lindsay Morton and Kim Robien 2012

Background: This study, begun in 2012, examines non-treatment risk factors for second cancers. The etiology of most second cancers is unknown, and the risk factors for these cancers likely account for the majority of multiple primary malignancies. Pooling data from five cohorts, three projects have been launched to study: (1) second cancer incidence and methodological challenges of studying second cancer risk factors in epidemiologic cohorts; (2) obesity and second cancer risk among colorectal cancer survivors; and (3) tobacco, alcohol, and risk of multiple primary cancers.

Pooled Analysis of Time Since Birth and Breast Cancer Subtype
Project Background
Hazel B. Nichols 2013

Background: This project, begun in 2013, pools data from prospective studies to evaluate time since birth and breast cancer risk according to tumor subtypes and pregnancy characteristics, including age and breastfeeding history. The study evaluates whether short-term increases in breast cancer risk after pregnancy are influenced by post-partum behaviors. (This study is conducted jointly with the Pooled Analysis of Risk Factors for Premenopausal Breast Cancer.)

A Pooled Investigation of Circulating Adiponectin and Multiple Myeloma
Project Background
Mark Purdue and Jonathan Hofmann 2012

Background: This project, begun in 2012, is investigating whether elevated levels of adiponectin are associated with reduced risk of multiple myeloma as has been observed in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial (PCLO). Obese individuals often have lower levels of adiponectin, a hormone which may protect against multiple myeloma through its anti-inflammatory and insulin-sensitizing properties. The study will explore differences in populations by sex, race, age, BMI, and time from blood collection to case diagnosis.

Prediagnostic Androgens and IGF-1 and Risk of Ovarian Cancer
Project Background
Annekatrin Lukanova 2012

Background: This study, begun in 2012, is investigating the causes of epithelial ovarian cancer by studying the role of prediagnostic androgens and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1). Using pooled data, the analyses explore associations by major histological subtypes of tumors and tumor dominance.

Prospective Evaluation of IGF and IL-6 Dysregulation and Multiple Myeloma (MM)
Project Background
Graham A. Colditz and Brenda M. Birmann for the Lymphoid Malignancies Working Group 2007

Background: This project, which began in 2007, is exploring the association between the risk for MM and markers of dysregulation in insulin-like growth factor (IGF), insulin, and interleukin (IL)-6 signaling pathways. The analyses of plasma studies are complete, and an expanded series of studies on genetic markers was developed to permit replication of newly published genetic susceptibility findings in pathways related to signaling by IGF, IL-6, insulin or other mediators of inflammation or innate immunity. The genotyping of DNA samples also is finished, and data analysis is in progress. See publication here.External Web Site Policy

Risk Factors for Inflammatory Breast Cancer
Project Background
Sue Hankinson 2011

Background: This project, initiated in 2011, is the first prospective assessment of risk factors for inflammatory breast cancer. Exposures to be considered include reproductive factors, smoking history, alcohol intake, BMI, and family history. Although inflammatory breast cancer comprises 1 to 2 percent of total breast cancer cases, it is an aggressive form of breast cancer that has been studied only by a small number of case-control studies.

Vitamin D Pooling Project of Breast and Colorectal Cancer
Project Background
Stephanie Smith-Warner and Regina Ziegler 2008

Background: Begun in 2008, this project includes 20 cohort studies and is investigating the association between circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and the risk of breast and colorectal cancers. Analyses will be conducted by tumor subtype, population subgroups, lifestyle factors, polymorphisms in vitamin D receptor and metabolism genes, and other biomarkers.

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Completed Projects

Project Investigator(s) Year Initiated
BMI, Body Fat Distribution, and Mortality
Project Background
James Cerhan, Patricia Hartge, Leslie Bernstein, Amy Berrington de Gonzalez for the BMI Cohort Consortium 2011

Background: This project began in 2011 to assess the association of waist circumference with total and selected cause-specific (e.g., cardiovascular, cancer) mortality. A secondary analysis assessed hip circumference and waist-to-hip ratio, using data on more than 650,000 participants from 11 cohorts in the BMI and Mortality and Physical Activity Pooling Projects. The project has been completed and a manuscript is being submitted to a peer reviewed journal.

Body Mass Index (BMI) All-Cause Mortality Pooling Project
Project Background
Amy Berrington de Gonzalez, Michael Thun and others 2007

Background: This project began in 2007 as a collaborative effort among more than 20 prospective epidemiologic studies to examine and quantify the relationship between BMI and all-cause mortality; and determine the extent to which the relationship between BMI and all-cause mortality varies by factors such as age, sex, smoking status, preexisting heart disease or cancer, physical activity, alcohol intake, education, and marital status.

The project analyzed pooled data from prospective studies encompassing 1.46 million adults to estimate hazard ratios for the association between BMI and all-cause mortality. The results were published in 2010. See publication here.External Web Site Policy

Breast and Prostate Cancer Cohort Consortium (BPC3) - 1st funding cycle
Project Background
David Hunter, Michael Thun, Elio Riboli, and Brian Henderson 2003

Background: The BPC3 began in 2003 to study hormone-related gene variants and environmental factors involved in the development of breast and prostate cancers. The goal was to characterize variations in about 55 candidate genes that mediate the steroid hormone metabolism and insulin-like growth factor (IGF) signaling pathways, and associate these variations with cancer risk.

In 2007, the BPC3 expanded the study population and used a genome-wide association approach to identify genetic variants that may be associated with estrogen receptor negative breast cancer, as well as aggressive forms of prostate cancer.

Genome-Wide Association Study of Endometrial Cancer
Project Background
Immaculata De Vivo and others 2008

Background: Begun in 2008, this project is identifying the genes involved in endometrial cancer to help identify novel targets for endometrial cancer risk prediction, prevention, and treatment. The researchers are genotyping more than 2,600 Type I endometrial cancer cases of European descent and an equal number of controls. The effect of the SNPs that indicate genome-wide significance will be characterized in terms of body mass index, exogenous hormone use, and other established endometrial cancer risk factors. This project has been completed and a manuscript is currently under review.

Genomic Determinants of Serum Vitamin D
Project Background
Demetrius Albanes 2008

Background: Not available.

Leisure Time Physical Activity, Body Mass Index, and Risk of Death
Project Background
Steven C. Moore, Alpa Patel, and others 2011

Background: Begun in 2011, the goal of this study is to identify risk of death and years of life lost or gained according to physical activity and BMI levels. This study has been completed and was published in 2012. See publication here.External Web Site Policy

One-Carbon Metabolism Biomarkers and Risk of Colorectal Cancer: A Pooled Analysis of Cohorts
Project Background
Paolo Vineis and Su-Chun Chuang 2011

Background: This project began in 2011 to characterize folate, particularly unmetabolized folic acid, and its association with colorectal cancer. The study will explore folate status in different populations, the dose-response relationship between plasma folate and colorectal cancer and assess the effects by demographic, lifestyle, and genetic factors. By pooling data from several NCI cohorts, the project expects to improve comparability among the blood measurements in different cohorts and provide scientific evidence to inform policies on folic acid fortification. The project has been completed and the results are available here.External Web Site Policy

Parallel and Pooled Analyses of the Current Risks from Smoking
Project Background
Michael Thun and others 2010

Background: Not available.

Vitamin D Pooling Project of Rarer Cancers
Project Background
Kathy Helzlsouer, Stephanie Weinstein, Nonye Harvey, and others 2007

Background: This project, initiated in 2007, is a nested case-control study that analyzed the association between 25(OH)D (serum vitamin D concentrations) and the development of seven rarer cancers: endometrial, esophageal, stomach, ovarian, pancreatic, and kidney cancers, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). The study involved 10 cohorts, and participants' vitamin D levels were measured in serum collected before the development of cancer. Study findings do not support the hypothesis that circulating 25(OH) D concentrations are associated with a reduced risk of developing any of these seven rarer cancers. The results were published in 2010.

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Project Proposal Process

Investigators interested in proposing a project should fill out the form below and e-mail the completed form to Nonye Harvey, Cohort Consortium Coordinator. For more information on the evaluation criteria for pooling projects, see the link below. Questions about the proposal process should be sent to

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