Genetic Susceptibility to Cancer
Cancer Epidemiology Matters Blog
The Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program (EGRP) is a strong supporter of epidemiology studies investigating genetic susceptibility to cancer across all populations, including family studies, candidate gene studies, genome-wide association studies (GWAS), and use of next generation sequencing techniques to identify variants associated with specific cancers. Such studies have identified many genetic variants that may be associated with cancer.
To further our understanding of cancer etiology and outcomes, the Program also supports studies to determine the function of identified cancer risk variants associated with specific cancers, especially in high risk or under-served populations. EGRP is also interested in research investigating gene-gene and gene-environment interactions and the integration of germline and somatic information as it contributes to understanding of cancer etiology and outcomes.
EGRP staff manage and provide technical assistance for several ongoing grant-supported initiatives and research resource contracts in the area of genomic epidemiology, including:
Up for a Challenge (U4C)—Stimulating Innovation in Breast Cancer Genetic Epidemiology
NCI and Sage BioNetworks announced this prize competition in 2015 to encourage the discovery of genetic pathways involved in breast cancer risk, which will ideally result in new insights that could help improve breast cancer prevention, screening, and/or treatment. Winners will be announced in 2016.Learn more about U4C.
EGRP partnered with SAGE Bionetworks to launch "Up for a Challenge (U4C)—Stimulating Innovation in Breast Cancer Genetic Epidemiology" to encourage innovative approaches to more fully explain the genomic basis of breast cancer. Up to $50,000 in prizes will be awarded based on the identification of novel findings, replication of findings, innovation of approach, evidence of novel biological hypotheses, and collaboration. Announcement of winners is planned for summer or fall 2016.
Genetic Association Mechanisms in Oncology (GAME-ON): A Post-Genome Wide Association Initiative
This initiative was launched by NCI in 2010 in response to RFA-CA-09-002. GAME-ON's overall goal is to foster an intra-disciplinary and collaborative approach to the translation of promising research leads deriving from the initial wave of cancer GWAS.
Methods and Approaches for Detection of Gene-Environment Interactions (PAR-11-032)
The overall goal of this funding opportunity was to develop and test innovative statistical, analytical, and bioinformatics methods and approaches for identifying gene-environment interactions for complex human diseases.
Funding Opportunity Announcements
NCI-sponsored Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) related to genetic epidemiology include:
- Ethical, Legal, Social Implications of Human Genome Research – expires September 8, 2017, unless reissued
- PA-14-276 (R01)
- Genomic Resource Grants for Community Resource Projects – expires January 26, 2017, unless reissued
- PAR-14-191 (U41)
EGRP also encourages investigator-initiated grant applications on genetic susceptibility to cancer. It also joins with other NCI Divisions, and other components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to fund grant applications submitted in response to FOAs.
- Genomic Resources
Includes links to collaborative initiatives, datasets, and NIH policy information related to population-based genetics research.
- Genetic Simulation Resources (GSR)
A searchable catalogue of genetic simulation programs (coming soon).
- Risk Prediction Models
Information about various types of cancer risk prediction models, including compilation of existing risk prediction models by cancer type. Some are gene carrier risk status prediction models.
- Biospecimen Resources for Cancer Epidemiologists
This list provides links to biospecimen resources that may be of interest to cancer epidemiologists.
- Cancer Epidemiology Cohorts
Cohorts are powerful tools with the potential to address scientific questions not amenable, or unlikely to be addressed, by other study designs like prevention or clinical trials. Evidence generated has also been useful in providing the basis for the design and testing of many preventive, therapeutic, and health policy interventions.
- Cancer Research Consortia
EGRP supports a growing number of national and international research consortia focusing on intradisciplinary and translational research on common and rare cancers, many of which are investigating genetic variants associated with cancer. The sharing of data and other resources by consortia members enables rapid replication of research results from individual studies and increases the statistical power of analyses.
Webinars and Workshops
EGRP co-sponsors webinars, seminars, and workshops to convene experts in the fields of cancer epidemiology and genetics research to review the state of the science, identify research gaps, and establish scientific agendas and priorities for the future, such as:
- Sequencing Studies for Population and Cancer Epidemiology Studies (SeqSPACE) Webinar Series, ongoing
- Ethical and Regulatory Issues in Cancer Research (ENRICH) Forum, ongoing
- Up For a Challenge? Stimulating Innovating in Breast Cancer Genetic Epidemiology: Details on the Submission Process for NCI's Prize Competition, October 2015
- Everything You Need to Know About NCI's "Up For a Challenge? Stimulating Innovation in Breast Cancer Genetic Epidemiology" Prize Competition, July 2015
- Making Sense of the Sequence: Applications in Population Sciences, May 2013
- Think Tank on Use of Metabolomics in Population-Based Research, September 2012
- NCI Think-Tank on Identifiability of Genomic Data and Biospecimens, June 2012
- Sessions at 2012 AACR Annual Meeting
- The Cancer Genome Atlas - A Rapidly Expanding Community Resource
- Beyond GWAS: Leveraging Large Scale Genomic Datasets for Germline Discovery
- Gene - Environment Think Tank, January 2012
- Prostate Cancer in Men of African Descent: Opportunities for Global Research Collaboration, October 2011
- Advancing Scientific Progress Through Genomic Data Sharing and Access, January 2011
- Next Generation Analytic Tools for Large-Scale Genetic Epidemiology Studies of Complex Diseases, September 2010
Charlisse Caga-anan, J.D. – Ethics of genetics and genomics research
Danielle Carrick, Ph.D., M.H.S. - Immunology, infectious diseases, and autoimmune diseases associated with cancer risk; pharmacoepidemiology and pharmacogenomics; biospecimen research; functional genomics
Elizabeth M. Gillanders, Ph.D. - Genetic epidemiology of cancer
Damali N. Martin, Ph.D., M.P.H. - Health disparities in populations of African descent, globally; global health and cancer epidemiology with a focus on Sub-Saharan Africa and the Carribean
Leah E. Mechanic, Ph.D., M.P.H. - Gene-gene and gene-environment interactions; biospecimen science; molecular epidemiology of lung cancer, hematological malignancies, and endometrial cancer
Stefanie A. Nelson, Ph.D. - Genetic differences affecting cancer risk and response to treatment, understanding the function of cancer risk variants, and interactions between the germline and somatic cancer genomes
Melissa Rotunno, Ph.D.M – Genetic epidemiology of lung cancer, breast cancer, melanoma, and Hodgkin's lymphoma; application of new analytical methods in genomics; pleiotropic effects in cancer susceptibility; next-generation sequencing in cancer epidemiology
Krista A. Zanetti, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D. - Molecular epidemiology of lung and colon cancer, genome-wide association studies, use of emerging technologies in epidemiology studies, biological determinants of health disparities associated with cancer