EGRP and DCEG Survey - Trends in 21st Century Epidemiology: From Scientific Discoveries to Population Health Impact

In preparation for the upcoming workshop "Trends in 21st Century Epidemiology: From Scientific Discoveries to Population Health Impact," scientists from NCI's Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program (EGRP), the extramural research arm, and the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG), the in-house research arm, were asked to consider two questions:

  1. Can you provide any examples of cancer epidemiology "success stories" from the past one- to two- decades? "Success stories" ideally connect a scientific discovery, or a body of work, that has led to a better understanding of determinants or mechanisms of cancer occurrence and outcomes with translation to clinical practice and a demonstrable population health impact.
  2. What do you think are the greatest opportunities for cancer epidemiology in the next decade to impact research, policy, and translation to clinical practice?

Below is a summary of their responses. In parentheses is the number of scientists who mentioned the topic, ranked in order of mentions followed by alphabetical order.

Question #1

Can you provide any examples of cancer epidemiology "success stories" from the past one- to two- decades?

  • HPV, cervical cancer, and vaccine (10)
  • Quantification and/or modeling of risk (5)
  • HIV/AIDS-defining malignancies, Kaposi sarcoma, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (2)
  • H. pylori and gastric cancer (2)
  • Melanoma and dysplastic nevi, melanoma/non-melanoma skin cancer and tanning bed use (2)
  • Epigenetics (1)
  • Formaldehyde exposure (1)
  • GWAS (1)
  • Hepatitis B and C (1)
  • In utero DES exposure (1)
  • Menopausal hormone therapy and its impact on heart disease and breast cancer (1)
  • Refinements of penetrance of high-risk susceptibility gene mutations (1)
  • Targeted therapies using tumor biomarkers (1)
  • Vitamin D Pooling Project (1)

Question #2

What do you think are the greatest opportunities for cancer epidemiology in the next decade to impact research, policy, and translation to clinical practice?

  • Consortia, especially Cohort Consortium (3)
  • Genomics, GWAS, Post-GWAS studies, and pharmacogenomics (4)
  • Leveraging somatic data and integrating germline and tumor, somatic genetic information (2)
  • Role of infectious diseases (2)
  • Role of obesity and/or physical activity (2)
  • Survivors: Quality of life and morbidity of cancer survivors, and mechanisms and markers of risk among cancer survivors (2)
  • Cancer incidence prediction models (1)
  • Early detection with biospecimens and radiology (1)
  • Early-life exposures and events (1)
  • Epigenome-wide association studies (1)
  • Gene-gene and gene-environment research (1)
  • High-throughput sequencing in tumors followed by computational subtraction (1)
  • Inflammation (1)
  • Imaging and matched molecular pathological tissue mapping (1)
  • Molecular characterization of cancers (1)
  • Role of exogenous agents (1)
  • Understanding and exploiting discoveries in human microbiome (1)

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