Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Cohort – Cancer (ARIC-Ca)

Principal Investigator (PI):

  • Cancer component - Elizabeth A. Platz, Sc.D., M.P.H.
    Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Funded Since: 2012 (for cancer)
Funding Source: NCI Extramural Program (Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences; U01CA164975)
Year(s) of Enrollment: 1987-1989
Study Website: Web Site Policy

ARIC is a cohort study funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of 15,792 participants that was designed to investigate the etiology and natural history of atherosclerosis. Participants are from four communities: Washington County in Maryland, the Minneapolis area in Minnesota, Forsythe County in North Carolina, and Jackson, Mississippi. Each field center randomly selected and recruited approximately 4,000 individuals, both men and women, ages 45 to 64 from a defined population in their community between 1987-1989. A total of 15,792 participants received an extensive examination, including medical, social and demographic data. These participants were reexamined every three years, with the second visit occurring between 1990-92, the third visit between 1993-95, and the fourth visit between 1996-98. A fifth examination began in 2011. Follow-up occurs yearly by telephone to assess participants' health status, including hospitalization for cardiovascular disease. The response rate at year 25 is >90%. Blood and urine specimens have been banked, medications recorded, and a food frequency questionnaire completed. Over the years, ARIC's focus has expanded to include other major chronic diseases, including diabetes and kidney disease.

The cancer component, ARIC-Ca, is sponsored by the NCI to leverage ARIC's wealth of data, the racial diversity of the cohort (27% of participants are African-American), and the cohort's long-term follow-up to enhance cancer epidemiology research, including on cancer incidence, mortality, recurrence, progression, and case-fatality. By 2006, 3,145 of the participants have been diagnosed with an incident first primary cancer. Cancer cases diagnosed from 2006 to the present are currently being ascertained. For cancer cases diagnosed in the past, information on stage, grade and other tumor characteristics is being collected. By 2016, 4,900 fully annotated incident cancer cases are expected. The ARIC Cancer Working Group is charged with developing protocols for adjudicating cancer endpoints and with prioritizing cancer research in ARIC. See the ARIC website for collaboration policies and procedures.

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