Mexican American (Mano a Mano) Cohort

Principal Investigators (PIs):

  • Xifeng Wu, M.D., Ph.D. (Principal Investigator)
    The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Wong-Ho Chow, Ph.D. (Principal Investigator)
    The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Hua Zhao, Ph.D. (Research Co-Leader)
    The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Funded Since: 2001
Funding Source: Texas State Tobacco Funds and Duncan Family Funds
Year(s) of Enrollment: 2001-Present
Study Website: Web Site Policy

Mexican Americans are under-represented in health-related studies yet comprise the largest and fastest growing ethnic minority in the United States. About 44% of the population in Harris County (metropolitan Houston), Texas, is of Mexican descent. The Mexican American Mano a Mano Cohort Study was launched in 2001 by the University of Texas Department of Epidemiology with support from the Texas Tobacco Settlement and Duncan Family Institute philanthropic funds. The objectives of this initiative were to understand cancer and other chronic disease risk factors in this population undergoing social changes and to provide an infrastructure to support institutional and inter-institutional collaborations. This research study forms the first longitudinal comprehensive cohort study of a census-based, representative population of Mexican Americans.

As of December, 2013, 24,460 participants were enrolled from 16,640 households. The median age of the cohort is 37 years at enrollment. Participants who were born in Mexico (about 70% of the total cohort) had an average of 15 years of U.S. residency. The study includes households that provide contextual information about the environment, familial and social support systems, environmental exposures, and medical history. Additional information includes lifestyle factors (tobacco and alcohol use, physical activity), family cancer history, and socio-demographic characteristics, including acculturation as indicated by language use and food preferences. Personal in-house interviews are conducted with up to 3 members in each household. Biological specimens (blood, saliva, and urine) have been successfully obtained from 90% of the participants. Follow-ups are conducted via telephone every 6-12 months to update selected exposures and disease history. Newly diagnosed cancers are identified through self-reports during follow-up and annual record linkage to the Texas Cancer Registry. Self-reported cancer diagnoses are verified through review of medical records. As of February 2014, 373 incident cancer cases had been identified.

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