Environmental Epidemiology


Environmental epidemiology seeks to understand how physical, chemical, biologic, as well as, social and economic factors affect human health. Social factors, that is where one lives, works, socializes or buys food, often influence exposure to environmental factors.

The Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program (EGRP), at the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS), supports extramural research that investigates environmental factors that may contribute to the etiology of cancer. Environmental exposures are largely modifiable; understanding how they affect cancer risk can lead to effective interventions to reduce or eliminate their impact.

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Funding Opportunities

NCI-sponsored Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) related to environmental epidemiology include:

  • Innovative Basic Research on Adducts in Cancer Risk Identification and Prevention – expires July 12, 2018, unless reissued
  • Translational Research on Adducts in Cancer Risk Identification and Prevention – expires July 12, 2018, unless reissued
  • Integration of Individual Residential Histories into Cancer Research - expires September 8, 2020, unless reissued

EGRP also encourages investigator-initiated grant applications on environmental epidemiology. See also EGRP's interests in Early Life Exposures and Cancer.

EGRP joins with other NCI Divisions, Offices, and Centers and other Institutes and Centers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to fund grant applications submitted in response to FOAs. EGRP also encourages investigator-initiated grant applications on environmental health topics.

View the full list of epidemiology and genomics research FOAs.

The National Institute of Environmental Health SciencesExternal Web Site Policy (NIEHS) also sponsors FOAs related to environmental health and cancer.

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Funded Projects

Examples of ongoing Cooperative Agreements investigating cancer and the environment in which EGRP staff serve as Program Officers include:

Significant past initiatives EGRP has been involved with include:

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Research Resources

  • 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 Registries
    This compilation of resources provides links to information on cancer statistics, such as incidence, mortality, and the prevalence of certain risk factors.
  • 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.
  • Environmental Polymorphisms Registry (EPR)External Web Site Policy
    An ongoing NIEHS project to help scientists screen for genetic polymorphisms in "environmentally sensitive genes." The EPR is available to scientists interested in using data from DNA provided by more than 17,000 individuals, who may be called back for more detailed studies.
  • Maps and Geographic Information Systems
    Compilation of NCI initiatives and sources of cancer-related maps, GISs, training, and more.
  • PhenXExternal Web Site Policy
    The PhenX Toolkit provides background information on measures recommended for genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and other large-scale genomic research efforts, along with standard operating procedures, common data elements, controlled vocabularies, a glossary of terms, standard analytic procedures to harmonize similar measures, and an outline of suggested protocols and methods for analyzing GWAS data.
  • Statistics
    Links to sources of cancer-related statistics, including the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program, SEER-Medicare datasets, cancer survivor prevalence data, and the Cancer Trends Progress Report.
  • Study Design/Planning ToolsExternal Web Site Policy
    Tools from NCI's intramural Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics for estimating intake of mutagenic compounds from meats and pesticide exposures and questionnaires for alcohol intake, anthropometrics, diet, EMFs, household and occupational exposures, physical activity, radiation, pharmaceuticals, reproductive and sexual history, residential history, smoking, and others.
  • Surveys
    Compilation of surveys containing information which may be useful for cancer epidemiology and genomics studies, including behavioral risk factors, health information, medical care, and more.

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Key Reports

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Workshops, Conferences, and Interagency Meetings

EGRP co-sponsors workshops and meetings to convene experts in the fields of cancer epidemiology and environmental research to review the state-of-the-science, identify research gaps, and establish scientific agendas/priorities for the future, such as:

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For general questions about NCI's interest in cancer and the environment, EGRP contacts include:

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