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Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program

Cancer Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacogenomics

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Kelly K. Filipski, PhD, MPH
Program Director, Clinical and Translational Epidemiology Branch


Pharmacoepidemiology uses observational methods to study the benefits and risks of drug therapy in clinical and population settings. In the field of cancer, pharmacoepidemiology examines the effects of medications on cancer risk, disease prevention, and response to treatments, as well as any adverse and/or long-term effects of chemotherapeutic and other pharmacologic agents used to treat cancer.

Pharmacogenomics focuses on understanding how variability in genes encoding for drug-metabolizing enzymes, drug transporters, drug receptors, and proteins involved in pathway signaling influences individual differences in adverse effects and treatment efficacy and effectiveness. Together the evolving and emerging fields of pharmacoepidemiology and pharmacogenomics, along with the expanded development and approval of new, targeted cancer therapies, are key trends converging to create important new opportunities in cancer research and control and provide the basis for personalized cancer therapy.

Research Priorities

NCI has an increasing focus on pharmacoepidemiology related to pharmaceutical use and cancer risk, recurrence and survival, as well as pharmacoepidemiology related to treatment response and adverse outcomes from chemotherapeutic agents and other medications used to treat cancer. As more treatment options become available, it becomes increasingly important to identify patients at the highest risk for both short- and long-term adverse events and to identify treatment regimens that may reduce such risks and improve quality of life.

Previously identified research priorities include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Supporting the routine collection of germline and tumor biospecimens in NCI-sponsored clinical trials and in some observational and population-based studies;
  • Developing and supporting opportunities to identify clinical, sociodemographic, lifestyle, and genomic markers related to treatment response and/or adverse events in NCI-sponsored clinical trials;
  • Supporting observational studies that identify clinical, sociodemographic, lifestyle, and genomic factors of treatment response and adverse events;
  • Incorporating pharmacogenomic markers into clinical trials;
  • Addressing the ethical, legal, social, and biospecimen- and data-sharing implications of pharmacogenomic and pharmacoepidemiologic research; and
  • Establishing partnerships across NCI, with other federal agencies, and with industry.

Funding Opportunities

There are not currently any specific NCI Requests for Applications (RFAs) or Program Announcements (PAs) for cancer pharmacoepidemiology and pharmacogenomics research. EGRP encourages investigator-initiated grant applications on pharmacoepidemiology and pharmacogenomics topics.

View NIH Parent Announcements

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 funding opportunities.

View All Cancer Control Funding Opportunities