ObjectiveThe National Cancer Institute established the Cancer Genetics Network (CGN) to support collaborative investigations into the genetic basis of cancer susceptibility, explore mechanisms to integrate this new knowledge into medical practice, and identify ways of addressing the associated psychosocial, ethical, legal, and public health issues.
Subjects and methodsThe CGN has developed the complex infrastructure required to support the projects, including the establishment of guidelines and policies, uniform methods, standard questionnaires to be used by all of the centers, and a standard format for submission of data to the Informatics Center. Cancer patients and their family members have been invited to enroll and be included in a pool of potential study participants. The Information Technology Group is responsible for support of the design, implementation, and maintenance of the multicenter Network-wide research protocols.
ResultsAs of January 2004, the CGN contained data on 23,995 probands (participants) and 425,798 family members. As a resource for cancer genetic studies, the CGN has a large number of probands and first-degree relatives with and without cancer and with multiple ethnicities. Different study designs can be used including case-control, case-case, and family studies.
ConclusionsThe unique resources of the CGN are available for studies on cancer genetic susceptibility, translational research, and behavioral research. The CGN is now at a point where approved collaborators may have access to enrolled patients and their families for special studies, as well as to the clinical, environmental and family cancer history data banked in the Informatics Center.