National Cancer Institute
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Epidemiology and Genetics Research Branch
Cancer Control and Population Sciences

Cancer Genetics Network:

Cancer Genetics Network

Photo of Annual CGN Steering Committee Meeting - June 23, 2008

A Resource For Investigators Studying Inherited Predisposition to Cancer

The Cancer Genetics Network (CGN) is a research resource for investigators conducting research on the:

  • genetic basis of human cancer susceptibility,
  • integration of this information into medical practice, and
  • behavioral, ethical, and public health issues associated with human genetics.

Rich Data Resource

The CGN has enrolled more than:

  • 20,000 probands who can be recontacted,
  • 16,000 families, and
  • 435,000 individual family members.
Pie Chart of Probands' Cancer Diagnoses[D]  
December 2007

A core dataset is available on each participant and contains information on sociodemographic characteristics, history of cancer and/or premalignant conditions, cancer-relevant surgeries, four-generation cancer family pedigree, history of tobacco use, and expressed interest in genetic counseling.

Data also are available on some participants who enrolled in special studies, such as on cancer-related outcomes, screening, counseling, and attitudes. Limited biospecimens include DNA samples from participants with early onset cancer, multiple cancers, and prostate cancer; and longitudinal blood samples on participants in ovarian and breast cancer studies.

Investigators have used CGN’s rich data resources in a variety of ways. For example:

  • Investigators used the CGN, in collaboration with the Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG) and the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) intramural research program, to conduct a prospective, international, two-cohort, nonrandomized study of women at high familial risk for ovarian cancer who chose salpingo-oophorectomy or screening at enrollment. The study tested a novel ovarian cancer screening strategy, the Risk of Ovarian Cancer Algorithm (ROCA).
  • The CGN is one of the largest repository of women tested for BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations. Investigators used the CGN to quantify the accuracy of seven publicly available models for predicting mutation carrier status.

Database Query Tool

Prospective investigators can freely access the online Core Query Tool through the CGN’s Data Coordinating Center at Massachusetts General Hospital to learn more about the aggregate characteristics of participants and discover how the CGN may be used for research purposes. Summary data within the core database can be queried based on criteria such as sex, age, race (including Hispanic or Ashkenazi descent), geographic region, ascertainment mode, proband cancers, genetic testing, surgical history, and family history variables.

The CGN is a national network of 14 academic research centers whose contributions include enrollment of probands and families. It can provide a wide variety of research services and specialized expertise to assist investigators with approved studies.

The CGN contacts in EGRP are:

The CGN is supported through a 5-year contract awarded to Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in the Spring of 2007 by NCI's Epidemiology and Genetics Research Program (EGRP). Visit MGH's CGN Web site to learn more about using this research resource.

Cancer Genetics Network Data Coordinating Center

Last modified:
29 Jan 2009
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