Validation of early detection cancer biomarkers has proven to be disappointing when initial promising claims have often not been reproducible in diagnostic samples or did not extend to prediagnostic samples. The previously reported lack of rigorous internal validity (systematic differences between compared groups) and external validity (lack of generalizability beyond compared groups) may be effectively addressed by utilizing blood specimens and data collected within well-conducted cohort studies. Cohort studies with prediagnostic specimens (eg, blood specimens collected prior to development of clinical symptoms) and clinical data have recently been used to assess the validity of some early detection biomarkers. With this background, the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS) and the Division of Cancer Prevention (DCP) of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) held a joint workshop in August 2013. The goal was to advance early detection cancer research by considering how the infrastructure of cohort studies that already exist or are being developed might be leveraged to include appropriate blood specimens, including prediagnostic specimens, ideally collected at periodic intervals, along with clinical data about symptom status and cancer diagnosis. Three overarching recommendations emerged from the discussions: 1) facilitate sharing of existing specimens and data, 2) encourage collaboration among scientists developing biomarkers and those conducting observational cohort studies or managing healthcare systems with cohorts followed over time, and 3) conduct pilot projects that identify and address key logistic and feasibility issues regarding how appropriate specimens and clinical data might be collected at reasonable effort and cost within existing or future cohorts.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research