Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 235–241

Cohort studies of etiology and survival after cancer: the unique needs for uninterrupted funding



The existing prospective cohorts are providing key data that are guiding public health and clinical practice in many different areas. The existing cohorts can also provide the biological specimens and data to address genetic determinant of cancer now, rather than in a decade, and at far less cost than that proposed for a new national U.S. cohort. Review and funding mechanisms are needed to avoid disruption in follow-up and the associated damage to existing cohorts.


Cohort studies Etiology Funding Peer review 


  1. 1.
    Doll R, Hill A (1954) The mortality of doctors in relation to their smoking habits. A preliminary report. BMJ 328:1451–1455CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Doll R, Peto R, Wheatley K, Gray R, Sutherland I (1994) Mortality in relation to smoking: 40 years’ observations on male British doctors. BMJ 309:901–911PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Dawber TR (1980) The Framingham Study: the epidemiology of atherosclerotic disease. Harvard University Press, Cambridge MassGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Felson D (1990) The epidemiology of knee osteoarthritis: results from the Framingham Osteoarthritis Study. Semin Arthritis Rheum 20(Suppl 1):42–50PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Colditz GA, Willett WC, Rotnitzky A, Manson JE (1995) Weight gain as a risk factor for clinical diabetes in women. Ann Intern Med 122:481–486PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Hu FB, Manson JE, Stampfer MJ et al (2001) Diet, lifetsyle, and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus in women. N Eng J Med 345:790–797CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Holmes MD, Chen WY, Feskanich D, Kroenke CH, Colditz GA (2005) Physical activity and survival after breast cancer diagnosis. Jama 293(20):2479–2486PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Samet J, Munoz A (1998) Perspective: cohort studies. Epidemiol Rev 20:135–136PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Colditz GA, Sellers TA, Trapido E (2006) Epidemiology—identifying the causes and preventability of cancer? Nat Rev Cancer 6(1):75–83PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    The health consequences of smoking: a report of the Surgeon General. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2004). (Accessed March 19, 2005, at
  11. 11.
    Kawachi I, Colditz GA, Stampfer MJ et al (1993) Smoking cessation in relation to total mortality rates in women: a prospective cohort study. Ann Intern Med 119:992–1000PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Manson JE, Colditz GA, Stampfer MJ et al (1990) A prospective study of obesity and risk of coronary heart disease in women. N Engl J Med 322:882–889PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Hu FB, Willett WC, Li T, Stampfer MJ, Colditz GA, Manson JE (2004) Adiposity as compared with physical activity in predicting mortality among women. N Engl J Med 351(26):2694–2703PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Eliassen AH, Colditz G, Rosner B, Willett W, Hankinson SE (2006) Adult weight change and risk of postmenopausal breast cancer. JAMA 296:193–201PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Thun M, Peto R, Lopez A et al (1997) Alcohol consumption and mortality among middle-aged and elderly US adults. New Engl J Med 337:1705–1714PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Cho E, Smith-Warner SA, Ritz J et al (2004) Alcohol intake and colorectal cancer: a pooled analysis of 8 cohort studies. Ann Intern Med 140(8):603–613PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Fuchs CS, Stampfer MJ, Colditz GA et al (1995) Alcohol consumption and mortality among women. N Engl J Med 332:1245–1250PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Martinez ME, Giovannucci E, Spiegelman D, Hunter DJ, Willett WC, Colditz GA (1997) Leisure-time physical activity, body size, and colon cancer in women. Nurses’ Health Study Research Group. J Natl Cancer Inst 89:948–955PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Colditz GA, Cannuscio CC, Frazier AL (1997) Physical activity and colon cancer prevention. Cancer Causes Control 8:649–667PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Willett WC (1998) Diet and coronary heart disease. In: Willett WC (ed) Nutritional epidemiology, chapter 17. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Willett W, Dietz W, Colditz G (1999) Guidelines for healthy weight. N Engl J Med 341:427–434PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Hunter DJ, Riboli E, Haiman CA et al (2005) A candidate gene approach to searching for low-penetrance breast and prostate cancer genes. Nat Rev Cancer 5(12):977–985PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Stampfer MJ, Willett WC, Speizer FE et al (1984) Test of the National Death Index. Am J Epidemiol 119:837–839PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Rich-Edwards JW, Corsano KA, Stampfer MJ (1994) Test of the National Death Index and Equifax Nationwide Death Search. Am J Epidemiol 140:1016–1019PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Colditz GA, Willett WC, Stampfer MJ, London SJ, Segal MR, Speizer FE (1990) Patterns of weight change and their relation to diet in a cohort of healthy women. Am J Clin Nutr 51:1100–1105PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Flegal K, Carroll M, Kuczmarski R, Johnson C (1998) Overweight and obesity in the United States: prevalence and trends, 1960–1994. Int J Obes 22:39–47CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Keating N, Cleary P, Rossi A, Zaslavsky A, Ayanian J (1999) Use of hormone replacement therapy by postmenopausal women in the United States. Ann Int Med 130:545–553PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Biener L, Harris JE, Hamilton W (2000) Impact of the Massachusetts tobacco control programme: population based trend analysis. BMJ 321(7257):351–354PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Lee IM, Paffenbarger RS Jr, Hsieh CC (1991) Physical activity and risk of developing colorectal cancer among college alumni. J Natl Cancer Inst 83:1324–1329PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Lee I-M, Paffenbarger RS (1992) Change in body weight and longevity. J Am Med Assoc 268:2045–2049CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Colditz G, Rosner B (2000) Cumulative risk of breast cancer to age 70 years according to risk factor status: data from the Nurses’ Health Study. Am J Epidemiol 152(10):950–964PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Rossouw JE, Anderson GL, Prentice RL et al (2002) Risks and benefits of estrogen plus progestin in healthy postmenopausal women: principal results from the Women’s Health Initiative randomized controlled trial. JAMA 288(3):321–333PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Chen WY, Manson JE, Hankinson SE et al (2006) Unopposed estrogen therapy and the risk of invasive breast cancer. Arch Intern Med 166(9):1027–1032PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Benefits of Smoking Cessation. A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, Maryland: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health; 1990 1990. Report No.: DHHS (CDC) 90-8416Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    White E, Patterson R, Kriskal A et al (2004) VITamins and Lifestyle Cohort Study: study design and characteristics of supplement users. Am J Epidemiol 159:83–93PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Tooth L, Ware R, Bain C, Purdie DM, Dobson A (2005) Quality of reporting of observational longitudinal research. Am J Epidemiol 161(3):280–288PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Willett W, Colditz G (1999) Approaches to conducting large cohort studies. Epidemiol Rev 20:91–99Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Bernstein L, Allen M, Anton-Culver H et al (2002) High breast cancer incidence rates among California teachers: results from the California Teachers Study (United States). Cancer Causes Control 13:625–635PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Ross JA, Sinner PJ, Blair CK, Cerhan JR, Folsom AR (2005) Hormone replacement therapy is not associated with an increased risk of leukemia (United States). Cancer Causes Control 16(5):483–488PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Harvie M, Howell A, Vierkant RA et al (2005) Association of gain and loss of weight before and after menopause with risk of postmenopausal breast cancer in the Iowa women’s health study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 14(3):656–661PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Colditz GA, Hankinson SE (2005) The Nurses’ Health Study: lifestyle and health among women. Nat Rev Cancer 5(5):388–396PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Hankinson SE, Willett WC, Michaud DS et al (1998) Plasma prolactin levels and subsequent risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women. J Natl Cancer Inst 91:629–634CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Kolonel LN, Altshuler D, Henderson BE (2004) The multiethnic cohort study: exploring genes, lifestyle and cancer risk. Nat Rev Cancer 4(7):519–527PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Le Marchand L, Haiman CA, Wilkens LR, Kolonel LN, Henderson BE (2004) MTHFR polymorphisms, diet, HRT, and breast cancer risk: the multiethnic cohort study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 13(12):2071–2077PubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Le Marchand L, Kolonel LN, Henderson BE, Wilkens LR (2005) Association of an exon 1 polymorphism in the IGFBP3 gene with circulating IGFBP-3 levels and colorectal cancer risk: the multiethnic cohort study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 14(5):1319–1321PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Cheng I, Stram DO, Penney K et al (2006) Common genetic variation in IGF1 and prostate cancer risk in the multiethnic cohort. J Natl Cancer Inst 98:123–134PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Michael Y, Kawachi I, Berkman L, Holmes M, Colditz G (2001) The persistent impact of breast carcinoma on functional health status: prospective evidence from the Nurses’ Health Study. Cancer 89:2176–2186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Michael YL, Berkman LF, Colditz GA, Holmes MD, Kawachi I (2002) Social networks and health-related quality of life in breast cancer survivors: a prospective study. J Psychosom Res 52(5):285–293PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Holmes MD, Stampfer MJ, Colditz GA, Rosner B, Hunter DJ, Willett WC (1999) Dietary factors and the survival of women with breast carcinoma. Cancer 86:826–835PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Kroenke CH, Chen WY, Rosner B, Holmes MD (2005) Weight, weight gain, and survival after breast cancer diagnosis. J Clin Oncol 23(7):1370–1378PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Colditz GA (2005) Epidemiology and prevention of breast cancer. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 14(4):768–772PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Collins FS (2004) The case for a US prospective cohort study of genes and environment. Nature 429:475–477PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Niess-Gain Professor in Medicine, Department of Surgery, and Alvin J. Siteman Cancer CenterWashington University School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish HospitalSt. LouisUSA

Personalised recommendations