NCI supports the continued follow-up of participants in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial (PLCO) to strengthen the PLCO as a valuable resource for molecular epidemiologic research as well as provide long-term data on the trial’s primary endpoints. To achieve this, we plan to: 1) carry out at least an additional five years of annual active follow-up; 2) update key exposure data and collect additional data, including medication use and medical conditions that are common among older adults; and 3) collect additional clinical data and tumor tissue for colorectal and ovarian cancers. This five-year extension of the PLCO will substantially increase the number of incident cancers accrued within the cohort, strengthen the Trial’s ability to clarify the long-term effects of screening on cancer mortality, and provide a final opportunity to collect additional exposure data and expand the existing tumor pathological resource within the PLCO. Given the rich collection of biological specimens collected across multiple time points and extensive questionnaire data, the transition of the PLCO trial into an epidemiologic cohort will enable the PLCO to remain a unique and valuable resource for future molecular epidemiologic research.
In order to continue PLCO participant follow-up beyond center closeout, we plan to employ central administration rather than the multi-center administration needed earlier in the Trial. As participants are no longer being screened, continued follow-up through a centralized mechanism is now both feasible and cost-effective. A new contract, to establish and maintain a Centralized Data Collection Center (CDCC), was awarded to Westat by NCI.
We have compiled a list of questions and answers that we hope will address any uncertainties about the PLCO extended follow-up.