Consortium for Molecular Characterization of Screen-Detected Lesions Created: Eight Grants Awarded

Date Posted: 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


The NCI has awarded eight grants to create the Consortium for Molecular Characterization of Screen-Detected Lesions. The consortium has seven molecular characterization laboratories (MCLs) and a coordinating center, and is supported by the Division of Cancer Prevention and the Division of Cancer Biology.

The consortium focuses on a critical area in cancer science – the need to characterize molecular and cellular features of screening-detected pre-cancers and early cancers, including within the tumor microenvironment. The resulting information will help to distinguish between a pre-cancer or cancer that is indolent (non-growing) versus an aggressive cancer; and to find minimally invasive methods to address the questions of how to treat a cancer found through a screening test. Being able to make this distinction would reduce the problem known as overdiagnosis. Physicians and patients would have a better idea if regular monitoring of the precancer or cancer is sufficient or if early treatment is warranted.

The seven MCLs will function with the coordinating center in the planning and development of collaborative projects. In addition, the consortium will work with existing NCI programs, including the Early Detection Research Network (EDRN), Cancer Systems Biology Consortium (CSBC), the Tumor Microenvironment Network (TMEN), the National Center for Advancing Translational Research (NCATS), and The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA).

The investigators and institutions participating in this consortium are listed below, alphabetically by the contact Principal Investigator's last name:

Principal Investigator and Institution Research Area
Christopher J. Amos
Dartmouth College
The coordinating center supports three main domains: network coordination, statistical support and computational analysis, and protocol development and database support.
James D. Brooks
Stanford University
The overall goal is to uncover key genomic features that distinguish prostate cancer with favorable vs. adverse outcomes. Define the earliest genomic events in prostate cancer, evolutionary pathways to invasive carcinoma, the final constellation of genomic alterations, and the extent of genomic heterogeneity and biological behavior.
Steven Dubinett
University of California, Los Angeles
Identify molecular, cellular, and imaging profiles that distinguish screen-detected from non-screen- detected lung cancers and screen-detected lung cancers with indolent versus aggressive clinical courses by leveraging unique samples and data from the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) and the Detection of Early Lung Cancer Among Military Personnel (DECAMP) Consortium.
Laura Esserman
University of California, San Francisco
Identify better ways to screen for and treat the most aggressive breast cancers and avoid overdiagnosis and overtreatment as well as the inadvertent labeling of indolent lesions as cancers.
Anirban Maitra
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Correlate quantitative imaging measurements of the physical microenvironment of pancreatic cysts with underlying histopathology and genomic profiles, and identify the host immune response to malignant progression in pancreatic cysts by measuring autoantibody responses in the serum.
Pierre P. Massion
Vanderbilt University
Derive detailed quantitative structural imaging analysis, targeted genomic analysis and single cell analysis to interrogate the functional genomics of early stage adenocarcinoma of the lung.
Edward Matthew Schaeffer
Johns Hopkins University
Perform an integrated, multi-dimensional genomic, epigenomic and expression analysis to uncover novel molecular pathways that characterize indolent vs. aggressive prostate cancers.
Janet L. Stein
University of Vermont & State Agricultural College
Identify tumor microenvironment signatures that predict the aggressiveness of early stage, screen-detected breast cancers by minimally invasive methods.