About the Early Detection Research Group

The Early Detection Research Group supports research that seeks to determine the effectiveness, operating characteristics and clinical impact (harms as well as benefits) of cancer early detection technologies and practices, such as imaging and molecular biomarker approaches.  

The group ran two large-scale early detection trials for which data and biospecimens are available for additional research:

  • The Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial was a population-based randomized trial to determine the effects of screening on cancer-related mortality and secondary endpoints in more than 150,000 men and women aged 55 to 74.
  • The National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) compared two ways of detecting lung cancer: low-dose helical computed tomography (CT) and standard chest X-ray. NLST enrolled approximately 54,000 current or former heavy smokers from 33 sites across the United States.

Etiologic and Early Marker Studies (EEMS) Program 

The research group’s Etiologic and Early Marker Studies (EEMS) program administers the PLCO biorepository. The biorepository contains serum, plasma, buffy coat, red blood cell and buccal cell specimens, as well as tumor tissue. EEMS manages receipt and review of research proposals requesting PLCO specimens on a twice-yearly basis. In addition, there is an NIH funding opportunity, PAR 13-036, which also accepts proposals for use of PLCO biospecimens.

Cancer Data Access System (CDAS)

The research group maintains the Cancer Data Access System (CDAS), a web-based platform for requesting data from PLCO and NLST.