March 28, 2013

VU to serve as host site for ACS cancer prevention study

Most cancers are sporadic, which means that physicians don’t have enough clues to determine what caused an individual’s disease.

Most cancers are sporadic, which means that physicians don’t have enough clues to determine what caused an individual’s disease.

To help answer that question and prevent future cancer cases, Vanderbilt University will serve as a host site for a nationwide cancer prevention study sponsored by the American Cancer Society (ACS).

Breast cancer survivor Shannon Newman hopes the cancer prevention study will eventually provide answers for patients like her. (photo by Randy Neese)

The Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3) started in 2006 with a goal to enroll 300,000 men and women from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds in the United States. This is the third nationwide population study launched by the ACS and the last chance for people in Nashville to enroll.

Enrollment, which is open to Vanderbilt faculty, students and staff, and members of the public, will be held in the lobby of Langford Auditorium, Thursday, April 25, 7 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., and 4 – 7:30 p.m. People between the ages of 30 and 65 who have never been diagnosed with cancer (except basal cell skin cancer) are eligible to participate.

“This is a chance for the Vanderbilt community to help fight back against this often deadly disease,” said Anne Washburn, associate director of the Office of Patient and Community Education at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC). “Long-term population studies can help us gather crucial information about who is most at risk for disease.”

William Blot, Ph.D., associate director for population sciences at VICC, noted that the two prior ACS studies have provided crucial information about the effects of tobacco, obesity and other modifiable risk factors for cancer.

“The third study offers similar opportunities and encompasses a more diverse population, plus it will establish a biobank of blood samples for future molecular and genomic analyses. The ACS research nicely complements cohort studies aimed at cancer prevention now ongoing at Vanderbilt,” Blot said.

The goal of the CPS-3 study is to examine a wide spectrum of lifestyle, behavioral, environmental and genetic risk factors linked to cancer risk and death. The prevention study will expand scientists’ knowledge of cancer risk factors in diverse populations, improve understanding of cancer biology and improve disease prediction.

Shannon Newman isn’t eligible for the study because she has already been diagnosed with cancer. The Hendersonville physical therapist is the latest cancer patient in a family that has faced numerous diagnoses of breast and prostate cancer over three generations.

After her breast cancer diagnosis, Newman visited Vanderbilt’s Clinical and Translational Hereditary Cancer Program for counseling and genetic testing. However, she has tested negative for several known genetic cancer mutations and she is hoping that the CPS-3 study will eventually help provide answers for patients like her who are faced with a cancer mystery.

“In the future, we may be able to avoid such patterns and decrease the number of breast cancer diagnoses,” said Newman.

Participants will be followed for 20-30 years. Every few years, they will be contacted by researchers to update information about medical, lifestyle and behavioral issues.

All personal information and any individual results of blood analyses that may be performed will be kept strictly confidential by CPS-3 research staff. There is no cost to participate.

Study participants are encouraged to book an appointment time in advance for the April 25 event by visiting or calling (888) 604-5888.

If you have questions about enrollment in the CPS-3 study, visit or email