The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition biobank.
Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) 2010 ; 675: 179-91.
PubMed ID : 20949388
The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) is a multi-center prospective cohort study designed to investigate the relationship between nutrition and cancer, with the potential for studying many etiologic or genetic factors as well as other disease end-points. The study includes 521,448 participants (367,993 women and 153,455 men, mostly aged 35-70 years) recruited in 23 centers located in ten European countries, who are followed up for cancer incidence and cause-specific mortality for several decades. At enrolment, which took place between 1992 and 2000 at each of the centers, information was collected through a non-dietary questionnaire on lifestyle variables and through a dietary questionnaire addressing usual diet. Anthropometric measurements were performed and blood samples taken, from which plasma, serum, red cells, and buffy coat fractions were separated and aliquoted. A central biobanking facility, located at the International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, was developed for the long-term storage of the specimens in liquid nitrogen. The biobank operates as a service provider and sample distribution center for scientific consortia engaged in studies involving biomarker analyses. To date, EPIC represents the largest single resource worldwide for prospective investigations on the etiology of cancers that can integrate questionnaire data on lifestyle and diet, and can also provide access to measurements of biomarkers of diet and of endogenous metabolism (e.g., hormones and growth factors) and genetic polymorphisms. This chapter describes the building up of the EPIC central biobank and the mechanisms that have been developed to manage the access to specimens by a large number of different users.