BCAC – The Breast Cancer Association Consortium

The Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC) is a multidisciplinary dynamic consortium formed in April 2005 and led by scientists at the University of Cambridge. It is a forum of investigators, who are interested in investigating the inherited risk of breast cancer. Many groups around the world are conducting studies with the aim of identifying genes that may be related to the risk of breast cancer. The aim of the consortium is to combine data from many studies, to provide a reliable assessment of the risks associated with these genes, and to incorporate this information to improve risk prediction models.

There are currently over 420,000 women from more than 100 studies participating in the BCAC. Each study submits information about its study subjects including demographics, clinical data, and key epidemiological risk factors.

Our group contributes two population-based case-control studies to the BCAC: the GESBC study includes approximately 700 premenopausal breast cancer cases and 1400 controls, and the MARIE study includes more than 3,800 postmenopausal breast cancer cases and over 7,300 controls.

Within the BCAC, our group coordinates the work on collating and harmonizing classical risk factor information from the studies into a central database. We also spearhead analyses of environmental risk factors and gene-environment interactions with the aim of assessing whether effects of established or suspected environmental/lifestyle risk factors for breast cancer differ according to subgroups classified according to breast cancer subtypes and/or genetic susceptibility. Knowledge about gene-environment interactions is relevant for improving individual risk assessment.

Recent funding for scientific projects in BCAC include the B-CAST project (EU Horizon2020) and CONFLUENCE (NCI Intramural Research fund). The aim of B-CAST is to develop tools to allow precise identification of individual risk of breast cancer, the subtype of cancer most likely to develop and prognosis of that particular subtype.

Collaboration:
University of Cambridge, Karolinska Institutet, Netherlands Cancer Institute, National Cancer Institute (USA)

Funding:
European Commission (COGS project 2009 - 2013, B-CAST project 2015 - 2020)
National Cancer Institute Intramural Research fund (CONFLUENCE)

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