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The Cancer Genome Atlas Project

Cancer is now understood to include more than 200 different diseases. In all forms of cancer, genomic changes cause disruptions within cellular pathways that result in uncontrolled cell growth. One in three people in the Western world develops cancer. One in five will die of the disease. Cancer is, therefore, the most common genetic disease. The Cancer Genome Atlas Pilot Project seeks to explore the entire spectrum of genomic change in cancer through the application of genome analysis technologies, including large-scale genome sequencing.

The Cancer Genome Atlas Project (TCGA), was initiated in 2006 to identify important genetic changes involved in lung, brain, and ovarian cancers. The project will enable new discoveries and tools that will provide the basis for new cancer therapies, diagnostics, and preventive strategies.

The overall began in 2006 with a technical demonstration project, known as the Tumor Sequencing Project (TSP), to determine the feasibility of a full-scale program to systematically explore the universe of genomic changes involved in human lung cancer.

As in the Human Genome Project, TCGA data are made available to the worldwide research community without restriction. These data will provide researchers and clinicians with an early glimpse of an unprecedented, comprehensive "atlas" of information describing the genomes of all cancers. This atlas will enable the research community to reach the long-range objective of understanding cancer at the molecular level and will help transform the bench-to-bedside research paradigm with prevention, early diagnosis, targeted treatment and cure.

All DNA specimens used in TCGA have been anonymized along with their phenotypic data so that an investigator cannot link an individual specimen with a patient identity. The coding and naming that is visible in the public databases will not allow the traces from multiple amplicons from the same DNA sample to be associated.

The goal of studying the human genome has always been to improve human health. TCGA represents another step in that direction.

Additional Resources

Learn more about the Cancer Genome Atlas Project

Related Publications

Identification of genes and pathways involved in kidney renal clear cell carcinoma., Yang, William, Yoshigoe Kenji, Qin Xiang, Liu Jun S., Yang Jack Y., Niemierko Andrzej, Deng Youping, Liu Yunlong, Dunker A., Chen Zhongxue, et al. , BMC bioinformatics, 2014, Volume 15 Suppl 17, p.S2, (2014) Abstract
Effects of TP53 mutational status on gene expression patterns across 10 human cancer types., Parikh, Neha, Hilsenbeck Susan, Creighton Chad J., Dayaram Tajhal, Shuck Ryan, Shinbrot Eve, Xi Liu, Gibbs Richard A., Wheeler David A., and Donehower Lawrence A. , The Journal of pathology, 2014 Apr, Volume 232, Issue 5, p.522-33, (2014) Abstract
Adverse outcomes in clear cell renal cell carcinoma with mutations of 3p21 epigenetic regulators BAP1 and SETD2: a report by MSKCC and the KIRC TCGA research network., Hakimi, Ari A., Ostrovnaya Irina, Reva Boris, Schultz Nikolaus, Chen Ying-Bei, Gonen Mithat, Liu Han, Takeda Shugaku, Voss Martin H., Tickoo Satish K., et al. , Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, 2013 Jun 15, Volume 19, Issue 12, p.3259-67, (2013) Abstract
The Cancer Genome Atlas Pan-Cancer analysis project., Weinstein, John N., Collisson Eric A., Mills Gordon B., Shaw Kenna Mills R., Ozenberger Brad A., Ellrott Kyle, Shmulevich Ilya, Sander Chris, and Stuart Joshua M. , Nature genetics, 2013 Oct, Volume 45, Issue 10, p.1113-20, (2013) Abstract
Integrated analyses of microRNAs demonstrate their widespread influence on gene expression in high-grade serous ovarian carcinoma., Creighton, Chad J., Hernandez-Herrera Anadulce, Jacobsen Anders, Levine Douglas A., Mankoo Parminder, Schultz Nikolaus, Du Ying, Zhang Yiqun, Larsson Erik, Sheridan Robert, et al. , PloS one, 2012, Volume 7, Issue 3, p.e34546, (2012) Abstract
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