Increase Subgroup Samples in Genetic Data of Cancer Patients

Public Health

The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) needs more genetic data from older cancer patients, patients of different races, and those at various stages at diagnosis to better reflect the universe of U.S. cancer patients, according to newly published research by the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.

Researchers compared demographic and clinical characteristics between TCGA cases and two databases from the general population of U.S. cancer cases, the largest study of its kind. They found differences in the distribution of both demographic and clinical characteristics for the majority of cancers.

TCGA was formed in 2005 as a collaboration between the National Cancer Institute and the National Human Genome Research Institute to map cancer genomic changes and improve cancer diagnosis, therapy and prevention.

“Increased awareness of under-represented groups by researchers conducting cancer genomic research will allow for targeted efforts that increase the representativeness of genomic data that is important for precision medicine,” wrote the study’s senior author, Kimberly J. Johnson, Associate Professor at the Brown School. The lead author was Xiaoyan Wang, a doctoral student at the Brown School.

The study was published online Aug. 21 in the British Journal of Cancer.

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