International Childhood Cancer Cohort Consortium (Journal Article)
Childhood cancers are rare conditions whose etiology is poorly understood. There is evidence that for some, the causal pathway may commence in utero or during peri-conception. One traditional epidemiologic approach to the study of rare diseases is the use of a retrospective case-control study design. Potential flaws in this approach for studying childhood cancers include errors in data recall or reconstructed from records, and biospecimens obtained only after disease onset. To date, epidemiologic research has yielded few insights which could lead to prevention of childhood cancer. Recently, a number of countries have commenced large infant/child prospective cohort studies to better understand the etiology of a number of more common childhood diseases. An International Childhood Cancer Cohort Consortium was established to explore new options these cohorts collectively may provide for research on childhood cancers. The rationale, feasibility, and candidate hypotheses for such a collaboration are outlined, as discussed at a workshop and first International Childhood Cancer Cohort Consortium meeting held on September 28-29, 2005 in Rockville, MD, USA, involving interested scientists and representatives of 11 infant/child cohorts from four continents, representing approximately 700,000 subjects.