It is recognized that genetic variants play an important role in conferring risk of colorectal cancer. To comprehensively study the millions of genetic variations across the genome, large scale studies are becoming increasingly important for elucidating inherited risk factors and their interaction with environmental factors.
The Genetics and Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer Consortium (GECCO) is a collaborative effort of researchers from North America, Australia, and Europe, using data from over 40,000 participants. The coordinating center for this international consortium is based at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (Principal investigator: Ulrike Peters; lead statistician: Li Hsu).
GECCO aims to accelerate the discovery of colorectal cancer-related variants by replicating and characterizing Genome Wide Association Study (GWAS) findings, conducting a large-scale meta-analysis of existing and newly generated GWAS data, and investigating how genetic variants are modified by environmental risk factors. We are able to study the impact of common and rare genetic variants across the entire genome by performing whole genome sequencing and genotyping. Additionally, a crucial part of this work is the ongoing harmonization of detailed clinical, epidemiologic, and outcome data across the studies in the consortium.
The large amount of data that GECCO has collected for CRC allows for investigation into survival and risk modeling as well. GECCO is now aiming to broaden its investigation of colorectal cancer risk by examining tumor characteristics in concert with host characteristics.
GECCO collaborators and consortium members can click here to access the GECCO portal at http://gecco.fhcrc.org.
Additionally, the Colon Cancer Family Registry (CCFR) is collaborating with GECCO on many analyses.