Cancer Epigenome Task Force

The AACR Cancer Epigenome Task Force (CETF) will investigate the feasibility of an integrated International Cancer Epigenome Project modeled after the successful genomics projects already underway to define cancer genomes. The CETF will define the tumor types to be investigated, the scope of epigenomic marks to be studied, the incorporation of the data into publicly accessible databases, and explore the potentials for the use of epigenomic information for the detection, prevention, prognostication, and treatment of human cancers.

Recently there has been a massive increase in the amount of information published on the roles of epigenetic processes in human cancer. Additionally, international projects such as the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) and The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) project have uncovered mutations previously unrecognized in human cancers, which directly impact epigenomic information. The interaction between the epigenome and the genome is now accepted as having a major causative role in human cancers. Thus, the time is now ripe to derive integrated epigenomic maps which define the effects of these mutations, investigate the timing of epigenomic events in the causation of cancer, and utilize this knowledge for the prevention and treatment of these dreaded diseases.

The CETF will use an integrated approach to determine how the epigenetic marks, including DNA methylation, histone modifications and variants, nucleosomes and non-coding RNAs, are distributed in the genomes of the various cancers under study and determine the role of these changes in carcinogenesis. Further, the CETF will define standards for the production of such maps and provide publicly accessible databases with the goal of accelerating the development of new cancer treatments. By identifying key questions, such as the timing of the events relative to the establishment of a precancerous phenotype as well as potential approaches for providing the solutions to these questions, the CETF will have a major impact on the development of new cancer prevention and treatment approaches.

Task Force Members

Read the special report on the AACR Human Epigenome Workshop, an initiative of the AACR Human Epigenome Task Force (relaunched as the CETF).

Read the task force's proposal for an International AHEAD Pilot Project.

Contact Information

Shawn Sweeney, PhD
Senior Program Administrator
Executive Office
Phone: 215-440-9300