Special Report on the Future of Cancer Prevention Research Published in American Association for Cancer Research Journal


PHILADELPHIA — A special report that sets out a brief agenda for the immediate future of cancer prevention research was published today in Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). The report focuses on how the interrelated disciplines of precision medicine and immune-oncology—elements of a broader domain of personalized public health—are transforming cancer prevention, including early detection.

The authors of the report, which is titled “Transforming Cancer Prevention Through Precision Medicine and Immune-oncology,” are world-renowned leaders in cancer prevention research from academia, the pharmaceutical industry, the AACR, and the National Cancer Institute. They include a Nobel laureate, three past-presidents of the AACR, the president-elect of the AACR, the editor-in-chief of Cancer Prevention Research, members of the AACR board of directors and Cancer Prevention Committee, and the chief executive officer of the AACR.

Understanding the molecular and cellular events that cause normal cells to form precancers and then to progress to fully invasive cancers is vital to developing approaches to prevent cancer. Recent discoveries are defining the sequence of genomic events and inflammatory tumor microenvironment, including stroma and immune-cell regulation, that drive cancer development, heralding a new era in cancer prevention.

Key recent advances highlighted in this freely available special report include:

  • Remarkable technological developments in genomics, including single-cell sequencing, supporting the creation of a “Pre-Cancer Genome Atlas” or “PCGA”;
  • Successes in randomized controlled clinical trials of chemopreventives informed by precision medicine advances, which include a breakthrough trial in familial adenomatous polyposis;
  • First genomic markers for early detection of colon and lung cancers validated; generation of promising leads for pancreatic and ovarian cancers based on new liquid-biopsy technology and big-data analytics;
  • Seminal studies of the biology of tumors that develop in individuals carrying cancer predisposition genes established recent paradigm-changing therapy and prevention, including early detection; and
  • Efforts and challenges in implementation science (defined as the application of what we already know) to increase clinical usage of proven approaches, such as HPV vaccines, which can prevent the essential cause of a major global cancer burden.

A post on the AACR blog, authored by Scott M. Lippman, MD, professor of medicine, director of the Moores Cancer Center, and associate vice chancellor for cancer research and care at UC San Diego, provides more insight into the special report and how we stand on the edge of a new frontier in cancer prevention. (Lippman is also a co-author of the special report.)

The AACR continues to play an important role in catalyzing advances in cancer prevention research with initiatives that include a standing Cancer Prevention Committee, two prevention-related journals—Cancer Prevention Research and Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention—and organizing numerous scientific conferences dedicated to cancer prevention research. The AACR’s upcoming Cancer Prevention Summit, “Shaping the Future of Cancer Prevention: A Roadmap for Integrative Cancer Science and Public Health,” will convene experts from all cancer prevention disciplines to identify future research priorities and discuss how to best advance public policy, public education, and services related to cancer prevention, including screening. All these initiatives are dedicated to promoting breakthroughs and collaborations across all disciplines of cancer prevention research.