EPIC - the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition - is a prospective study designed to investigate the relationships between diet and other lifestyle factors and the incidence of different forms of cancer and other chronic diseases. The total cohort involves over half a million men and women from ten European countries. The EPIC-Oxford cohort consists of 65,000 men and women living throughout the United Kingdom. EPIC Prostate is a programme of prospective analyses designed to investigate factors related to the development of prostate cancer, with a particular emphasis on identifying modifiable risk factors for aggressive disease. The studies are based on 150,000 men from eight European countries who are participating in the EPIC cohort.

EPIC-Oxford is a prospective study of about 65,000 men and women living throughout the United Kingdom, recruited between 1993 and 2000. Approximately half of the participants are non meat-eaters, making this study unique in being able to examine the effects of a vegetarian diet on long-term health. EPIC-Oxford is part of the European EPIC collaboration, which includes over 500,000 people recruited in ten European countries: Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The European-wide database and bank of biological samples for EPIC are held by the World Health Organization’s IARC in Lyon, France.

To date, research in EPIC-Oxford has focused on the associations of diet, especially vegetarian diets, with the risk of cancer, ischaemic heart disease, other chronic diseases and mortality, as well as studies of the associations of diet with blood levels of nutrients, hormones, cholesterol and other biomarkers. All the results are published in scientific journals; more details of these can be found at www.epic-oxford.org

Scientists involved in EPIC-Europe are conducting a large number of analyses on the associations of dietary intake with cancer risk, details of which can be found at www.epic-oxford.org and at http://epic.iarc.fr/. Current key projects are examining the associations between diet and cancers of the prostate breast, stomach and colorectum (large bowel). EPIC Prostate is a programme of prospective analyses of potential risk factors for prostate cancer, including dietary, lifestyle, hormonal, metabolic and genetic factors, and is co-ordinated from the Cancer Epidemiology Unit in Oxford (see EPIC Prostate – link).

EPIC is also contributing to several international consortia including the Breast and Prostate Cancer Cohort Consortium (BPC3), the Prostate Cancer Association Group to Investigate Cancer Associated Alterations in the Genome (PRACTICAL) consortium, the Cancer Genetic Markers of Susceptibility project (CGEMS), and the Genetics and Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer Consortium (GECCO). The consortia have pooled data and biospecimens from large prospective cohorts to conduct research on gene variants and environmental factors in cancer aetiology.

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