Boffetta P, Colditz GA, Potter JD, Kolonel L, Robson PJ, Malekzadeh R, Seminara D, Goode EL, Yoo Y, Demers P, Gallagher R, Prentice R, Yasui Y, O’Doherty K, Petersen GM, Ulrich CM, Csizmadi I, Amankwah EK, Brockton NT, Kopciuk K, McGregor SE, Kelemen LE. Cohorts and consortia conference: A summary report (Banff, Canada, June 17-19, 2009). Cancer Causes and Control 2011;22(3):463-468.
Epidemiologic studies have adapted to the genomics era by forming large international consortia to overcome issues of large data volume and small sample size. Whereas both cohort and well-conducted case-control studies can inform disease risk from genetic susceptibility, cohort studies offer the additional advantages of assessing lifestyle and environmental exposure-disease time sequences often over a life course. Consortium involvement poses several logistical and ethical issues to investigators, some of which are unique to cohort studies, including the challenge to harmonize prospectively collected lifestyle and environmental exposures validly across individual studies. An open forum to discuss the opportunities and challenges of large-scale cohorts and their consortia was held in June 2009 in Banff, Canada, and is summarized in this report.