ToPCaP

Harvard's Prostate Cancer Cohorts

Harvard's Prostate Cancer Cohorts

The Harvard Prostate Tumor Cohorts include US men diagnosed with incident prostate cancer who were participants in two prospective research studies: the Physicians' Health Study (PHS) and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS). The cohorts began in 1982 and 1986, respectively, and the men in both studies are followed for the incidence of many diseases, including prostate cancer. Starting in 2000, we have sought to retrieve tumor tissue specimens from the men diagnosed with prostate cancer at any point in the study period, collecting prostatectomy or TURP specimens (PHS and HPFS) when available, or the biopsy specimens (only PHS, currently working on HPFS). To date the tumor repository within the cohorts include specimens from N=2,591 men with prostate cancer. Within this resource, tumor tissue microarrays (TMA) have been constructed, multiple immunohistochemical biomarkers measured, initial gene and mRNA and miRNA expression profiling studies undertaken. Also, there are prediagnostic blood specimens, rich exposure and clinical data, and long term follow-up of the cohort with respect to progression, development of distant metastases and mortality.

The Harvard cohorts share several attributes: detailed and validated exposure data before and after diagnosis, prospectively collected plasma, DNA, and tumor tissue material, careful annotation for clinical characteristics of the cohort, and complete follow-up for disease progression. Multiple genetic studies have been conducted using PHS and HPFS DNA samples. Prostate cancer cases from both studies have been included in GWA as part of the NCI funded Breast and Prostate Cancer Cohort Consortium, and another study comparing lethal to indolent prostate cancer cases.