Our Global Network is dedicated to funding research and health education programmes into the links between food, nutrition, physical activity, body fatness and cancer risk.
Frequently asked questions
How does the CUP relate to the SER?
The CUP provides a comprehensive and up to date depiction of scientific developments on the relationship between food, nutrition, physical activity, body fatness and cancer, building on the foundations of the 2007 Second Expert Report (SER). Unlike the SER, the CUP is an ongoing review and captures new research as it is published. It ensures that the evidence on which the WCRF/AICR Recommendations are based continues to be the most up to date and comprehensive available. The CUP follows the same robust scientific process as the 2007 SER, maintaining an independent approach by separating the collection and review of the evidence from the Panel's conclusions and recommendations.
Which cancers are linked to obesity?
The updated evidence from the Continuous Update Project (CUP) confirms that greater body fatness increases the risk of breast (in postmenopausal women), colorectal and pancreatic cancer. Findings from the Second Expert Report (SER) also found that greater body fatness increases the risk of other cancers including endometrium, kidney, oesophagus, and gallbladder cancer. The updated evidence for endometrial cancer will be considered by the CUP Expert Panel in June 2013 and the Panel's conclusions will be published later in 2013.
What is the role of the CUP Expert Panel?
The CUP Expert Panel comprises independent experts in a variety of disciplines and provides an impartial analysis and interpretation of the systematic literature reviews (SLRs) prepared by a research team at Imperial College London. The Panel are responsible for making recommendations for cancer prevention. An independent approach is maintained by separating the Panel's judgements and Recommendations for Cancer Prevention from the collection and review of the evidence.
Why don’t you update all the cancer sites at the same time?
We have chosen to initially update cancers one by one for practical reasons. There is a single research team working on the project at Imperial College London. For the Second Expert Report there were seven centres and each centre worked on one cancer at a time and conducted the reviews for up to four different cancer types.
Once a cancer has been updated the CUP team will keep the evidence up-to-date. We aim by 2015 to have the CUP database up-to-date for all cancers. It will then be possible to work on keeping all the cancers up-to-date at the same time.
What about the evidence for cancer survivors?
The research evidence on cancer survivors is expanding, and as part of the CUP, the evidence for breast cancer survivors is being considered. As this involves a slightly different type of evidence to the other cancers being updated as part of the CUP, a new protocol for reviewing evidence on breast cancer survivors has been developed and is available from the resource downloads section. The evidence for breast cancer survivors will be discussed by the CUP Panel in June 2013.
Where can I access the CUP findings?
The CUP findings are accessible from resource downloads. Updated systematic literature reviews and reports with the Panel's judgements for breast, colorectal and pancreatic cancers are available for download. Other cancer reports will be added as they become available. You can find short updates on the progress for other cancers.
Can I access the data used in the CUP?
The database will be made available to the wider scientific community after 2017. Researchers in all countries will be able to access a comprehensive and state of the art resource based on a live system of scientific data. It will be possible to interrogate and utilise the data to investigate the relationship between diet, physical activity, obesity and cancer. In the meantime, the database, as it develops, is available to researchers on request as the information is being continuously updated. Email email@example.com for further details.
Why doesn’t the CUP look at every type of cancer?
The CUP concentrates on cancers where there is evidence of an association with food, nutrition and physical activity. If new evidence of a link for other cancers becomes available, then it will be possible to add them to the database, depending on available resources.
The CUP also reviews the evidence on cancer survivorship and here too will concentrate on the cancers where food, nutrition and physical activity have been shown to affect survival.
Why has the CUP Panel grouped several anthropometric exposures for pancreatic cancer?
When considering the updated evidence for pancreatic cancer, the CUP Panel for the first time decided to group several individual anthropometric exposures together under the headings ‘body fatness’ and ‘greater childhood growth’. This was a step forward from the Second Expert Report, to better reflect the true biological exposures rather than constrain the focus to individual measurements themselves, and to allow more accurate interpretation of the evidence.
The same groupings have not been applied for the CUP updates for breast and colorectal cancer retrospectively, and the Panel’s judgements for individual anthropometric exposures for these cancers still stand. However, moving forward with updates for other cancer sites, the Panel will continue to interpret and make judgements of the evidence in the best possible way, and will consider the grouping of anthropometric exposures for breast and colorectal cancer when they revisit these cancers at a later time.