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Home Cancer Research The Continuous Update Project

The Continuous Update Project

‘‘We pledge to build on the foundation of our Second Expert Report by continuously monitoring and analysing emerging research in cancer prevention.’’

Karen Sadler, Executive Director, WCRF UK

Following the launch of the Second Expert Report, the Continuous Update Project (CUP) was established to maintain a central database of the accumulated evidence related to food, nutrition, physical activity and cancer. It is based on a live system of scientific data that is updated on an ongoing basis with any new research on cancer prevention published worldwide.

This allows us to continuously monitor the research on cancer prevention and regularly review our messages. The database is one of, if not the, largest resource of existing scientific literature on food, nutrition, physical activity and cancer in the world.

Reviewing the evidence

A team of researchers at Imperial College London prepares reports using the CUP database. A panel of independent experts reviews the reports to evaluate whether the Recommendations produced by WCRF/AICR in our Second Expert Report need to be revised to take into account any significant new evidence.

This vital process ensures that our cancer prevention messages are always based on the latest scientific research. They also allow us to continue giving people the best possible information available so they can make choices that will reduce their risk of developing cancer.

Summary of progress to date

The team have started the process of updating the database with articles published since 2006, as the WCRF/AICR Second Expert Report was only able to include publications up to end 2005. This is being done on a rolling programme basis, adding cancer types one at a time.

In July 2013 the database contained 4,161 papers on cancers of the breast, colorectum, prostate, pancreas, endometrium (womb), ovary, bladder, kidney, liver, gallbladder, lung, oesophagus and stomach; and polyps and breast cancer survivors.

Future plans & 5-year strategy

Once the central database has been fully updated with all cancer types, in 2017, it will be made available to the wider scientific community. This will allow the vital information it holds regarding the prevention of cancer by food, nutrition and physical activity to be accessed anywhere in the world. Not only will this help spread our cancer prevention messages to a larger audience but it will help researchers determine which areas of cancer prevention require further investigation.

This, and the fact that much more research is being carried out in the area of cancer prevention, means that in future even more published studies will need to be analysed and entered into the central database.

We aim to publish a thorough review of the Second Expert Report Recommendations for Cancer Prevention in 2017.

Currently there are eight members in the WCRF-funded Imperial College team, and we need to ensure sufficient income to keep the team funded into the future.


In order to update the database over the next five years for all the cancer types included in the Second Expert Report, a campaign to raise a total of £1.8 million has been set to sustain this project and ensure that this vital work progresses. The project costings includes salaries, which make up the majority of the costs due to the considerable amount of labour intensive work required to analyse and process the individual research papers as they are published.

For instance, to search for and identify a relevant paper, and enter the required information into the database takes around half a day’s work, costing £86 per paper or around £500 for every six papers entered. Analysis work undertaken on a particular topic, for example on the link between bowel cancer and red meat takes approximately one week of work, costing around £200 per day and £1,000 to complete.

If you have any questions or would like to receive more information about supporting this project, please do not hesitate to contact our Major Gifts Fundraiser.

Dr Teresa Norat - CUP team leader

Dr Teresa Norat, Imperial College London

“The CUP is a vital project because it provides scientists researching cancer and its causes with a ‘one-stop shop’ of information. By funding this important project WCRF UK is creating a unique cancer prevention resource.”


Page last reviewed: October 2013
Page next due for review: October 2015
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