Introduction Understanding the causes of cancer depends on synthesising epidemiological, clinical and mechanistic evidence. Using this approach, the 2007 WCRF/AICR Expert Report defined the likely causal contributions of factors related to food, nutrition and physical activity to cancer risk, based on systematic literature reviews (SLRs) of evidence published up to 2005. For the Continuous Update Project (CUP) a team at Imperial College London (ICL) updates the previous databases as new studies are published.
Methods The CUP follows a similar process to the 2007 Expert Report. Having first combined the separate databases for the 17 cancers reviewed for the 2007 Expert Report into one database, the ICL team conducts SLRs of links between food, nutrition physical activity and specific cancer sites, and displays and analyses the evidence according to peer-reviewed protocols. An independent expert panel draws conclusions based on the updated evidence. The database is currently being updated with papers published since 2005 through a rolling programme. A complete, continuously updated database is expected by 2015.
Results An updated SLR for breast cancer was consistent with the conclusions of the 2007 Expert Report. Further reports of updated SLRs will be published on other cancers. Once the SLRs for all the cancer sites have been updated, the database will be made publicly available, and the 2007 Expert Report recommendations reviewed.
Conclusion The CUP will provide a unique resource synthesising epidemiological and other evidence on food, nutrition, physical activity and cancer, to facilitate related research, and underpin advice to public and policy-makers.
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