The National Cancer Center (President: Hitoshi Nakagama, Chuo-ku, Tokyo) Hospital East (Director: Atsushi Ohtsu, Kashiwa-shi, Chiba; hereinafter referred to as "NCC Hospital East") and the International Cancer Genome Consortium - Accelerating Research in Genomic Oncology project (ICGC ARGO, Professor Andrew Biankin, Executive Director, International Cancer Genome Consortium) jointly announce that the "MONSTAR-SCREEN" project (study representative: Takayuki Yoshino, Chief - Department of Gastrointestinal Oncology, NCC Hospital East) has joined as an official member program. "MONSTAR-SCREEN" is a nationwide cancer genome screening project registering patients with a wide range of solid tumors. The project started as the third- and fourth-stage program of an industry-academia collaborative cancer genome screening project, SCRUM-Japan,*1 led by the National Cancer Center, Japan.
MONSTAR-SCREEN is a prospective observational study for profiling and monitoring cancer-associated genomic alterations and the gut microbiome. The study is carried out by longitudinally analyzing circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) and feces of patients with a wide range of advanced solid tumors; as of March 2021, approximately 1,600 patients were enrolled in this study. In addition, genomic sequencing data from "MONSTAR-SCREEN-2," the successor project of MONSTAR-SCREEN under the soon starting Stage-4 SCRUM-Japan, is also planned to be provided to ICGC-ARGO. The contribution to the construction of an international database through these projects is expected to lead to a high rating of the quality and quantity of genomic sequencing data from Japan.
In addition, Dr. Yoshino, study representative of MONSTAR-SCREEN, was nominated as the first Japanese member of the Executive Board, which oversees ICGC-ARGO. With full commitment, MONSTAR-SCREEN will cooperate in the construction of a large global database where high-quality clinical information is added to the genome sequencing data. Using the database, MONSTAR-SCREEN will develop new world-class cancer diagnostics and treatment techniques. “Our mission is to bring an engaging smile to patients worldwide,” said the study representative of MONSTAR-SCREEN, Dr. Yoshino. “We believe our participation will contribute to translating multi-omics into clinical utility in patients with solid tumors.”
Professor Andrew Biankin, Regius Professor of Surgery at the University of Glasgow and Executive Director ICGC, said: “ICGC is taking the next step of helping translate scientific discovery into clinical practice and the MONSTAR-SCREEN project is a positive step forward for patients in Japan and across the world. “The inclusion of this project as part of the International Cancer Genome Consortium will widely contribute to the global cancer research and treatment knowledge base.”
By playing a central role in the construction of the international whole-genome sequencing database at ICGC-ARGO, whole-genome sequencing research in Japan will be greatly advanced, as the project expands its global profile with the Japanese initiative.
*1 SCRUM-Japan (Cancer Genome Screening Project for Individualized Medicine in Japan）
An industry-academia collaborative cancer genome screening project, which integrated the LC-SCRUM-Japan (currently, LC-SCRUM-Asia) for patients with lung cancer started in 2013 and the GI-SCREEN-Japan (currently, MONSTAR-SCREEN) for patients with gastrointestinal cancer started in 2014. In 2018, study subjects were expanded to patients with all solid tumors. Since then, we have analyzed genomic alterations in cancer, and promoted their enrolment in developmental clinical trials for suitable therapeutic agents. Since its establishment in February 2015, more than 20,000 patients with advanced solid tumors have participated in the study. Achievements of this project include 9 new drugs and 9 in vitro diagnostics, approved by the regulatory authority and widely available to patients in Japan with coverage from the National Health Insurance scheme. Over 200 medical institutions and 17 pharmaceutical companies/testing laboratories nationwide, industry, academia, and clinical sites work together to develop therapeutic drugs and in vitro diagnostics tailored to the genomic alterations in cancer patients in Japan.