Dialog Box

ICGC Initiatives

The 25k Initiative

A Global Imperative to Eliminate the Burden of Cancer

The ICGC was established to launch and coordinate a large number of research projects sharing a common goal of unravelling the genomic changes present in many forms of cancer that contribute to the burden of disease in people throughout the world.  The original initiative (known as the 25k Project) was to define the genomes of 25,000 primary untreated cancers which to date has produced >20,000 tumour genomes for 26 cancer types. Learn more about the 25k Initiative in the 2010 Marker Paper.

The results of the analyses of these data are available through the ICGC data portal (DCC). 

Explore the ICGC 25k Data Portal 

As of the Final data release (release 28) in 2018 the following countries contributed to ICGC:

The ICGC was the first step to broadly and comprehensively map the structural aberrations of genomes and begin to understand the molecular basis of cancer. It was appropriately focused on cancer that had not yet been treated, and on the tumour at its origin (primary cancer). Data generated through the ICGC has transformed research strategies in academia and industry alike, with hundreds of seminal works published directly using ICGC data, with landmark articles in the world’s elite scientific journals. No therapeutic is developed today without, in some way, applying the knowledge that ICGC has provided the world.

More about ICGC's Impact 


The second ICGC initiative, the Pan-Cancer Analysis of Whole Genomes (PCAWG) study commenced in 2013 as an international collaboration to identify common patterns of mutation in more than 2,600 cancer whole genomes from the International Cancer Genome Consortium. Building upon previous work which examined cancer coding regions (Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network, The Cancer Genome Atlas Pan-Cancer analysis project, Nat. Genet. 2013 45:1113, Cell. 2018 Apr 5;173(2):283-285), this project explored the nature and consequences of somatic and germline variations in both coding and non-coding regions, with specific emphasis on cis-regulatory sites, non-coding RNAs, and large-scale structural alterations. The Pan-Cancer Analysis of Whole Genomes project published a suite of 23 papers in Nature and affiliated journals in February 2020.

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The Future

In 2015, the ICGC, in response to the realization of the potential of genomics in healthcare, released a position “white paper” on the evolution of ICGC move directly to impacting on human health. Emanating from the ICGC for Medicine (ICGCmed) white paper is ICGC’s next project, which aims to Accelerate Research in Genomic Oncology (ICGC ARGO).