In this era of chronic diseases, large studies are essential in investigating genes, environment, and gene–environment interactions as disease causes, particularly when associations are important but not strong. Moreover, to allow expansion and generalization of the results, studies should be conducted in populations outside Western countries. Here, we briefly describe the Asia Cohort Consortium (ACC), a collaborative cancer cohort research project that was first proposed in 2004 and now involves more than 1 million healthy individuals across Asia. There are approximately 50 active members from Bangladesh, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States, and elsewhere. To date, the work of the ACC includes 3 articles published in 2011 on the roles of body mass index, tobacco smoking, and alcohol consumption in mortality, diabetes, and cancer of the small intestine. Many challenges remain, including data harmonization, resolution of ethical and legal issues, establishment of protocols for biologic samples and transfer agreements, and funding procurement.
2012 by the Japan Epidemiological Association