History of EPIC
The planning and piloting of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) was initiated in 1990 by IARC-WHO and the participating centres, with support from the European Commission. The project started with a series of pilot studies to test the methodology for the establishment of a very large prospective cohort study with collection and storage of blood samples, as well as the feasibility of recruiting participants. As these methodological studies provided very encouraging results, the European Commission via its “Europe Against Cancer” programme decided to initiate the EPIC project and fund it with a shared-cost mechanism by which approximately 50% of the funds would be provided by the European Commission and the remaining portion would be provided by national sources, either governments or charities. Recruitment of study participants and collection of data and biological samples started in 1993 in four countries (Spain, Italy, France, and the United Kingdom) and was extended between 1994 and 1998 to include six more countries (Greece, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway).
Recruitment of participants and data collection were completed in 1999. Follow-up of study participants for disease end-points, vital status, and causes of death started in the mid-1990s. Additional follow-up to measure changes in lifestyle, health conditions, diagnosed diseases, and related treatment was conducted a few years after baseline, at least once in all EPIC study centres.