EPIC Centres


  Background | Follow-up | Scientists | Funding  | Activities 

The French E3N Cohort Study (Etude Epidémiologique auprès des femmes de la MGEN)
Centre for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health (CESP)
Team: Health across Generations
INSERM U1018 – Paris South University

Institut de Cancérologie Gustave Roussy
Espace Maurice Tubiana
114 rue Edouard Vaillant
94805 Villejuif Cedex


Participants in the French E3N prospective cohort were recruited among women living in France and insured with MGEN (Mutuelle Générale de l’Education Nationale), a national health insurance plan covering employees of the National Education System and their families. In 1990, about 100,000 women aged 40—65 years were recruited. Blood samples were collected from about 25% of the participants, and saliva samples from almost an additional 50%. About 75,000 of the E3N women answered the diet history questionnaire sent in 1993, and they represent the EPIC-France cohort.
  Males Females Number of participants Percentage of EPIC cohort
France 0 74 524 74 524 14.29%

The E3N Cohort Study focuses on diet and hormones as major components of women’s health and the team performs analytical epidemiological research with interests in environment, especially nutrition and hormones, biology, and genetics and epigenetics to understand risk factors for cancer and other major chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.


Each participant has been actively followed up by self-administered questionnaires every 2 to3 years since 1990; the latest follow-up questionnaire was mailed in December 2014. These questionnaires collect information on lifestyle and reproductive factors, body size, medical history, and familial history of cancer. Other follow-up methods include linkage with health insurance records and mortality registries and collection of cancer/pathology reports.
By the end of 2017, 8 250 participants in the EPIC-France cohort had died and there were 20,148 cancer cases.


Principal Investigators

Gianluca Severi
Principal Investigator
Genetics and epigenetics, and lung and prostate cancers
Marie-Christine Boutron-Ruault
Co-Principal Investigator
Nutrition, and breast, thyroid, colorectal, pancreatic and brain cancers
Study Coordinator
Marina Kvaskoff
Skin cancer, hormones, and cancer survival
Database Manager
Lyan Hoang
IT Manager

Other key people

Guy Fagherazzi
Nutrition and diabetes
Dr Agnès Fournier
Hormones, breast cancer, and pharmacoepidemiology


Financial support is provided by:
  • Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (Inserm)
  • Institut de Cancérologie Gustave Roussy
  • La Ligue Nationale Contre le Cancer
  • La Mutuelle Générale de l’Education Nationale (MGEN)
  • L’Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR)
  • L’Institut National du Cancer (INCa)
  • La Fondation de France (FdF)
  • La Fondation ARC
  • La Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale (FRM)

Research Activities

  • Investigation of the associations between lifestyle and metabolic factors (in particular diet, physical activity, use of hormonal treatments, reproductive factors, and early life exposures) and major chronic diseases (with a particular interest in cancer and diabetes)

  • Assessment of the relationships between several biological markers (diet, hormonal milieu, genetic polymorphisms...) and chronic diseases
  • Analysis of the interactions between genetic characteristics and environmental risk factors
  • Analysis of the factors related to cancer recurrence and survival
  • Establishment of the E4N family cohort study (children, grandchildren, and children’s fathers of E3N participants): www.e4n.fr.