This protocol has been in place since the early 1970s, when GEB first began to study individuals and families at high risk of cancer. Because GEB recognized that certain hereditary cancer syndromes are characterized by patterns of diverse tumors, the protocol has never been limited to one type of cancer or one group of related cancers. Therefore, over the last 30 years, we have evaluated families with many different types of cancer or conditions that predispose to tumors under this protocol. We develop separate protocols only when we are able to identify a large number of families with a particular type of cancer and decide to develop a long term research effort focused on that cancer.
We have developed a new protocol for familial melanoma and for familial blood and lymph node cancers. Currently, the main families being studied under our original protocol are those with chordoma, a rare primary bone cancer, or with osteosarcoma, another type of bone cancer. We are also interested in families in which several relatives have bladder or lung cancer, and families with an hereditary condition called the nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome.