The Cancer Registry conducts active research collaboration with national and international partners.
TOwards imProved screening for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer In All of EUrope
The EU-TOPIA project is intended to provide information on screening for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer across the EU. The research target is the optimum implementation and scope of screenings, their benefits, their harms and their cost-effectiveness. The task set for Finland in the EU-TOPIA project is to define the parameters of benefits and harms, to define socio-economic and equality dimensions of screening and to participate in the validation of modelling for three main screenings. The information collected through the EU-TOPIA project will also be used to develop MISCAN software. The development objectives of MISCAN are to make it more appropriate for life-time evaluation by improving the input parameters and conversion variables used in its modelling.
As part of the EU-TOPIA project, the benefits and harms of breast cancer screening in Finland are being investigated in the study “Lifelong benefits and harms of breast cancer screening”. The study has two approaches, cross-sectional and longitudinal. The main approach is to investigate lifelong cumulative effects instead of previous approach of using cross-sectional comparisons. The purpose of the project is to find out the long-term (cumulative) benefits and harms of screening whilst taking into account the use of other health services.
Research protocol, summary: EU-topia.org
Project presentation: EU-topia.org
Most important publications: EU-topia.org
Lead researcher: Ahti Anttila
Research team: Milla Lehtinen, Sirpa Heinävaara, Tytti Sarkeala, Nea Malila, Suvi Mäklin, Maiju Pankakoski, Petra Makkonen, Sanni Helander
Funding: EU Horizon 2020 programme
Collaborating institutions: Erasmus University Medical Center (NL), London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (UK), CPO Piemonte (IT), Institute of Oncology Ljubljana (SI), National Institute for Health Development (EE), Syreon Institute (HU), Auria Biopankki?
CANCER GENETICS / THE FINNISH CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE IN CANCER GENETICS RESEARCH
Cancer genetics research systematically maps groups of patients with possible hereditary cancer susceptibility based on the locality and surname of cancer patients. The aim of the study is to identify molecular genetic changes in hereditary cancers. The most interesting patients representing different cancer types are selected for further study and cancer registry data are used as a basis for construction of genealogy, describing the inheritance of cancer phenotypes. Such data will also assist in the examination of clinical features of cancer patients and the acquisition of samples.
The research project is part of the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Cancer Genetics Research and is led by Professor Lauri Aaltonen and funded by the Academy of Finland. The unit consists of research teams under Lauri Aaltonen (University of Helsinki), Eero Pukkala (Finnish Cancer Registry), Sampsa Hautaniemi (University of Helsinki), Jussi Taipale (University of Helsinki) and Veli Mäkinen (University of Helsinki).
Research team: Eero Pukkala, Sanna Heikkinen, Janne Pitkäniemi, Matti Rantanen (Finnish Cancer Registry)
Funding: Academy of Finland
Collaborating institution: University of Helsinki
Lead researcher: Eero Pukkala
The aim of the Nordscreen project is to develop an openly available web-based tool to investigate the development of cancer screening indicators across the Nordic countries and Estonia. The development of comparable screening indicators and public reporting support the improvement of the quality of screening programmes.
Nordic screening programmes differ from one another and direct comparison between them is difficult without uniformly defined indicators agreed between the participating countries. The process and performance indicators that are to be developed are based on international research projects and recommendations. Individual-level screening data that forms the basis for indicators are collected from national mass screening registries that are in international comparison comprehensive and of high of quality.
The project started in the spring of 2016 and will run until the end of 2018. It focuses primarily on cervical cancer screening programmes but it is being extended as far as possible to include breast and colorectal cancer screening programmes.
Research protocol: NORDSCREEN (pdf)
Research team: Ahti Anttila, Veli-Matti Partanen, Maiju Pankakoski, Tytti Sarkeala, Sirpa Heinävaara, Stefan Lönnberg
Funding: Nordic Information for Action e-Science Center (NIASC) / Nordforsk
Collaborating institutions: Karolinska Institutet (Sweden), Cancer Registry of Norway, Icelandic Cancer Registry, Danish Quality Database for Cervical Cancer Screening, Estonian National Institute for Health Development
Lead researcher: Ahti Anttila
ESTIMATION OF OVERDIAGNOSIS IN BREAST CANCER SCREENING
Overdiagnosis of cancer refers to cancers cases that would not have been detected without screening and which might not subsequently fully develop or cause any symptoms in an individual’s lifetime. Estimates of the magnitude of overdiagnosis in European breast cancer screening programmes vary greatly depending on the method (0-50%).
Umeå University has developed a new approach to assessing overdiagnosis known as the multi-state model. The multi-state model has already been applied to Swedish registry data with promising results. The benefit of using this model is that the evaluation of the overdiagnosis does not require an anticipated incidence of breast cancer without screening.
Researchers at the University of Umeå need a certain amount data on breast cancer screening to validate the model. In Finland, all women in the target age group have been invited for breast cancer screening since the 1980s, and thus the incidence of breast cancer in the Finnish female population without screening is difficult to assess. The use of Finnish registry data modelling studies also benefit us, because this allows us to estimate the magnitude of overdiagnosis in breast cancer screening in the current target age range of women between the ages of 50 and 69 years.
The collaborative project started in 2016. A research permit will be acquired during year 2018 after which the necessary data will be modified and submitted for use by Umeå University researchers.
Research team: Tytti Sarkeala, Sirpa Heinävaara
Funding: Cancer Society of Finland
Yhteistyötahot: Umeå University (lead researchers Håkan Jonsson, Wendy Yi-Ying Wu, Lennart Nyström), the Norwegian Cancer Registry (Solveig Hofvind), University of Copenhagen (Søren Nymand Lophaven), Stockholm-Gotland Regional Cancer Registry (Sven Törnberg)
Lead researcher: Tytti Sarkeala
CANCER EPIDEMIOLOGY AND SCREENING
The entire project comprises several separate smaller projects. The following projects are currently in progress:
- Hidden structures in the cancer incidence. The project uses the Invariant Coordinate Selection time series for the incidence of cancer and compares the functionality of the method with the traditional principal components analysis (PCA) currently used. The article written on the project is designed to be part of the doctoral dissertation that will be written by Niko Lietzen, a doctoral student at Aalto University. The project is under the responsibility of Janne Pitkäniemi and Sirpa Heinävaara at the Finnish Cancer Registry.
- Overdiagnosis of breast cancer in women aged 50-69 years. We will develop an alternative assessment method for evaluating overdiagnosis in breast cancer screening with Matias Heikkilä, a postgraduate student at Aalto University. The project is under the responsibility of Sirpa Heinävaara and Tytti Sarkeala at the Finnish Cancer Registry.
Research team: Janne Pitkäniemi, Sirpa Heinävaara, Tytti Sarkeala
Funding: Cancer Society of Finland
Collaboration with Aalto University started in 2015.
Collaborating institution: Aalto University (Pauliina Ilmonen, Niko Lietzen, Matias Heikkilä)
Lead researcher: Janne Pitkäniemi