The 100,000 Genomes Project aims to improve cancer care for NHS patients. We aim to improve treatment and outcomes through personalised medicine.

Cancer is the UK’s single biggest killer. Over 350,000 people are diagnosed every year. Over 160,000 people die from cancer every year.

Cancer can be described as a genomic disease. It is caused by changes to DNA. The changes cause cells to divide and grow uncontrollably. Sometimes, the genomic changes are inherited from parent to child. But most of the time (about 90%) they happen naturally in cells.

We are sequencing DNA from a patient’s tumour and healthy cells. We compare the two sequences. This helps uncover the exact genomic changes causing an individual’s cancer.

This information can improve diagnosis. It can also help doctors choose treatments most likely to be effective for each person.

Patients who were recently diagnosed may have been invited by their hospital doctor to take part.  Patients who have had previous treatment, including chemotherapy or radiotherapy were also eligible to take part, though this depended on a number of factors and was discussed with clinician.

Patients with the following types of cancer were recruited nationwide:

  • Adult glioma
  • Bladder
  • Brain
  • Breast
  • Cancers of unknown primary
  • Childhood solid tumours
  • Colorectal
  • Endometrial
  • Haematological malignancies
  • Hepatobiliary (Liver and pancreatic)
  • Lung
  • Melanoma
  • Nasopharyngeal
  • Oropharnygeal
  • Ovarian
  • Recurrences and metastases of cancer
  • Renal
  • Sarcoma
  • Sinonasal
  • Testis
  • Upper gastrointestinal (including stomach, liver, pancreas and bile duct tumours)

For some patients, a particular treatment may be suggested based on their results, but in most cases this won’t happen. The main benefits are likely to be for other patients in the future. Read more about the results and feedback that participants can get.

In the future, we hope other cancers will be included too as part of the NHS Genomic Medicine Service.


Cancer participation information sheet