The Firefighter Multicenter Cancer Cohort Study: Framework Development and Testing

A FEMA-Funded Research Project 

Page created: Monday, November 9, 2020 | Last Updated: Monday,  November 9, 2020

Overview of the FFCCS Infrastructure Study:

 

Cancer is a leading cause of fire service morbidity and mortality, and firefighters are exposed to multiple carcinogens in the workplace through skin contamination and inhalation. However, we currently do not understand which individual exposures are responsible for cancer in firefighters, the mechanisms by which these exposures cause cancer, or effective means of reducing exposures. Since cancer has a long latency period, biomarkers are also needed that can measure the effects of carcinogen exposure well before the development of cancer, when interventions to prevent disease could be effective. Development of a large (>10,000 firefighter) multicenter firefighter cancer prospective cohort study will address these needs, but the framework for such a study needs to be first developed and tested among a smaller initial set of fire service partners.

Project Goal: 

The goal of this study is to develop and test a framework for establishing a long-term firefighter multicenter prospective cohort study focused on carcinogenic exposures and effects.

Project Specific Aims: 

  1. Establish an oversight and planning board to provide study oversight, foster communication among fire organizations and help develop a long-term funding plan;

  2. Create and test a cohort study data coordinating center and harmonized survey data protocols;

  3. Develop and evaluate an exposure tracking system paired with quantitative exposure data to construct a firefighter carcinogen exposure matrix; and

  4. Create a biomarker analysis center and evaluate the association between cumulative firefighter exposures and epigenetic effects.

Study Timeline: 

Anticipated Impact: 

Through the course of this study, research activities and results are expected to establish the framework necessary for the subsequent development of a large multicenter cohort study of cancer in the fire service. It will also advance our understanding of firefighter exposures to carcinogens, and help identify biomarkers of carcinogen effect and cancer risk.

Infrastructure Team:

Dr. Jeff Burgess
University of Arizona
Project Co-PI 
Paola Louzado Feliciano 
University of Miami
Research Associate / Project Co-Leader
Dr. Alberto Caban-Martinez
University of Miami
Co-Investigator / DCC Director
Katerina Santiago
University of Miami
Central IRB Analyst /
Regulatory Affairs
Shawn Beitel
University of Arizona
Research Specialist / Project Co-Leader
Sally Littau
University of Arizona
Biomarker Lab Coordinator