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Approved Research

Study of white blood cell counts in relation to cancer risk

Principal Investigator: Dr Miguel Angel Pujana
Approved Research ID: 61744
Approval date: July 27th 2020

Lay summary

Human epidemiological and disease studies, and animal model analyses have shown the relevance of proper immune system function in preventing cancer development. For example, immunosuppressed individuals have increased risk of suffering for cancer. However, it remains unclear if a systemic decrease or relative low counts of blood immune cells are associated with cancer initiation. In addition, it is not fully understood if inherited genetics influence both of these features.

To answer these fundamental questions, we request personal, life-style, genetic, clinical and hematology data from UK Biobank participants diagnosed of breast, colorectal, lung or prostate cancer, and of healthy control individuals.  The study aims to determine if cancer age at diagnosis is associated with differences in white blood cell counts, that is with alterations in systemic immune cell numbers. The results of this study may have important implications for cancer prevention and risk estimation.