Research Groups

IARC Monographs


The IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans critically review and evaluate the published scientific evidence on carcinogenic hazards to which humans are exposed. These hazards include chemicals, complex mixtures, physical agents, biological agents, occupational exposures, and personal habits.

The IARC Handbooks of Cancer Prevention critically review and evaluate the published scientific evidence on cancer-preventive measures that could be employed in cancer control. These measures include public health policies for interventions for primary prevention with pharmacological or immunological agents, foods, and behaviour changes (e.g. NSAIDS, vitamin D, and increased physical activity), as well as interventions for secondary prevention (e.g. screening for cancers of the cervix, breast, or colon).

To achieve such evaluations, IARC convenes an international, interdisciplinary Working Group of expert scientists to develop each volume of the Monographs and Handbooks. IARC selects these experts based on their knowledge and experience and the absence of real or apparent conflicting interests. The Working Group writes a critical review of the pertinent scientific literature and an evaluation of each agent or intervention′s potential to cause or prevent cancer in humans. Agents and interventions are selected for evaluation based on (1) evidence of human exposure or feasibility of intervention and (2) some published scientific evidence of cancer-causing or cancer-preventive effects, which together combine into potentially preventable cancer burden.

National and international health agencies use the IARC Monographs and the IARC Handbooks to guide and support their actions to prevent exposure to known, probable, and possible carcinogens, and to promote action for primary and secondary prevention. Accordingly, an overarching objective is to achieve the highest degree of scientific authority and trust in these evaluations.