Research Groups

Early Detection and Prevention - Screening Group

Current Research Topics:

The projects include large-scale, long-term cluster randomized controlled trials to evaluate various screening methods for cervical and oral cancers, cost-effectiveness studies, evaluation of existing screening programmes, evaluation of the efficacy of treatment of cervical precancerous lesions, studies to assess the accuracy and reproducibility of various low- and high-technology screening tests, the assessment of methods to evaluate test characteristics, studies on natural history of cancer, development of educational materials and quality assurance strategies and conducting training courses on screening. Studies are being developed to evaluate early detection of breast cancer in low-resource settings. Survival experience of cancer patients are also assessed in selected developing country populations to emphasize and advocate the importance of early detection and improving the efficiency of health services in cancer control.

Examples of major on-going studies are given below:

Cervical Cancer

  • Multicentre cluster randomized trial involving 20,000 girls aged 10-18 years in 9 locations in India to evaluate the comparative efficacy of 2- vs 3-doses of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in preventing HPV infection, cervical intraepithelial neoplasia and cervical cancer.
  • Cluster randomized controlled trial involving 140,000 women to evaluate the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of a single-round of visual, cytology and HPV screening in reducing cervical cancer incidence and mortality in Osmanabad district, India in collaboration with the Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai and the Nargis Dutt Memorial Cancer Hospital, Barshi, India.
  • Cluster randomized controlled trial involving 80,000 women to evaluate the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of a single-round of visual screening in reducing cervical cancer incidence and mortality in Dindigul district, India in collaboration with the Christian Fellowship Community Health Centre, Ambillikai and the Cancer Institute (WIA), Chennai, India.
  • Studies assessing the determinants of participation in screening.
  • Non-randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness of information education programmes in reducing cervical cancer mortality in Solapur District, India.
  • Multicenter randomized clinical trial to evaluate the comparative efficacy and side-effects of single-versus double-freeze cryotherapy in the treatment of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN).
  • The performance of low technology visual screening in routine health care settings.
  • Development of printed and digital learning resources for cytology, visual screening, histology, colposcopy and treatment of CIN using cryotherapy, cold coagulation and loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP).
  • Evaluation of cervical screening programmes in Bangladesh and Thailand.
  • Technical assistance to visual screening programme in Angola, Bangladesh, Guinea, India, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Nepal, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Turkey, Uganda, Vanuatu, Zambia.

Oral Cancer

  • Cluster randomized controlled trial involving 180,000 persons to evaluate the effectiveness of oral visual screening in reducing oral cancer mortality in Trivandrum district, India in collaboration with the Regional Cancer Centre, Trivandrum, India.
  • Natural history studies of oral precancerous lesions.
  • Studies addressing the determinants of participation.
  • Evaluation of cost-effectiveness of oral cancer screening in collaboration with RTI international, USA.
  • Development of a digital and printed atlas and clinical manual to facilitate the prevention and early detection of oral cancers.

Breast Cancer

  • Cluster randomized controlled trial involving 120,000 women to evaluate the role of interventions 'package' consisting of breast awareness and clinical breast examination (CBE) in reducing breast cancer mortality in collaboration with Regional Cancer Centre, Trivandrum, India.
  • Evaluation of test characteristics of near infrared transillumination breast imaging in the early detection of breast lumps and breast cancer in collaboration with the Cancer Institute of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (CICAMS), Beijing, China and the Cancer Institute (WIA), Chennai, India.
  • Development of a digital and printed atlas and a clinical manual to facilitate the early detection of breast cancers.
  • Evaluation of the test characteristics of ultrasonography in the early detection of breast lumps and breast cancer in collaboration with the Cancer Institute (WIA), Chennai, India.
  • Evaluation of breast awareness in the early detection and control of breast cancer.

Colorectal cancer screening

  • Operational research in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Bangkok, Thailand, to introduce colorectal cancer screening using immunochemical fecal occult blood test (iFOBT) and colonoscopy triage through routine health services in Lampang province, Thailand. This project involves 150,000 people aged 50-69 years and will evaluate the test characteristics of iFOBT in routine colorectal cancer screening, colorectal cancer detection rates and cost-effectiveness of colorectal cancer screening.

Integrated screening for breast, cervical and oral cancer early detection

  • Evaluation of screening tests 'package' aiming at early detection of breast, cervical and oral neoplasia in Dindigul district in collaboration with Christian Fellowship Community Health Center (CFCHC), Ambilikkai, India and Cancer Institute (WIA), Chennai, India.