Notice of Special Interest: Advancing Diet and Physical Activity Biomarkers for Assessing Lifestyle Interventions in Cancer Prevention and Cancer Interception Research

Notice Number: NOT-CA-24-060

Deadlines: October 5, 2024, October 10, 2024, October 17, 2024


Diet and physical activity are multidimensional exposures influencing cancer prevention and its interception. Lifestyle approaches are safe, long-term approaches used globally to reduce some obesity-related cancer risks (e.g., post-menopausal breast, colorectal, pancreatic, multiple myeloma, and liver cancers) while promoting overall health and well-being. Complex physiological interactions occur daily between ingested foods, physical activity, and the host’s general nutritional status, influencing their cancer risk. Evidence from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Spain cohort concluded that poor diet and nutritional status, low physical activity, excess body weight, and alcohol intake are modifiable lifestyle factors promoting metabolic dysfunction and contributing to chronic disease initiation, including obesity and some cancers. Diet and physical activity are indirectly measured as validated direct exposure biomarkers are missing. Current gaps in our scientific understanding exist about how lifestyle risk factors modify cancer risks across average- and high-risk groups. Developing direct baseline and exposure biomarkers indicative of changing cancer risk is critical for establishing safe, long-term lifestyle interventions for preventing and intercepting cancer in average- and high-risk groups.

This NOSI will serve as an important advancement in first-line diet and physical activity lifestyle interventions for reducing cancer risks in healthy and at-risk individuals and groups (e.g., obesity-related cancers). Through this NOSI, NCI DCP is particularly interested in studies developing and evaluating rigorous diet and/or physical activity baseline and recovery biomarker studies for use in long-term cancer risk reduction and its interception studies in high-risk groups across the lifecycle. This NOSI will support, but is not limited to, the following research areas:

  • Rigorous pilot studies using potential baseline and recovery biomarkers of dietary intake or nutritional status on early neoplastic changes in average-risk and high-risk people groups (e.g., Lynch Syndrome carriers).
  • Rigorous omics-based studies assessing how dietary intake, nutritional status, and/or physical activity modifications influence cellular or systemic functional changes (e.g., breast, colorectum, liver, lung) modifying cancer risk or its interception in humans or animal cancer models.
  • Rigorous studies assessing how physical activity changes baseline and/or recovery biomarkers influencing changes in cancer processes are modifying cancer risk in humans or animal cancer models.
  • Rigorous omics-based studies interrogating identified physical activity biomarkers or panels for assessing physical activity duration and intensity interventions on modifying hyperplastic events in humans or animal cancer models.

For more information, please see the opportunity webpage.