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Data from GWAS studies done with PLCO samples is available through the NIH and NCI established data policies that enhance access, maximize scientific use, adhere to ethical guidelines, insure fair play, and protect stakeholders. Clear guidelines can also avoid duplicative studies and enhance collaborative opportunities through a transparent process for approval and making available information on existing studies.

PLCO specimens have been used in multiple GWAS studies. Upon completion and publication of a GWAS study, the genetic data may become available through the database of the Genotypes and Phenotypes (dbGaP) website. If you are considering using PLCO specimens to conduct Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) analyses for cancers where GWAS studies have been conducted, you will need to consult with the SNP list used for those studies.

Any bona fide research group may apply through dbGaP for access to PLCO GWAS data from published studies. This application includes verification by the institution that the investigators are full time employees, the IT system meets specific standards for the protection of sensitive data, any posted embargo will be respected, and the research will conform to standard protections of privacy and confidentiality. The investigator must also describe appropriate research goals.

All posted PLCO GWAS data have limited covariates associated with the genotypes. Individuals who receive GWAS data do not automatically receive access to other covariate data. Additional covariates are available only through the CDAS website by submitting a project proposal. Approval can be gained through the PLCO Data-Only project process, or through the EEMS application process if biospecimens are also requested. Investigators may request and receive data from a more comprehensive set of covariates. After approval is obtained, a dataset will be created for the investigator containing requested covariates and ID linkage to GWAS data. Attempts to identify individuals for other linkage to preexisting PLCO datasets will be considered a violation of the Data Use Certification that is agreed upon for the release of genotype data. These violations are taken very seriously by NCI and NIH and may lead to censure and removal of funding.