The International Agency for Research on Cancer estimates that over half of the new cancer cases and almost two-thirds of the cancer deaths in 2012 occurred in low and middle income countries. To discuss the challenges and opportunities to reducing the burden of cancer worldwide, the Molecular Epidemiology and the Environment and the International Issues in Cancer Special Interest Groups joined forces to hold a session during the 38th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Preventive Oncology (March 2014, Arlington, Virginia). The session highlighted three topics of particular interest to molecular cancer prevention researchers working internationally, specifically: 1) biomarkers in cancer research; 2) environmental exposures and cancer; and 3) molecular pathological epidemiology. A major factor for successful collaboration illuminated during the discussion was the need for strong, committed, and reliable international partners. A key element of establishing such relationships is to thoroughly involve individual international collaborators in the development of the research question; engaged international collaborators are particularly motivated to champion and shepherd the project through all necessary steps, including issues relating to institutional review boards, political sensitivity, laboratory-based assays, and tumor subtyping. Also essential is allotting time for the building, maintaining, and investing in such relationships so that successful international collaborations may take root and bloom. While there are many challenges inherent to international molecular cancer research, the opportunities for furthering the science and prevention of cancer worldwide are great, particularly at this time of increasing cancer incidence and prevalence in low and middle income countries.
©2014 American Association for Cancer Research.