A study looking at the genetic causes of bowel (colorectal) cancer (NSCCG)

Please note - this trial is no longer recruiting patients. We hope to add results when they are available.

Cancer type:

Bowel (colorectal) cancer





This national study is trying to find out more about how a family history of the disease can increase people's risk of bowel cancer.

Please note that the research team will write to patients and ask them to take part. You cannot volunteer for this trial.

More about this trial

There are several different factors that can increase risk of developing bowel (colorectal) cancer. One is an inherited faulty gene (genetic mutation).

An inherited genetic mutation may mean that several people in the same family develop bowel cancer. This is called a strong family history’. Inherited conditions such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) also increase risk.

The increase in risk will depend on which gene is damaged, or even on which part of the gene is damaged. Some genetic mutations are ‘high penetrance’ and increase risk a lot. Others are ‘low penetrance’ and don’t increase risk very much.

The aim of this study is to find out more about high penetrance genes, and how much they increase risk. And to look for new low penetrance genes.

Who can enter

You may be able to join this study if all of the following apply. 

  • have been diagnosed with bowel cancer in the last 5 years
  • have a parent, brother, sister or child diagnosed with bowel cancer
  • are 59 years old or under at diagnosis
  • are invited to take part

Trial design

This study will recruit 30,000 patients with bowel cancer. If you are eligible to take part, the research team may ask you if you would like to join the study.

If you agree, they will send you a questionnaire to fill out and send back. This will ask you about your family’s medical history. You will also need to give a blood sample. Your GP or practice nurse can do this.

The research team also need to recruit 20,000 people that haven’t been diagnosed with bowel cancer. They will be the ‘control’ group. The research team will ask you to provide the name of friend or someone you are related to by marriage only. Like you, they will fill out the questionnaire and give a blood sample.

Please note: The researchers have recruited enough people into the 'control group' and recruitment to this group has now closed.

The research team would like to look at the sample of your cancer that was kept by the hospital when you had your surgery. Doing new research on this will help them find out more about the genetic faults that may increase risk of bowel cancer.

Hospital visits

You will need to go to the GP surgery or outpatient department to give a blood sample. But apart from that, you won’t have to make any extra trips to the hospital as a result of taking part in this trial.

Side effects

There are no treatments in this trial. You may get a small bruise where your blood sample is taken, but apart from that there aren’t any side effects.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Prof Richard Houlston

Supported by

CORE (used to be called Digestive Disorders Foundation)
Cancer Research UK
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
Institute of Cancer Research (ICR)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer

If you have questions about the trial please contact our cancer information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:


Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Alan took part in a clinical trial for bowel cancer patients

A picture of ALan

“I think it’s essential that people keep signing up to these type of trials to push research forward.”

Last reviewed:

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