Rare Tumor Characterization Projects

Historically, The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) has set a goal of collecting and comprehensively characterizing 500 cases for each cancer selected for study. This number of samples is sufficient to detect recurrent mutations at the high level of sensitivity that TCGA aims to achieve. However, these quantities are unachievable for some rare cancers. Considering the scarcity of available samples for these tumor types and their public health impact, TCGA has initiated several Rare Tumor Projects, successfully characterizing 10 rare cancer types. Of these rare cancer types, enough sarcoma samples were collected to be analyzed with similar levels of statistical significance to the more common cancer types, but sarcoma is still considered rare because of the small size of the patient population.

In this effort to examine nearly 500 rare tumor cases overall, TCGA was able to comprehensively characterize tumor types that otherwise might not have been researched.

The following rare tumor types have been characterized: