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NCI Center for Global Health

Cancer Research Programs in Latin America

The Need for Collaboration

Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide but has long been considered a disease of developed countries. With increased globalization, including population migration, research indicates that cancer is increasingly becoming a major disease burden in developing nations as well, as evidenced by Latin America.  In addition, there are disparities in cancer mortalities across the globe. Of all cancer deaths, more than 70% occur in low- and middle-income countries and are projected to continue rising.  Collaboration is needed to build a cancer care and research network in Latin America to pinpoint factors contributing to cancer in the region, detect it earlier, and treat it more effectively. 

Most Frequent Cancers in Latin America, rate per 100,000. Breast - 39.7, Cervical - 23.5, Lung - 13, Prostate - 48.4, Stomach - 11.7

United States-Latin America Cancer Research Network (US-LA CRN)

Map of the Americas highlighting the six countries participating in the US-LA CRN: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, United States and UruguayIn March 2009, NCI and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Fogarty International Center (FIC) convened a breast cancer workshop in Bethesda, Maryland with official government and research delegations from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Uruguay, and the United States. Based on interactions at that meeting, these countries agreed to form the United States–Latin America Cancer Research Network (US-LA CRN) and launch the breast cancer pilot study. Later in 2009, government officials representing each of the five Latin American countries signed Letters of Intent (LOI) with the United States to formalize the creation of the US-LA CRN.

NCI's Foundation for Cancer Research in Latin America

NCI's Center for Global Health (CGH) employs three types of programs to enhance collaboration to systematically improve cancer research and care in Latin America and the United States: 1) scientific and clinical research, 2) training, and 3) advanced technology and capacity building. These programs help ensure that research efforts are sustainable, effective, and culturally appropriate.

Scientific and Clinical Research

CGH's Scientific and Clinical Research Program in Latin America allows countries to launch studies based on health burdens.  These collaborative studies will investigate those regions where an acute identifiable need exists (e.g., gastric cancer in Chile, classification of cervical cancers in some areas of Mexico). 


CGH's Training Program focuses on providing the most appropriate training experience for investigators. This program promotes international collaborations and adherence to high-quality research standards within and outside of Latin America. Training is critical to establishing and sustaining a strong cadre of cancer researchers.

Building Capacity

The goal of CGH's Advanced Technology and Capacity Building Program is to adapt advanced technologies and assist Latin American countries in building the in-country research capacity needed for basic, translational, and clinical cancer research through mutually beneficial partnerships.

1 World Health Organization