The CUP Transition: what is it?

Our flagship Continuous Update Project is entering a new transition phase, as we ensure that we keep up with the latest cancer science

Our work so far

Over the last 10 years, WCRF has collected, analysed and judged the global evidence on how diet, nutrition and physical activity are linked to cancer through its ground-breaking Continuous Update Project (CUP). This culminated in the Third Expert Report and the Cancer Prevention Recommendations which were updated in 2018. This currently represents the best evidence available on cancer prevention and survival through diet, nutrition (including body fatness) and physical activity.

The science is evolving

During this time, science has moved forward. There are new ways to study the evidence, new ways of thinking about the risk factors that may influence cancer, and our understanding of cancer itself has improved.

As the science has evolved, it is important that we consider how to adapt the CUP to address the future challenges in cancer prevention and survival research.

The consistency of our Cancer Prevention Recommendations since 1997 – across the First, Second, and Third Expert Reports – reflects the stability of the global research over three decades. This provides an excellent basis from which the CUP can further evolve.

The CUP Transition is the process we are putting in place to support the evolution of the CUP from what it is now, to what it will be in the future.

The next frontier

The goal of the CUP Transition is to ensure that the new CUP generates the best possible answers to the most important questions related to how diet, nutrition and physical activity affect risk of, and survival from, cancer – benefitting the public, the scientific community, and the WCRF network.

We will do this by:

  • Expanding the work we do on cancer survival. This includes:
  1. Updating the evidence on the role of diet, nutrition (including body fatness) and physical activity on survival after breast cancer.
  2. For the first time, reviewing the evidence on the role of diet, nutrition (including body fatness) and physical activity on survival after colorectal and prostate cancer.
  • Identifying new research to add to the CUP, including how to review and incorporate the underlying biological changes that lead to cancer, how to better understand differences between individuals and how diet, nutrition and physical activity affects individual cancer risk differently.
  • Avoiding any repetition of work that just confirms what we already know.
  • Ensuring the new CUP is as cost effective as possible.

Practicalities and logistics

The CUP Transition process demands time and appropriate expertise. So we have convened a CUP Transition Panel (CUP-TP) which will be co-chaired by Prof Ed Giovannucci from the Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health and Prof Ellen Kampman from Wageningen University. The CUP-TP meetings will be completed by late summer 2020. The CUP Secretariat will then translate the guidance from the CUP-TP into a practical strategy.

Members of the CUP-TP

Name and affiliation

Role in CUP-TP

Ed Giovannucci

Associate Professor of Medicine

Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health


Ellen Kampman

Chair Nutrition and Disease

Wageningen University


Kostas Tsilidis

Senior Lecturer in Cancer Epidemiology

Imperial College London

Panel member

Alan Jackson

Emeritus Professor of Human Nutrition

University of Southampton

Panel member

Marc Gunter

Section & Group Head Nutritional Epidemiology Group

International Agency for Research on Cancer

Panel member

Steve Clinton

Professor of Internal Medicine and clinician

Ohio State University

Panel member

Anne McTiernan

Professor Public Health

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Panel member

Elio Riboli

Professor in Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention

Imperial College London


Vivien Lund


Public representative