IRAN joins the International Agency for Research on Cancer



N° 259


16 May 2018


IRAN joins the International Agency for Research on Cancer

Lyon, France, 16 May 2018


The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is pleased to welcome the Islamic Republic of Iran as a new Participating State.  The Islamic Republic of Iran becomes the 26th country to join the Agency, sealing a long-standing relationship of collaboration between IARC and Iranian scientists.

“The government of Iran has shown its strong commitment to promoting research on cancer prevention and strengtheningcancer control programmes,” says Dr Christopher Wild, Director of IARC, “Iran can play a key role to promote cancer prevention in the region, in particular in helping setting up quality cancer registration as well as through the unique insights into cancer causes and prevention provided by the Persian cohort study.”

Iran’s membership also reflects the continuing efforts of IARC to include members in regions that are currently underrepresented on its Governing Council.

The first collaborations between Iranian and IARC scientists date back to 1968 with the establishment of the ‘Caspian Cancer Registry’, a population-based cancer registry covering the Caspian Sea littoral area, coordinated by Tehran University. This initiative led to the development in the 1970s of several joint epidemiologic studies on risk factors foroesophageal cancer in the region.

In the early 2000s a pilot for a large-scale prospective cohort study to investigate the causes of oesophageal cancer was initiated in north-eastern Iran, in a collaboration between the Tehran University of Medical Sciences and IARC. The ensuing Golestan Cohort Study, launched in January 2004, provided the basis for a range of collaborations between the Digestive Disease Research Centerin Iran, the US NCI and different IARC groups, studying the role of lifestyle factors, infections and genetics in oesophageal, colorectal, pancreatic, gastric and other cancers. The Golestan Cohort Study has been extraordinarily successful, producing numerous publications in international scientific journals and helping to develop a new generation of Iranian epidemiologists.

In another area, the Cancer Research Center of the Cancer Institute of Iran and the IARC Cancer Surveillance Section signed a Memorandum of Agreement in January 2018, establishing an IARC-GICR Iran Collaborating Centre, whoseaim “is toimprove the quality and coverage of cancer registration in Iran and in neighbouring countries, and to foster the development of joint research projects on descriptive epidemiology of cancer, for enhanced implementation of cancer control activities”, said Professor Malekzadeh[1], Head of the Iranian Delegation at the Governing Council of IARC.

Through a collaboration betweenthe Digestive Diseases Research Institute, Tehran University of Medical Sciences and the Ministry of Health, the national population-based cancer registry of Iran which includes 30 provinces and covers 98% of the Iranian population was finally established in 2018 and the data was submitted to IARC to contribute to the next publications of GLOBOCAN and Cancer Incidence in Five Continents.


For more information, please contact

Véronique Terrasse, Communications Group, at +33 (0)4 72 73 83 66 or, or

IARC Communications, at

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is part of the World Health Organization. Its mission is to coordinate and conduct research on the causes of human cancer, the mechanisms of carcinogenesis, and to develop scientific strategies for cancer control. The Agency is involved in both epidemiological and laboratory research and disseminates scientific information through publications, meetings, courses, and fellowships. If you wish your name to be removed from our press release e-mailing list, please write to


[1]Deputy of Technology and Research at the Ministry of Health and Medical Education, Professor of Gastroenterology and Hepatology and Director of the Digestive Diseases Research Institute, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran