The Expression Project for Oncology (expO)

At a Glance
  • Status: Completed Consortium
  • Year Launched: 2003
  • Initiating Organization: International Genomics Consortium
  • Initiator Type: Industry
  • Disease focus:
  • Location: North America


The Expression Project for Oncology (expO) builds on the technologies and outcomes of the Human Genome Project to accelerate improved clinical management of cancer patients.


The International Genomics Consortium (IGC) manages the expO biospecimen repository, which is one of the nation’s first public repositories for cancer biosamples, genomic data, and clinical outcome information. IGC collects samples at participating hospitals under strict quality control standards, performs deoxyribonucleic (DNA) microarray analysis, obtains clinical data and outcome information, and utilizes a public database on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genomic Expression Omnibus (GEO) website to oversee the redistribution of residual samples to allow a complete characterization of the samples to be achieved.

The goals of expO and its consortium supporters are to procure tissue samples under standard conditions, perform gene expression analyses on a clinically annotated set of de-identified tumor samples updated with clinical outcomes, and release all data into the public domain without intellectual property restriction.

Consortium History

January 2005: Clinically annotated results made publicly available online
October 2005: Collected 1000th malignant tumor


Consortium funding for expO‘s launch comes from six international pharmaceutical firms. Major sponsors are Bristol-Myers Squibb, GlaxoSmithKline, Wyeth, and IBM. Other sponsors are Pfizer, Aventis, Johnson & Johnson, Flinn Foundation, ILEX Oncology, and Genomics Collaborative Inc. Research support from Affymetrix, AmeriPath, the Georgia Cancer Coalition, Agilent Technologies, Amersham Biosciences, and Telik Inc. also springboards the effort.

Major founding support was provided to IGC from Arizona State University, the City of Phoenix, and Maricopa County in Arizona.

Data Sharing

The clinically annotated expO data are publicly available at the National Center for Biotechnology Information under the GEO and currently have approximately 3,000 cancers associated with comprehensive gene expression analyses coupled with clinically annotated information. Having access to this information allows researchers to make discoveries faster and to accelerate the development of multiple new approaches for the prevention and treatment of cancer.

Points of Contact

IGC Clinical Outreach Manager

Sponsors & Partners

Bristol-Myers Squibb


International Genomics Consortium

Johnson & Johnson




Last Updated: 04/08/2016

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