Wellcome Sanger Institute

COSMIC (Catalogue Of Somatic Mutations In Cancer)

Cancer Genome Project

The COSMIC group are responsible for the "Catalogue Of Somatic Mutations In Cancer" (http://cancer.sanger.ac.uk). This is an expert-curated database encompassing the wide variety of somatic mutation mechanisms causing human cancer. This group is underpinned by a team of expert scientists who hand-curate somatic mutation data across all human cancers from the scientific literature, emphasising standardisation, descriptiveness and quality. Our bioinformaticians support curation, bringing context to this data, developing the website, and releasing new updated versions every three months.


Cancer Gene Census

Our expert curators, continuously immersed in the scientific literature, make regular additions to this Census, a list of hundreds of genes with substantial published evidence in oncology. Selection of high-impact genes from this list for curation drives the core of COSMIC.


Upon selection of a gene from the Census for full expert curation, all papers mentioning its mutation in human cancer are collected and exhaustively curated before it is released into a new version of COSMIC. Once this initial curation is released, the gene is updated as significant new information is published. Each curator, with substantial post-doctoral or pharmaceutical experience, is responsible for a defined set of 60 or more genes, developing substantial expertise. In parallel, cancer genomes are curated by dedicated bioinformaticians who seek genomic data and adapt it to standard formats for genic and peptide annotation via standard pipelines (eg. Ensembl VEP). Roughly half this data is from published supplementary information tables, and the other half from genome consortia such as TCGA, ICGC. Such molecular profiling includes point mutations, gene fusions, copy number annotations, structural breakpoints, gene expression and CpG island methylation variants.

Cancer Cell Lines Project

The Cell lines Project in COSMIC is developed and regularly extended by a scientist dedicated to this resource. A system to fully profile over 1000 cell lines regularly used in cancer research, annotations include variants from exome sequencing, CNV and gene expression profiling, RNASeq and CpG methylation. This information is maintained in a separate, but parallel system alongside COSMIC, regularly updated to highlight the most valuable information across the cell line panel.

We are always very interested to discuss the ways in which COSMIC is being used, and to explore how we can support these efforts. If you have any questions, or would like to discuss COSMIC further, please contact us at cosmic@sanger.ac.uk.

Core team

Photo of Dave Beare

Dave Beare

Principal Bioinformatician

Photo of Dr Zbyslaw Sondka

Dr Zbyslaw Sondka

Head of Science, COSMIC

Photo of Sari Ward

Sari Ward

Principal Database Curator

Previous team members

Photo of Dr Charlotte G Cole

Dr Charlotte G Cole

Principal Database Curator

Photo of Dr Simon Forbes

Dr Simon Forbes

Head of COSMIC

Photo of Bhavana Harsha

Bhavana Harsha

Senior Bioinformatician

Photo of Dr Harry Jubb

Dr Harry Jubb

Staff Scientist

Photo of Kate Noble

Kate Noble

Head of Commercial

Photo of Laura Ponting

Laura Ponting

Senior Database Curator

Photo of Chris Ramshaw

Chris Ramshaw

Senior Web Developer

Photo of Claire Rye

Claire Rye

Scientific Manager

Photo of Raymund Stefancsik

Raymund Stefancsik

Senior Database Curator

Photo of Sam Thompson

Sam Thompson

Staff Scientist

Photo of Rebecca White

Rebecca White

Head of Scientific Marketing & Communications



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