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The Catalogue of Somatic Mutations in Cancer (COSMIC) is a resource that brings together scientific publications and experimental screens from the Cancer Genome Project into 

one large, publicly accessible database. COSMIC contains data on 25563 genes, 908687 samples, 1524954 mutations, 17157 papers, 1216270 unique variants, 9054 fusions, 7584 genomic rearrangements and 7577 whole genomes . It is therefore the largest compilation of data dealing with somatic mutations and cancer (1). 

The user-friendly nature of this database allows everyone from high school students, MD/PhD candidates and even those who are not scientifically inclined to access information pertainting to somatic cancers. This is therefore an extremely valuable resource for individuals or families who are dealing with cancer and want to learn more about the subject. 


COSMIC was launched in 2004 by Professor Mike Stratton and Dr. Andy Futreal (2) who compiled data from four known cancer causing genes HRAS, KRAS2, NRAS and BRAF (1). The database then took off and grew to 529 genes by 2005 and 13,423 in 2009. In July of 2010 COSMIC released "version 48" in collaboration with the International Agency for research on Cancer, and this increased the number of documented mutations by 141,212 (2). Currently the database is maintained on a bi-monthly basis(1), though it is prepared for rapid expansion as known cancer genes are collected from peer reviewed literature as well as whole-genome-sequencing from the Cancer Genome Project (2) and International Cancer Genome Consortium (3).  The most current version of COSMIC available today is known as "COSMIC v66," and the database as a whole continues to grow thanks to support from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the Cancer Genome Project. 

How to Access the DatabaseEdit

  1. Picture 1
    Go to
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  2. On the Homepage there will be a search bar with several options including "General, by Gene, by Sample or by tissue." (see image above) For the purpose of this exercise we are going to search "KRAS" in the "by Gene" search bar. 
  3. This will provide access to the KRAS gene webpage where synonyms, drug sensitivity and every other known bit of information about this gene can be found. 
  4. Along the top bar below "COSMIC > gene > overview > KRAS" are the major tabs that deal with genome view, sequence (protein and nucleotide), fusions, studies the gene was involved in and all references. 

Works CitedEdit

  1. "COSMIC (Catalogue of Somatic Mutations in Cancer) ." Cancer Genome Projects. Wellcome Sanger Trust Institute, 29 Nov. 2012. Web. 09 Sept. 2013
  2. "COSMIC Cancer Database." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 18 Aug. 2013. Web. 09 Sept. 2013.
  3. "What Is COSMIC?Catalogue of Somatic Mutations in Cancer. Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, n.d. Web. 9 Sept. 2013. 
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