About E3N study

Promoted by the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research (Inserm), the E3N study was initiated by Françoise Clavel-Chapelon. It is currently headed by Dr. Marie-Christine Boutron-Ruault and Gianluca Severi, both Inserm research directors.



Since 1990, the E3N French prospective cohort study has been following 98,995 French women born between 1925 and 1950, and affiliated to the health insurance provider of the national education system (MGEN). The E3N cohort study focuses on lifestyle, diet, hormones, environment and treatments as major components of women’s health. Major chronic diseases, in particular as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases are studied.


Since 1990, E3N women have been completing and returning paper questionnaires every 2 to 3 years. These questionnaires collect information on their lifestyle (diet, physical activity and inactivity, tobacco, alcohol, medication, hormone treatments, etc.), their environment and the evolution of their physical and mental health.

Medical treatment information is enriched by their health insurance (MGEN) reimbursement data. Self-reported pathologies are validated and detailed thanks to the collaboration of attending doctors, anatomopathology laboratories and hospitals.




Questionnaires information is supplemented by biological data: 25,000 E3N volunteers provided blood samples and 47,000 saliva samples.


Thanks to the loyalty and the conscientiousness of E3N women, participation in the study is still very important, even 30 years after inclusion. The study data, regularly updated, detailed, precise and validated, allow the research team to carry out works of an excellent scientific quality.


E3N is the French component of the European EPIC study. This large study is coordinated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). With more than 520,000 European participants (men and women) from 10 different countries, the study investigates the relationships between diet, nutritional status and the incidence of cancer.


For more information about the E3N French cohort study: download the cohort description published in the International Journal of Epidemiology