Cancer Dependency Map

Cancer Dependency Map

Identifying all dependencies in every cancer cell

The Cancer Dependency Map at Sanger

Project aims

The consequences of alterations in the DNA of cancer cells and subsequent vulnerabilities are not fully understood. This project aims to assign a dependency to every cancer cell in a patient which could be exploited to develop new therapies. This knowledge is foundational for precision cancer medicine.


Using large-scale drug and genetic perturbation platforms, we aim to exhaustively define dependencies which are operative in cancer cells. Understanding the relationships between genetic alterations and subsequent vulnerabilities allows us to identify novel drug targets and genetic markers for patient selection.

Working at scale

Scale is required to account for the variation that exists in cancer cells, including but not limited to tissue of origin, histology and genetic aberrations. Consequently, we aim to generate a Dependency Map (‘DepMap’) across thousands of different cancer cell models.

Strategic collaboration

The Cancer Dependency Map is a strategic collaboration with the Broad Institute (Boston, USA). By leveraging the expertise and infrastructure available at both organisations, we aim to more rapidly deliver a high-quality DepMap. We anticipate that this foundational dataset will catalyse a new wave of precision cancer medicines.


Research programmes contributing to the Cancer Dependency Map at Sanger


Overview of cancer cell models and relevant genetic datasets


Association of drug response with genetic features in hundreds of cancer cell models


Genetic screens to identify cancer dependencies


Software and tools for analysing DepMap data