Cancer Institute A national cancer institute
designated cancer center

Major Areas of Research


Cancer Epidemiology and Cancer Prevention and Control researchers are pursuing several surveillance studies involving cancer risks, incidence and treatment efficacy with the goal of identifying new scientific hypotheses for further study. A number of methodologic studies are underway to improve the quality of data used to carry out surveillance research.

Using data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) program, these researchers are conducting cancer incidence studies to identify patterns of disease in different groups and geographical areas over time. Drs. Stefanick, Spiegel, and others have used the Registry to identify cancer patients that may be eligible for interventions to improve medical and quality of life outcomes.

Researchers are also participating in building a number of collaborative cancer family registries. These registries provide invaluable resources for advanced studies leading to translational applications.

CanCORS, funded by NCI and the US Veterans Administration, was established in 2001 as a consortium of eight research teams (including the Harvard/CPIC team, with the data being collected by the CPIC investigators) across the US to determine how characteristics and beliefs of cancer patients, providers and health care organizations influence cancer treatments and outcomes. Primary interests of the consortium are identifying the causes of the gaps in evidence-based clinical practice and actual cancer care and disparities in this care by age, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. This consortium has interviewed over 5,000 lung and 5,000 colorectal patients within 4-8 months of diagnosis, followed by a follow-up interview one year after diagnosis. Work is underway to review the medical records of most of these patients and to collect information from over 8,000 cancer care providers for these participants. Dr. West and the CPIC investigators over-sampled minority and low SES patients and therefore have made a substantial contribution to the diversity of patients and providers included in this work.

Dr. Friedman, in the Department of Health Research and Policy at Stanford University, is Co-Principal Investigator of a Kaiser-based NCI grant: "Pharmaceuticals and Cancer," which is a continuation of a NCI funded project he began in 1977: "Surveillance for Drugs That May Be Carcinogenic." Using Kaiser Permanente computer-stored pharmacy and clinical records, he and his colleagues are studying excess risk of developing cancers of specific sites among recipients of commonly used drugs. Most of the associations that are seen with these screening analyses are due to chance, but more promising findings are further evaluated for evidence of causality, looking at dose-response and possible confounding by indication for the drug and by other possible risk factors (Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf 4:275, 1995; Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf 6:129, 1997; Drug Saf, in press). Current work includes collaborations with Dr. Whittemore to further study two reported associations involving antibiotics and breast cancer following use of methylphenidate.

This document was last modified: Monday, 27-Jun-2011 13:30:18 PDT

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