Anne McTiernan, MD, PhD

Anne McTiernan, MD, PhD

Member, Epidemiology
Public Health Sciences Division


M.D., New York Medical College, 1989
Residency, Internal Medicine, University of Washington, 1992-1995
Ph.D., University of Washington, Epidemiology, 1982

Research Focus

Dr. McTiernan's research focuses on identifying ways to prevent new or recurrent cancer with a particular focus on weight control, physical activity, and chemoprevention. She has led several NCI-funded grants to test weight loss and exercise effects on biomarkers of breast cancer, colon cancer, and other cancers and diseases. She currently is funded by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation to study long-term effects of weight loss and exercise on breast cancer biomarkers.

Dr. McTiernan has led studies of cancer survivorship, including the Seattle site of the Health, Eating, Activity, and Lifestyle (HEAL) Study cohort of over 1100 breast cancer survivors, and collaborates with the World Cancer Research Fund International meta-analysis of diet, weight, and physical activity associations with breast cancer survival.

Her chemoprevention research has included randomized controlled trials testing aspirin and vitamin D effect on cancer biomarkers. Dr. McTiernan was also Principal Investigator of the Seattle site of the ExCel randomized placebo-controlled trial which tested the effect of exemestane, an aromatase inhibitor, on breast cancer prevention.

Dr. McTiernan was a co-Investigator in the Women's Health Initiative (WHI), and directed clinical outcomes efforts at the WHI Clinical Coordinating Center. She led an analysis of physical activity and breast cancer incidence in the WHI Observational Study cohort of over 90,000 women, led an analysis of diet effects on osteoporotic fractures in the WHI Dietary Modification Trial, and has collaborated on many additional analyses.

Dr. McTiernan is an elected Fellow in the American College of Sports Medicine, the Obesity Society, and the American College of Epidemiology. She has served on national and international health advisory boards and working groups including the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the American Cancer Society, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2008 and 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committees, the World Cancer Research Fund International, and the Komen for the Cure Scientific Advisory Council. 


Dr. McTiernan has published more than 390 scientific manuscripts in major medical journals and is lead author of the book, Breast Fitness (St. Martin’s Press, 2000). She is Editor of two academic texts: Cancer Prevention and Management through Exercise and Weight Control (CRC Press LLL, 2005) and Physical Activity, Dietary Calorie Restriction, and Cancer (Springer; 2010). Her memoir, Starved: A Nutrition Doctor’s Journey from Empty to Full, was published by Central Recovery Press in November 2016.

1.  Irwin M, Yasui Y, Ulrich CM, Bowen D, Rudolph RE, Schwartz RS, Yukawa M, Aiello E, Potter JD, McTiernan A. Effect of exercise on total and intra-abdominal body fat in postmenopausal women: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2003; 289(3):323-30. PMID: 12525233

2. McTiernan A, Kooperberg C, White E, Wilcox S, Coates R, Adams-Campbell L, Woods N, Ockene J. Recreational physical activity and the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women.  The Women’s Health Initiative Cohort Study. JAMA. 2003; 290(10):1331-6. PMID: 12966124

3. McTiernan A, Martin C, Peck JD, Aragaki A, Chlebowski R, Pisano E, Wang CY, Brunner R, Johnson KC, Manson JE, Lewis CE, Kotchen JM, Hulka B, for the Women’s Health Initiative Mammogram Density Study Investigators. Estrogen-plus-progestin use and mammographic density in postmenopausal women: Women’s Health Initiative randomized trial. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2005; 97(18):1366-76. PMID: 16174858

4. McTiernan A, Yasui Y, Sorensen B, Irwin ML, Morgan A, Rudolph RE, Surawicz C, Lampe JW, Ayub K, Potter J, Lampe P. Effect of a 12-month exercise intervention on patterns of cellular proliferation in colonic crypts:  a randomized controlled trial. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarker Prev. 2006; 15(9):1588-97. PMID: 16985018

5. McTiernan A. Mechanisms linking physical activity with cancer. Nat Rev Cancer. 2008; 8(3):205-11. PMID: 18235448

6. Goss PE, Ingle JN, Ales-Martinez J, Cheung A, Chlebowski RT, Wactawski-Wende J, McTiernan A, Robbins J, Johnson KC, Martin L, Winquist E, Sarto G, Garber JE, Fabian CJ, Pujol P, Maunsell E, Farmer P, Gelmon KA, Tu D,  Richardson  H,  for the NCIC CTG MAP.3 Study Investigators. Placebo-controlled randomized trial of exemestane for breast cancer prevention in postmenopausal women:  The NCIC CTG MAP.3 Trial. N Engl J Med. 2011; 364(25):2381-91. PMID: 21639806

7.  Imayama I, Ulrich CM, Alfano CM, Wener MH, Campbell KL, Duggan CR, Foster-Schubert KE, Kong A, Mason CE, Wang C, Wang C-Y, Blackburn GL, Bain CE, Thompson HJ, McTiernan A. Effects of a caloric restriction weight loss diet and exercise on inflammatory biomarkers in overweight/obese postmenopausal women: a randomized controlled trial. Cancer Res. 2012; 72(9):2314–26. PMCID: PMC3342840

8. Campbell KL, Foster-Schubert KE, Alfano CM, Wang C-C, Wang C-Y, Duggan CR, Mason C, Imayama I, Kong A, Bain CE, Blackburn GL, Stanczyk FZ, McTiernan A.  Reduced-calorie weight loss, exercise, and sex hormones in postmenopausal women: a randomized controlled trial. J Clin Oncol. 2012; 30(19):2314-26. PMCID: PMC36756941

9. Duggan C, Risques R, Alfano C, Prunkard D, Imayama I, Baumgartner K, Baumgartner R, Bernstein L, Ballard-Barbash R, Rabinovitch P, McTiernan A. Peripheral blood leukocyte telomere length and mortality in breast cancer survivors. J Natl Cancer Instit. 2014; 106(4):dju035. PMCID: PMC3982887

10. Mason C, Xiao L, Imayama I, Duggan C, Wang C-Y, Korde L, McTiernan A. Vitamin D3 supplementation during weight loss: A double-blind randomized controlled trial. Amer J Clin Nutr. 2014; 99(5):1015-25. PMCID: PMC3985208

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Anne McTiernan, MD, PhD

Contact Information

(206) 667-7979
(206) 667-4787
Additional contact

For TREC, Yoga Study, Physical Activity for Total Health, HEAL, Immune Exercise Study and EXCEL Projects contact Jennifer Connor at

For NEW Study contact Carolyn Bain at