Polly A. Newcomb, PhD, MPH

Polly A. Newcomb, PhD, MPH

Member, Cancer Prevention Program
Public Health Sciences Division


University of Washington, PhD (Epidemiology)
University of Washington, MPH (Epidemiology)

Research Focus

An active researcher, Dr. Newcomb has been continuously funded by the NIH for over 30 years, supporting a broad research program in cancer epidemiology, primarily focused on colorectal cancer genetics, etiology, screening, and survival. Her work has advanced through long-term collaborations, the establishment of cohorts and biorepositories, and participation with consortia, like the Genetics and Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer Consortium (GECCO). Dr. Newcomb’s research has identified numerous new risk factors (and ways to calculate risk) for breast and colorectal cancer, as well as relevant post-diagnosis exposures in relation to outcomes after cancer diagnosis. These studies have been increasingly complemented by the examination of molecular characteristics and germline genotypes. Her eminent career has made a lasting impact on what we know about breast and colorectal cancer risk and survival.


  • UICC Fellowship Award Recipient
  • Fulbright Visiting Research Chair 
  • Distinguished Achievement Award from the American Society for Preventive Oncology (ASPO)
  • McDougall Mentoring Award
  • President of ASPO (2015-2017) 
  • Fellow, American Epidemiological Society

Current Projects

CORE Family Studies - Colorectal Research in Epidemiology
1997 - 2018
Goal: This project supports the infrastructure, maintenance, and expansion of the Seattle-site of the Colon Cancer Family Registry Cohort, the largest-ever international multi-site study of the genetic epidemiology of colorectal cancer.

ACCESS Study – Advanced Colorectal Cancer of Serrated Subtype

2015 – 2020
Goal: The ACCESS Study is currently recruiting cases for the Puget Sound Colorectal Cancer Cohort in order to characterize factors relating to the genetic predisposition, clinical presentation, and prognosis of serrated colorectal cancer, a subtype of colorectal disease.

SSP Study – A Cohort Study of Sessile Serrated Polyps and Subsequent Colorectal Neoplasia
2013 – 2018
Goal: Recent evidence implicates an additional group of polyps, sessile serrated polyps (SSPs), as important precursors to colorectal cancer. In collaboration with Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (formerly Group Health Research Institute), this project is investigating the clinical significance of SSPs in colorectal neoplasia, with the long-term goal of characterizing new high risk-groups to improve the effectiveness of colorectal cancer screening.

Molecular Correlates of Colon Cancer Outcomes
2013 – 2018
Goal: This project aims to identify genetic variants that influence clinical outcomes (toxicity and survival) in patients with colon cancer enrolled in clinical trials, and to develop statistical models that integrate evidence on these genetic factors with other known prognostic factors to better predict prognosis.

ISACC – The International Survival Analyses of Colorectal Cancer Consortium
2015 - 2018
Goal: ISACC is a consortium of over 20 observational studies and clinical trials that have contributed epidemiologic, GWAS, tumor characteristics, and clinical data for analyses of factors associated with survival following colorectal cancer.

Training and Research in Colon Cancer Survival – Cancer Prevention Training: Epidemiology, Nutrition, Genetics & Survivorship
2010 – 2022
Goal: Dr. Newcomb has a dedicated history of mentorship for developing scientists and this role is complemented through an NCI “Established Investigator” award funded to focus on research and mentoring in colorectal cancer survivorship, as well as a T32 Training Grant joint with the Fred Hutch and the University of Washington: “Cancer Prevention Cancer Prevention Training: Epidemiology, Nutrition, Genetics & Survivorship.”

Metals and Health
2005 - 2018
Goal: Exposures to 23 common environmental contaminants were measured in urine and their relationships to cancer and other outcomes are prospectively evaluated in several ongoing studies.

CWLS – Collaborative Women’s Longevity Study
1986 - 2020
Goal: The CWLS is a large population based cohort of women with breast cancer interviewed before and after their breast cancer diagnosis for survival outcomes.  

Related News

Polly Newcomb, PhD

Contact Information

(206) 667-3476
(206) 667-7850
Additional contact

Mail Stop M4-B402

For questions or additional information:
Kelsey Chun
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
1100 Fairview Ave. N., M4-B402
Seattle, WA  98109-1024
Email: kchun@fredhutch.org