News Releases

Fred Hutchinson's Dr. Ross Prentice to be Honored for His Key Role in the Women's Health Initiative

SEATTLE — April 12, 2005 — Ross L. Prentice, Ph.D., a Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center biostatistician who is credited with having a major role in conceiving, designing and organizing the clinical-trial arm of the Women's Health Initiative — one of the largest clinical trials in postmenopausal women ever conducted — will be honored for this achievement later this month during the 96th annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Anaheim, Calif.

Prentice, also a professor of biostatistics at the University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine, will receive the 14th AACR-American Cancer Society Award for Research Excellence in Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention on April 20 in conjunction with his presentation of a lecture regarding "opportunities and challenges in chronic-disease prevention research."

The award distinguishes outstanding achievements in the fields of epidemiology (understanding the causes of cancer), and biomarker and prevention research.

Prentice is among seven public-health researchers who will be honored during the AACR's annual meeting. For a complete list of winners, please visit

Prentice, a member of Fred Hutchinson's Public Health Sciences Division, of which he served as director from 1983 to 2002, is the principal investigator of the Women's Health Initiative Clinical Coordinating Center, which is based within the PHS Division.

The Women's Health Initiative, or WHI, is a 15-year, multi-million-dollar study involving more than 160,000 women nationwide, including some 3,500 in Washington. Established by the National Institutes of Health in 1991, the WHI involves 40 clinical centers nationwide, including one in Seattle that is run jointly by Fred Hutchinson and the University of Washington. The WHI, the largest comprehensive clinical study ever funded by the NIH, seeks to find ways to prevent cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and cancer, all of which have a significant impact on women's health.

Initial results of the WHI recently have been published in a series of papers demonstrating the adverse effects of combined estrogen-plus-progestin therapy on both the risk of breast cancer and cardiovascular disease. While the adverse effects of combined HRT on breast-cancer risk, but not coronary heart disease, had been reported in earlier case-control and cohort studies, the magnitude and certainty of these risks were made evident from the results of the WHI, and major changes are currently under way in menopausal hormone therapy. Additional key results of this landmark study are expected later this year, following the completion of clinical-trial intervention activities. The health of participating women will continue to be monitored through 2011.

Prentice received his Ph.D. in statistics from the University of Toronto in 1970, followed by four years as an associate professor of statistics at the University of Waterloo, before moving to Seattle in 1974. He subsequently spent a year (1980-1981), with the Radiation Effects Research Foundation in Hiroshima, Japan.

Prentice has received numerous honors and awards. He has been a member of the Institute of Medicine since 1990, was awarded the prestigious COPSS President's Award in 1986, and the Mantel Award for Lifetime Contributions to Statistics in Epidemiology by the American Statistical Association in 2003. He holds an honorary doctor of mathematics degree from the University of Waterloo and is the 2005 recipient of the Marvin Zelen Leadership Award from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Media Note
A digital photo of Prentice is available upon request.

Media Contact
Kristen Woodward
(206) 667-5095

# # #

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, home of three Nobel laureates, is an independent, nonprofit research institution dedicated to the development and advancement of biomedical research to eliminate cancer and other potentially fatal diseases. Fred Hutchinson receives more funding from the National Institutes of Health than any other independent U.S. research center. Recognized internationally for its pioneering work in bone-marrow transplantation, the center's four scientific divisions collaborate to form a unique environment for conducting basic and applied science. Fred Hutchinson, in collaboration with its clinical and research partners, the University of Washington and Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center, is the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in the Pacific Northwest and is one of 40 nationwide. For more information, visit the center's Web site at