Epidemiology Research

Our studies ask important public health and clinical questions about environmental, socioeconomic, lifestyle, genetic, and other factors that may contribute to the incidence, recurrence, and mortality of different cancers, as well as health and quality of life afterward. We collaborate with researchers locally and across the world to reduce the burden of cancer through our work in three key areas of cancer epidemiology research: Etiology, Survivorship, and Intervention.

Research Areas

polluted skyline


Our etiologic research focuses on understanding the causes of cancer and other related diseases. These studies examine exposures such as nutrition, obesity, alcohol consumption, medication use, air pollution, genetics, and many others for their relationship with the risk of developing cancer. Our scientists are working to generate the knowledge and evidence needed for the development of new risk prediction and prevention strategies.

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Intervention studies build on promising etiologic and survivorship research findings and test their capacity for reducing risks and improving outcomes. Interventions under study include lifestyle modifications such as diet and physical activity, methods for delivery of survivorship care plans, HPV vaccines, vitamin D, and others. Using rigorous randomized trial designs, we seek to generate a high level of evidence for new strategies to reduce the burden of cancer.

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Our survivorship research includes studies of how lifestyle, environmental, genetic, and other factors contribute to the risk of adverse cancer outcomes such as recurrence and second primary cancer and investigations of the long-term effects of cancer and therapies on the overall health and quality of life of cancer survivors. Our studies seek to provide recommendable patient and clinical practices that can improve the health and quality of life of cancer patients.

Cancer Epidemiology Research Cooperative (CERC)

The CERC is a long-standing research unit comprised of epidemiologists, scientific and administrative support staff, data analysts, IT staff, project coordinators, interviewers, medical record abstractors, and trainees. Research studies focus on identifying the causes of cancer, factors associated with survival, the effects of cancer and cancer treatment on quality of life and overall health and testing strategies for prevention for many different types of cancer including breast, prostate, colorectal, ovarian, endometrial, and testicular cancers.

Epidemiology Program Research Projects

Advancing our Understanding of the Etiologies and Mutational Landscapes of Basal-like, Luminal A, and Luminal B Breast Cancer

Public Health Sciences, Epidemiology

Addressing research gaps in the molecular subtypes of breast cancer, we are taking a multidisciplinary approach to study the epidemiology and mutational landscapes of basal-like, luminal A, and luminal B tumors.

Funding Agency: DOD

Contact: Sarah Taylor, sataylor@fredhutch.org

Bacterial Correlates of Colorectal Cancer Subtypes and Survival

Public Health Sciences, Epidemiology

Scientists identify differences in the bacterial community in tumors for patients with etiologically-distinct subgroups of colorectal cancer, and how those differences relate to survival.

Funding Agency: National Cancer Institute

Contact: Amanda Phipps, aphipps@fredhutch.org

Breast, Colorectal and Ovary Cancer Clinical Validation Center

Public Health Sciences, Epidemiology

After identifying early detection biomarkers for each of these cancers, we are conducting phase 2 and phase 3 validation studies directed towards clearly defined clinical applications.

Funding Agency: National Cancer Institute

Contact: Chris Li, cili@fredhutch.org

Case-control study of ovarian cancer (DOVE)

Public Health Sciences, Epidemiology

Using two ovarian cancer case-control studies, scientists are trying to determine why some women develop ovarian tumors and others do not.

Funding Agency: National Cancer Institute

Contact: Holly Harris, hharris@fredhutch.org

Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia Care in the Tyrosine Kinase Era

Public Health Sciences, Epidemiology

Using the Optum Labs/United Healthcare database, investigators review healthcare use patterns of chronic myelogenous leukemia patients treated in the tyrosine kinase inhibitor era.

Funding Agency: American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)

Contact: Nancy Blythe, nblythe@fredhutch.org

Colocare Study

Public Health Sciences, Epidemiology

ColoCare is a research study for people newly diagnosed with colon or rectal cancer. It includes researchers, doctors, nurses, and patients working together to learn more about improving health after a cancer diagnosis.

Funding Agency: National Cancer Institute

Contact: Kathy Vickers, kvickers@fredhutch.org

Coordinating Center for the Population-based Research to Optimize the Screening PRocess (PROSPR) Consortium

Public Health Sciences, Epidemiology

Building on the success of PROSPR I, PROSPR II investigators from a variety of disciplines and institutions are conducting research to improve the screening of cervical, colorectal, and lung cancers.

Funding Agency: National Cancer Institute

Contact: Marty Stiller, mstiller@fredhutch.org

Dexrazoxane and Prevention of Anthracycline-Related Cardiomyopathy in Childhood Cancer Survivors

Public Health Sciences, Epidemiology

Scientists are determining the efficacy of dexrazoxane (DRZ) in reducing anthracycline-related cardiomyopathy among participants in DRZ phase 3 therapeutic trials.

Funding Agency: National Cancer Institute

Contact: Nancy Blythe, nblythe@fredhitch.org

Dietary Intervention to Reduce Pain in People with Endometriosis

Public Health Sciences, Epidemiology

This randomized controlled trial will investigate a 12-week dietary intervention based on the Alternative Healthy Eating Index, examining its effects on pain, quality of life, and inflammatory biomarkers among women with laparoscopically-confirmed endometriosis. The study results will help us identify evidence-based, modifiable, dietary factors that decrease pain and improve quality of life among women with endometriosis.

Funding Agency: National Institutes of Health/NINR

Contact: Nancy Blythe, endostudy@fredhutch.org

Echocardiographic Change in Cancer Survivors at Risk for Cardiomyopathy

Public Health Sciences, Epidemiology

Scientists are comparing the echocardiographic changes in left ventricular function and geometry for survivors of childhood cancer who experienced cardiomyopathy to those of survivors who did not.

Funding Agency: National Cancer Institute

Contact: Nancy Blythe, nblythe@fredhutch.org