The specific aims of the Cancer Epidemiology Program are to evaluate the following factors in relation to cancer risk and survival: 1. Hormonal markers and other intermediate markers (e.g., metabolomics) as well as energy balance. 2. Genetic and epigenetic markers, with an emphasis on their interaction with environmental factors. Chronic inflammatory processes, as assessed through lifestyle, molecular markers and use of anti-inflammatory drugs. 3. Diet, including vitamin D, folate and other nutritional contributors to one-carbon metabolism. The Program focuses on exposures over the life course, including childhood and adolescence. Further, exposures are evaluated in relation to specific molecular characteristics of the tumor, analyses that can greatly enhance the understanding of etiologic pathways and provide support for causality. Cancer Epidemiology has been a Program since the formation of DF/HCC. The Program is led by S. Hankinson BWH) and W. Willett(HSPH) and includes 59 members representing five of the Harvard member institutions and 11 departments across Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health. The Program was rated "outstanding" at its last review. Program members have $24.3 million in research funding (total costs), including $20.2 million in NCI funding and $3.7 million in other peer reviewed funding. Program members published 1,295 papers (2006 to 2010). Of these, ,30% were intra-programmatic, 43% of these were interprogrammatic collaborations and 35% were inter-institutional.

Public Health Relevance

The Cancer Epidemiology Program focuses on determining and quantifying the role of lifestyle factors (such as diet and physical activity), other environmental factors, genetics and epigenetics in cancer incidence and survival. The overall goal of the Program is to find the means to reduce the occurrence of cancer and to improve the survival of patients with cancer.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Center Core Grants (P30)
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Subcommittee G - Education (NCI)
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Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
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Chen, Yi-Bin; Batchelor, Tracy; Li, Shuli et al. (2015) Phase 2 trial of high-dose rituximab with high-dose cytarabine mobilization therapy and high-dose thiotepa, busulfan, and cyclophosphamide autologous stem cell transplantation in patients with central nervous system involvement by non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Cancer 121:226-33
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