Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related mortality in the United States, and 95% of patients who develop pancreatic cancer die from their disease. Unfortunately, relatively little is known about the pathogenesis and epidemiology of this under-studied malignancy. To address this problem, the current proposal focuses on the investigation of dietary, genetic and biochemical risk factors for pancreatic cancer.
For Aim 1, I will examine a novel dietary index that estimates long-term systemic insulin exposure and two hormones altered in states of obesity and insulin resistance, adiponectin and leptin.
For Aim 2, I will investigate plasma markers of inflammation, Helicobacter pylori infection, and telomere length, in an effort to better understand the link between chronic inflammation and, pancreatic cancer risk.
For Aim 3, I will expand on recent observations linking heterogeneity at the ABO blood group locus with plasma inflammatory markers and the risk of pancreatic cancer. A major strength of this proposal is the ability to examine these factors prospectively, thereby avoiding the problems associated with retrospective analyses of pancreatic cancer epidemiology. Moreover, this proposal will assemble one of the largest prospective case-control sets to date, establishing a unique database of pancreatic cancer cases and matched controls, with repeated dietary and lifestyle assessments over several decades, archived blood specimens, and genomic DNA. This resource will allow me to rigorously examine multiple inter-related pathways with robust power. In addition, it will allow me to rapidly examine new hypotheses as they emerge. Finally, this award will enable me to develop advanced skills in biostatistics and epidemiology, pursue a focused program in pancreatic cancer research, and receive close, long-term mentorship from experienced and successful clinical researchers, promoting my transition to an independent investigator.

Public Health Relevance

Although pancreatic cancer is the 4th most common cause of cancer-related death in the U.S., we know little about predisposing factors for this disease. With the current proposal, I hope to advance our understanding of pancreatic cancer pathogenesis, generate an important resource to evaluate future hypotheses, and provide data to support recommendations for reducing mortality from this highly lethal malignancy.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Academic/Teacher Award (ATA) (K07)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Subcommittee G - Education (NCI)
Program Officer
Perkins, Susan N
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
United States
Zip Code
Silvestrov, Pavel; Maier, Sarah J; Fang, Michelle et al. (2018) DNArCdb: A database of cancer biomarkers in DNA repair genes that includes variants related to multiple cancer phenotypes. DNA Repair (Amst) 70:10-17
Duan, Bensong; Hu, Jiangfeng; Liu, Hongliang et al. (2018) Genetic variants in the platelet-derived growth factor subunit B gene associated with pancreatic cancer risk. Int J Cancer 142:1322-1331
Mons, Ute; Müezzinler, Aysel; Schöttker, Ben et al. (2017) Leukocyte Telomere Length and All-Cause, Cardiovascular Disease, and Cancer Mortality: Results From Individual-Participant-Data Meta-Analysis of 2 Large Prospective Cohort Studies. Am J Epidemiol 185:1317-1326
Bao, Ying; Prescott, Jennifer; Yuan, Chen et al. (2017) Leucocyte telomere length, genetic variants at the TERT gene region and risk of pancreatic cancer. Gut 66:1116-1122
Childs, Erica J; Chaffee, Kari G; Gallinger, Steven et al. (2016) Association of Common Susceptibility Variants of Pancreatic Cancer in Higher-Risk Patients: A PACGENE Study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 25:1185-91
Birmann, Brenda M; Barnard, Mollie E; Bertrand, Kimberly A et al. (2016) Nurses' Health Study Contributions on the Epidemiology of Less Common Cancers: Endometrial, Ovarian, Pancreatic, and Hematologic. Am J Public Health 106:1608-15
Townsend, Mary K; Bao, Ying; Poole, Elizabeth M et al. (2016) Impact of Pre-analytic Blood Sample Collection Factors on Metabolomics. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 25:823-829
Ramin, Cody; Wang, Wei; Prescott, Jennifer et al. (2015) A prospective study of leukocyte telomere length and risk of phobic anxiety among women. Psychiatry Res 230:545-52
Wu, Chen; Kraft, Peter; Stolzenberg-Solomon, Rachael et al. (2014) Genome-wide association study of survival in patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Gut 63:152-60
Crous-Bou, Marta; Fung, Teresa T; Prescott, Jennifer et al. (2014) Mediterranean diet and telomere length in Nurses' Health Study: population based cohort study. BMJ 349:g6674

Showing the most recent 10 out of 46 publications