Epidemiology. Risk biomarkers. Intervention trials. Health disparities and equity.

From laboratory research and epidemiological studies to social sciences and community outreach, the scientists in Roswell Park’s Department of Cancer Prevention & Control (CPC) explore the cause and progression of common cancers, and develop intervention programs for at-risk communities.

Christine Ambrosone

“Driven by the diverse backgrounds and training of our faculty, our group conducts cancer research that spans the study of behavioral, biologic and social determinants of cancer risk and outcomes. This multidisciplinary approach fuels exciting research opportunities and findings that have real relevance for the patients and populations that we serve.”

What we do

Landmark Research

Roswell Park has been conducting prominent epidemiological research for more than half a century, dating back to a groundbreaking landmark paper in JAMA published in 1950 on Cancer and Tobacco Smoking – one of the first to link cigarette smoking to lung cancer.

CPC research at Roswell Park ranges from conducting population-based molecular epidemiology studies to intervention studies in cancer patients and survivors to improve cancer outcomes.

Some of our current investigations include:

  • The role of gene-environment interactions in cancer etiology and prognosis, with ongoing research in cancers of the ovary, breast, lung, head and neck, esophagus, prostate and bladder.
  • Breast cancer disparities to better understand the reasons for more aggressive breast cancer in Black women.
  • Cancer health equity in African American, Hispanic and Native American populations.
  • The role of lifestyle, stress, genetics and breast cancer outcomes: The North-South Breast Cancer Study

Our innovative intervention studies examine the effectiveness of behavioral strategies to prevent cancer and cancer recurrence, particularly dietary and weight loss interventions for the primary prevention of cancer. We focus on translating evidence-based intervention strategies for diverse communities using an implementation science framework.

Research highlights

  • Rikki Cannioto, PhD, EdD, et al. Adherence to Cancer Prevention Lifestyle Recommendations Before, During, and 2 Years After Treatment for High-risk Breast Cancer. JAMA Netw Open. 2023 May 1;6(5):e2311673. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.11673. PMID: 37140922
  • Rikki Cannioto, PhD, EdD. “Move more, sit less" is a feasible and impactful guideline for improving cancer survival. JNCI Cancer Spectr. 2023 Mar 1;7(2):pkad020. doi: 10.1093/jncics/pkad020. PMID: 36869677
  • Theresa Hahn PhD, et al. Associations of minor histocompatibility antigens with outcomes following allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation. Am J Hematol 98(6):940-950, 2023. PMID: 37052167
  • Elisa M Rodriguez, PhD et al. Examining the barriers and opportunities for human pipllomavirus vaccine delivery in cancer care settings: A mixed-methods study. Cancer Prev Res 2023 June 1 CAPR-23-0046. doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-23-0046.
  • Li Tang, PhD, et al. Natural history of multiple recurrences in intermediate-risk non-muscle invasive bladder cancer: lessons from a prospective cohort. Urology. 2023; 173: 134-141. PMID: 36574911
  • Li Tang, PhD, et al. Associations of dietary isothiocyanate exposure from cruciferous vegetable consumption with recurrence and progression of non-muscle invasive bladder cancer: Findings from The Be-Well Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2023; 117: 1110-1120. PMID: 37044209
  • Li Tang, PhD, et al. Mutation hotspots found in bladder cancer aid prediction of carcinogenic risk in normal urothelium. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24 (9): 7852. doi.org/10.3390/ijms24097852 PMID: 37175559
  • Li Tang, PhD, et al. Adherence to cancer prevention lifestyle recommendations before, during, and 2 years after treatment for high-risk breast cancer. JAMA Netw Open. 2023; 6(5):e2311673. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.11673
  • Deborah Erwin PhD. 2022.Discovering our cultural DNA: my experiences with PEN-3 to improve cancer prevention and control. IN Health, Culture and Place: From the Tree to the Forest, C.O. Airhihenbuwa, J.I. Iwelunmor, Ed’s. Pp 151-176. Compell, TX: U-Rise.  
  • Deborah Erwin PhD, et al. Tobacco-Related Disparities Viewed Through the Lens of Intersectionality. Nicotine Tob Res. 2022 Feb 1;24(2):285-288. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntab193. PMID: 34555170 Free PMC article.
  • Deborah Erwin PhD, et al. Recruitment and Retention of Healthy, Postmenopausal Women of African and European Ancestry: Results from a Dietary Intervention with Repeated Biospecimen Collections. Curr Dev Nutr. 2022 Jan 29;6(3):nzac012. doi: 10.1093/cdn/nzac012. eCollection 2022 Mar. PMID: 35261959 Free PMC article.
  • Deborah Erwin PhD, et al. Cruciferous Vegetable Intervention to Reduce the Risk of Cancer Recurrence in Non-Muscle-Invasive Bladder Cancer Survivors: Development Using a Systematic Process. JMIR Cancer. 2022 Feb 15;8(1):e32291. doi: 10.2196/32291. PMID: 35166681 Free PMC article.
  • Zhihong Gong, PhD, et al. Associations between genetic polymorphisms in genes related to oxidative stress and DNA repair and prostate cancer risk: results from the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial. Front Oncol. 2022; 11:808715
  • Theresa Hahn PhD, et al. Shared graft-versus-leukemia minor histocompatibility antigens in DISCOVeRY-BMT. Blood Adv 7(9):1635-49, 2023. PMID: 36477467, PMCID: PMC10182302
  • Theresa Hahn PhD, et al. Mass-Fix better predicts for PFS and OS than standard methods among multiple myeloma patients participating on the STAMiNA trial (BMT CTN 0702/07LT). Blood Ca J 12(2):27, 2022. PMID: 35145071, PMCID: PMC8831597
  • Elisa M Rodriguez, PhD et al. Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination uptake among childhood cancer survivors in Western New York. Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2022 Nov;69(11):e29962. doi: 10.1002/pbc.29962. Epub 2022 Sep 12.
  • Elisa M Rodriguez, PhD et al. Leadership diversity and development in the nation’s cancer centers. JNCI 2022 Sep 9;114(9):1214-1221. PMID: 35897143
  • Elisa M Rodriguez, PhD et al. Sweet beverages and cancer: A scoping review of quantitative studies. Cancer Prev Res 2022 Jun; 15(6):377-390. PMID:35271710
  • Elisa M Rodriguez, PhD et al. A framework for equitable partnerships to promote cancer prevention and control in rural settings. JNCI Cancer Spectr 2022 Mar; 6(2): pkac017. doi: 10.1093/jncics/pkac017. PMID: 35603844
  • Elisa M Rodriguez, PhD et al. Recruitment and retention of healthy, postmenopausal women of African and European ancestry: results from a dietary intervention with repeated biospecimen collections. Curr Dev Nutr 2022 Jan;6(3): nzac012. doi: 10.1093/cdn/nzac012. PMID: 35261959.
  • Li Tang, PhD, et al. Cruciferous vegetable intervention to reduce the risk of cancer recurrence in non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer survivors: Development using a systematic process. JMIR Cancer 2022 Feb; 8(1):e32291. doi: 10.2196/32291. PMID: 35166681
  • Li Tang, PhD, et al. A presurgical-window intervention trial of isothiocyanate-rich broccoli sprout extract in patients with breast cancer. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2022 Apr; e2101094. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.202101094. Online ahead of print. PMID: 35475592
  • Li Tang, PhD, et al. Smoking behaviors and prognosis in patients with non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer in the Be-Well Study. JAMA Netw Open. 2022; 5(11): e2244430.  doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.44430. PMID: 36449286
  • Matthew Buas, PhD, et al. Germline variation in the insulin-like growth factor pathway and risk of Barrett's esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma. Carcinogenesis. 2021 Apr 17;42(3):369-377. doi: 10.1093/carcin/bgaa132. PMID: 33300568.
  • Rikki Cannioto, PhD, EdD, et al. Physical Activity Before, During, and After Chemotherapy for High-Risk Breast Cancer: Relationships With Survival. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2021 Jan 4;113(1):54-63. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djaa046. PMID: 32239145. PMCID: PMC7781460.
  • Rikki Cannioto, PhD, EdD, et al. Investigating Contributions of Physical Inactivity and Obesity to Racial Disparities in Cancer Risk and Mortality Warrants More Consideration. J Natl Caner Inst. 2021 Jun 1;113(6):647-649. Doi: 10.1093/jnci/djaa189.
  • Deborah Erwin PhD, et al. Trust and Mistrust in Shaping Adaptation and De-Implementation in the Context of Changing Screening Guidelines. Ethn Dis. 2021 Jan 21;31(1):119-132. doi: 10.18865/ed.31.1.119. eCollection 2021 Winter. PMID: 33519162 Free PMC article.
  • Zhihong Gong, PhD, et al. Differential methylation and expression patterns of microRNAs in relation to breast cancer subtypes among women of African and European ancestry. PloS One. 2021; 16 (3): e0249229
  • Zhihong Gong, PhD, et al. Genetic variants in COX2 and ALOX genes and breast cancer risk in White and Black women. Front Oncol. 2021; 11:679998. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2021.679998
  • Theresa Hahn PhD, et al. Genome-wide association study identifies susceptibility loci for acute myeloid leukemia. Nat Comm 12(1):6233, 2021. PMID: 34716350, PMCID: PMC8556284
  • Theresa Hahn PhD, et al. Novel genetic variants associated with mortality after unrelated donor allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation. EClinicalMedicine 40: 101093, 2021. PMID: 34746714, PMCID: PMC8548922
  • Kirsten Moysich, PhD, et al. Circulating CD14 + HLA-DR lo/- monocytic cells as a biomarker for epithelial ovarian cancer progression. Am J Reprod Immunol. 2021 Mar;85(3):e13343. doi: 10.1111/aji.13343. PMID: 32905653. PMCID: PMC7897210.
  • Li Tang, PhD, et al. Differential associations of SLCO transporters with prostate cancer aggressiveness between African Americans and European Americans. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2021 Feb 22;cebp.EPI-20-1389-E.2020. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-1389. PMID: 33619025.
  • Li Tang, PhD, et al. A prospective study of lifestyle factors and bone health in breast cancer patients who received aromatase inhibitors in an integrated healthcare setting. J Cancer Surviv. 2021, Feb 9 doi: 10.1007/s11764-021-00993-0. Online ahead of print. PMID: 33565036
  • Li Tang, PhD, et al. Investigating the association between the urinary microbiome and bladder cancer: An exploratory study. Urol Oncol. 2021 Jun, 39(6): 370.e9-e19. PMID: 33436328
  • Song Yao, PhD, et al. Genetic ancestry and skeletal toxicities among childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia patients in the DFCI 05-001 cohort. Blood Adv. 2021 Jan 26;5(2):451-458. doi: 10.1182/bloodadvances.2020003060. PMID: 33496737. PMCID: PMC7839368.
  • Song Yao, PhD, et al. A Population-Based Study of Genes Previously Implicated in Breast Cancer. N Engl J Med. 2021 Feb 4;384(5):440-451. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa2005936. PMID: 33471974.
  • Song Yao, PhD, et al. Breast Tumor Microenvironment in Black Women: A Distinct Signature of CD8+ T Cell Exhaustion. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2021 Jan 5;djaa215. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djaa215. PMID: 33395700.

15 years. 35,000 people. Better testing. Earlier detection. More effective treatment.

Roswell Park is home to one of the most powerful tools available to cancer researchers — the Data Bank and BioRepository (DBBR). This resource helps scientists around the world zero in on biological differences between people who have cancer and people who don’t.

Training the next generation of scientists

In addition to our research and community outreach, the Department of Cancer Prevention & Control is actively involved in hands-on teaching with Master’s and PhD students in our highly competitive graduate studies program.

Our multidisciplinary education model allows students a unique immersive experience, preparing them for successful careers as independent investigators. 

Contact us

Gregory L. Ciupak, MPH
Senior Department Administrator
Phone: 716-845-8863
Fax: 716-845-8487
Email: Gregory.Ciupak@RoswellPark.org