Cancer Screening & Diagnosis Research Group

Designing and implementing cancer screening, diagnosis, monitoring, and patient outcomes, including quality of life.

  • Design, development, and implementation of clinical trials for cancer screening, diagnosis, and monitoring.
  • Evaluate screening and diagnostic tests for accuracy.
  • Assess downstream health outcomes and health care utilization associated with cancer screening and diagnosis.
  • Explore the impact of cancer-related imaging on patient health, patient quality of life, and medical care utilization.
  • Identify the prevalence and management of significant incidental findings (SIFs) detected at cancer screening on patient health, medical care utilization, and Medicare costs.
  • Assess late effects, including cardiotoxicity, associated with cancer treatment.
  • Compare the efficacy of lung screening in community practice with that reported in clinical trials.
  • Develop methods for synthesizing evidence on imaging tests used to diagnose and monitor cancer.
  • Diagnostic test and biomarker evaluation and radio(geno)mics.

Jasjit S. Ahluwalia, MD, MPH, MS

Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Professor of Medicine

Dr. Ahluwalia’s primary research has focused on nicotine addiction and smoking cessation in African-American smokers. Ahluwalia then extended his research through national collaborations to the role of menthol in quitting, pharmacokinetics of nicotine, pharmacogenetics, and cancer biomarkers.

Research Profile

Melissa A. Clark, PhD

Professor of Health Services, Policy and Practice, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Dr. Clark is a Survey Methodologist whose interests integrate survey design and sampling with substantive areas of underserved populations, women’s health, and participant-reported outcomes. The overarching theme in her research is to better understand the individual, social, and environmental barriers and facilitators to health and well-being among individuals who have traditionally experienced disparities in overall health status and access to high quality health care. 

Research Profile

Eunyoung Cho, ScD

Associate Professor of Dermatology, Associate Professor of Epidemiology

Dr. Cho’s primary research interest is in evaluating the role of diet and nutrition in relation to the development of chronic diseases, using an epidemiologic approach. At Brown, Dr. Cho has pursued her interest in diet and nutrition with skin cancer and other dermatological disorders including alopecia areata, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and rosacea.

Research Profile

Stavroula Chrysanthopoulou, PhD

Assistant Professor of Biostatistics

The focus of Dr. Chrysanthopoulou’s research is in the area of microsimulation modeling. Broadly, her research spans the fields of complex predictive models applied in medical decision making, calibration and predictive accuracy methods, causal inference, missing data, and high-performance computing techniques.

Research Profile

Lorin A. Crawford, PhD

Assistant Professor of Biostatistics

Dr. Crawford’s research interests involve the development of novel and efficient computational methodologies to address complex problems in statistical genetics, cancer pharmacology, and radiomics (e.g. cancer imaging). Dr. Crawford has an extensive background in modeling massive data sets of high-throughput molecular information as it pertains to functional genomics and cellular-based biological processes.

Research Profile

Issa J. Dahabreh, MD, MS

Assistant Professor of Health Services, Policy and Practice, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology

Dr. Dahabreh’s research interests include the evaluation of methods for drawing causal inferences from observational data, generalizing the results of randomized trials to new target populations (in which no experiments can be conducted), and synthesizing evidence from diverse sources.

Research Profile

Fenghai Duan, PhD

Associate Professor of Biostatistics

Dr. Duan primarily works in the Biostatistics Center ofECOG-ACRIN, c

Research Profile

Ilana F. Gareen, PhD, MPH

Associate Professor of Epidemiology

Dr. Gareen’s research focuses on cancer screening trials. She is interested in the downstream consequences of screening, including medical care utilization, iatrogenic consequences, changes in quality of life, and the impact of screening and screening results on smoking cessation. 

Research Profile

Constantine A. Gatsonis, PhD

Henry Ledyard Goddard University Professor of Statistical Sciences, Director of Statistical Sciences, Professor of Biostatistics

Dr. Gatsonis’ research interests include statistical methods in diagnosis and prediction, Comparative Effectiveness Research methodology, Radiomics, Meta-analysis, and Bayesian biostatistics. He also engages in interdisciplinary research on clinical evaluation of diagnostic imaging for early detection, diagnosis, staging, and treatment of cancer, cancer care delivery research, and Comparative Effectiveness Research for cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Research Profile

Rowan Iskandar, PhD

Assistant Professor of Health Services, Policy and Practice

Dr. Iskandar’s primary research interests lie at the interface of health decision science and applied mathematics. He is interested in the analysis of cancer epidemiology data using mechanistic models of carcinogenesis to reverse-engineer the biological mechanisms of cancer progression and to identify approaches for more effective cancer control strategies.

Research Profile

Karl T. Kelsey, MD, MOH

Professor of Epidemiology, Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Dr. Kelsey is a molecular biologist who studies substances in blood or tissue that signal that cancer is present or progressing. Kelsey has identified several of these disease-flagging features, known as biomarkers, for breast, lung and other cancers. One of the goals of his work includes a mechanistic understanding of individual susceptibility to exposure-related cancers. In addition, his laboratory is interested in tumor biology, investigating somatic alterations in tumor tissue from patients who have developed exposure-related cancers. 

Research Profile

Wen-Qing Li, PhD

Assistant Professor of Dermatology, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology

With his expertise in cancer epidemiology and molecular epidemiology, Dr. Li is working on the gene-environment interaction in skin cancer and skin diseases. Additionally, he is interested in metabolomic profiling to explore the broad metabolome in psoriasis.

Research Profile

Vince Mor, PhD

Florence Pirce Grant University Professor, Professor of Health Services, Policy and Practice

Dr. Mor’s research focuses on the organizational and health care delivery system factors associated with variation in use of health services, and outcomes experienced by frail and chronically ill persons. His areas of study include: the quality of nursing home care, Medicare funding for post-acute care, the determinants of hospitalization, disease management for cancer patients, and age and racial discrimination in health care treatments.

Research Profile

Orestis Panagiotou, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor of Health Services, Policy and Practice (Research)

Dr. Panagiotou works on both applied and methodological problems in the following research areas: 1) delivery of cancer care and outcomes across the cancer continuum from screening to treatment, 2) quality of care with an emphasis on low-value care 3) evidence synthesis, meta-analysis, and replicability of clinical trials and 4) computational health services research

Research Profile

Deborah N. Pearlman, PhD

Associate Professor of the Practice of Epidemiology

Deborah Pearlman's substantive research interests are in advancing a deeper understanding of how fundamental causes of disparity influence health over the lifespan. Her research examines the independent and joint effects of race/ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic position on potentially preventable chronic diseases.

Research Profile

Patricia M. Risica, DrPH

Associate Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Associate Professor of Epidemiology

Professor Risica's research interests include obesity, nutritional epidemiology and eating behaviors; the influence of location of fat on the body with disease risk; breastfeeding; and diabetes, smoking cessation and avoidance of environmental tobacco smoke, heart disease and obesity, and early detection of melanoma. Her research interests encompass many aspects of intervention development and assessment of interventions in practical, community settings.

Research Profile

David A. Savitz, PhD

Associate Dean for Research, Professor of Epidemiology, Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Professor of Pediatrics

Dr. Savitz's research is focused on reproductive and environmental epidemiology. His epidemiological research has addressed a wide range of public health issues including environmental hazards in the workplace and community, reproductive health outcomes, and environmental influences on cancer. His environmental interests focus on a wide range of chemical and physical exposures, including perfluorinated chemicals, pesticides, drinking water treatment by-products, and non-ionizing radiation.

Research Profile

Martin A. Weinstock, MD, PhD

Professor of Dermatology, Professor of Epidemiology

Dr. Weinstock uses methods of clinical, descriptive, analytic, and experimental epidemiology and health services research to improve our understanding of, and ability to control, cutaneous malignancies including melanoma, keratinocyte (basal and squamous cell) carcinoma, cutaneous lymphoma, and other cutaneous malignancies, and of dysplastic nevi, actinic keratoses, and other cutaneous dysplasias.

Research Profile

Tongzhang Zheng, ScD

Professor of Epidemiology

Dr. Zheng conducts research in the areas of cancer epidemiology and environmental epidemiology. He investigates the relationship between environmental exposures, genetic polymorphisms, epigenetic factors and gene-environment interaction in the risk of various cancers in the US and in China, including breast cancer; non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, multiple myeloma, liver cancer, thyroid cancer, lung cancer and testis cancer; and the relationship between prenatal exposure and fetal and childhood growth trajectories.

Research Profile

Detection of Early Lung Cancer Among Military Personnel (DECAMP)

Principal Investigator: Dr. Fenghai Duan
Funding: Janssen Pharmaceutica/Trustees of Boston University
Years: 2017-2019

Genomics of Early Lung Cancer Among Military Personnel (GELCAMP)

Principal Investigator: Dr. Fenghai Duan
Funding: Department of Defense/Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
Years: 2017-2019

Outcomes associated with significant incidental findings in lung cancer screening

Principal Investigator: Dr. Ilana Gareen
Funding: National Cancer Institute, HHS
Years: 2017-2021

Cancer of the uterus and treatment of stress urinary incontinence

Principal Investigator: Dr. Katina Robinson;
Co-I & Subcontract PI: Dr. Chanelle Howe
Funding: Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute
Years: 2015-2019

ECOG-ACRIN-Based QIN Resource for Advancing Quantitative Cancer imaging in Clinical Trials

Principal Investigator: Dr. Mitchell Schnall;
Subcontract PI: Dr. Constantine A. Gatsonis
Funding: National Cancer Institute, NIH/ American College of Radiology
Years: 2015-2020

Rhode Island Cancer Prevention and Control (Grant No. NU58DP006291)

Principal Investigator: Ms. Nancy Sutton; Brown University
Subcontract PI: Dr. Deborah Pearlman
Funding: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Years: 2017-2022

Albert, M. R., & Weinstock, M. A. (2003). Keratinocyte Carcinoma. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, 53(5), 292–302.

Chrysanthopoulou, S.A. (2017). MILC: A Microsimulation Model of the Natural History of Lung Cancer. International Journal of Microsimulation. 10(3):5-26

Clark, M. A., Gorelick, J. J., Sicks, J. D., Park, E. R., Graham, A. L., Abrams, D. B., & Gareen, I. F. (2016). The Relations Between False Positive and Negative Screens and Smoking Cessation and Relapse in the National Lung Screening Trial: Implications for Public Health. Nicotine & Tobacco Research: Official Journal of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, 18(1), 17–24.

Clark, M. A., Rogers, M. L., Armstrong, G. F., Rakowski, W., Bowen, D. J., Hughes, T., & McGarry, K. A. (2009). Comprehensive Cancer Screening among Unmarried Women Aged 40–75 Years: Results from the Cancer Screening Project for Women. Journal of Women’s Health, 18(4), 451–459.

Clark, M. A., Rogers, M. L., Armstrong, G. F., Rakowski, W., & Kviz, F. J. (2008). Differential response effects of data collection mode in a cancer screening study of unmarried women ages 40–75 years: A randomized trial. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 8, 10.

Cox, L. S., Nollen, N. L., Mayo, M. S., Choi, W. S., Faseru, B., Benowitz, N. L., … Ahluwalia, J. S. (2012). Bupropion for Smoking Cessation in African American Light Smokers: A Randomized Controlled Trial. JNCI Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 104(4), 290–298.

Dahabreh, I. J., Schmid, C. H., Lau, J., Varvarigou, V., Murray, S., & Trikalinos, T. A. (2013). Genotype misclassification in genetic association studies of the rs1042522 TP53 (Arg72Pro) polymorphism: a systematic review of studies of breast, lung, colorectal, ovarian, and endometrial cancer. American Journal of Epidemiology, 177(12), 1317–1325.

Dahabreh, I. J., Chung, M., Balk, E. M., Yu, W. W., Mathew, P., Lau, J., & Ip, S. (2012). Active surveillance in men with localized prostate cancer: a systematic review. Annals of Internal Medicine, 156(8), 582–590.

Dahabreh, I. J., Trikalinos, T. A., & Paulus, J. K. (2012). Parity and risk of lung cancer in women: systematic review and meta-analysis of epidemiological studies. Lung Cancer (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 76(2), 150–158.

Drucker, A. M., Li, W.-Q., Savitz, D. A., Weinstock, M. A., Han, J., Li, T., … Cho, E. (2018). Association Between Health Maintenance Practices and Skin Cancer Risk as a Possible Source of Detection Bias. JAMA Dermatology.

Duan, F., & Xu, Y. (2017). Applying Multivariate Adaptive Splines to Identify Genes With Expressions Varying After Diagnosis in Microarray Experiments. Cancer Informatics, 16, 1176935117705381.

Duan, F., Smith, L. M., Gustafson, D. M., Zhang, C., Dunlevy, M. J., Gastier-Foster, J. M., & Barr, F. G. (2012). Genomic and clinical analysis of fusion gene amplification in rhabdomyosarcoma: a report from the Children’s Oncology Group. Genes, Chromosomes & Cancer, 51(7), 662–674.

Ersek, M., Miller, S. C., Wagner, T. H., Thorpe, J. M., Smith, D., Levy, C. R., … Mor, V. (2017). Association between aggressive care and bereaved families’ evaluation of end-of-life care for veterans with non-small cell lung cancer who died in Veterans Affairs facilities. Cancer, 123(16), 3186–3194.

Farvid, M. S., Stern, M. C., Norat, T., Sasazuki, S., Vineis, P., Weijenberg, M. P., … Cho, E. (2018). Consumption of red and processed meat and breast cancer incidence: A systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies. International Journal of Cancer, 143(11), 2787–2799.

Fogleman, E. V., Eliot, M., Michaud, D. S., Nelson, H. H., McClean, M. D., Langevin, S. M., & Kelsey, K. T. (2015). Occupational asphalt is not associated with head and neck cancer. Occupational Medicine (Oxford, England), 65(7), 570–573.

Gareen, I. F., Duan, F., Greco, E. M., Snyder, B. S., Boiselle, P. M., Park, E. R., … Gatsonis, C. (2014). Impact of lung cancer screening results on participant health-related quality of life and state anxiety in the National Lung Screening Trial. Cancer, 120(21), 3401–3409.

Gareen, I. F. (2007). Noncompliance in cancer screening trials. Clinical Trials (London, England), 4(4), 341–349.

Gidwani, R., Joyce, N., Kinosian, B., Levy, C., Faricy-Anderson, K. E., Ersek, M., … Mor, V. (2015). Variations in use and timing of hospice and palliative care: Differences across health care payers and cancer type. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 33(29_suppl), 132–132.

Goldman, R. E., & Risica, P. M. (2004). Perceptions of breast and cervical cancer risk and screening among Dominicans and Puerto Ricans in Rhode Island. Ethnicity & Disease, 14(1), 32–42. PMID: 15002921

Kelsey, K. T., & Wiencke, J. K. (2018). Immunomethylomics: A Novel Cancer Risk Prediction Tool. Annals of the American Thoracic Society, 15(Supplement_2), S76–S80.

Langevin, S. M., Kratzke, R. A., & Kelsey, K. T. (2015). Epigenetics of lung cancer. Translational Research: The Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine, 165(1), 74–90.

Lee, H. Y., Stange, M. J., & Ahluwalia, J. S. (2015). Breast cancer screening behaviors among Korean American immigrant women: findings from the Health Belief Model. Journal of Transcultural Nursing: Official Journal of the Transcultural Nursing Society, 26(5), 450–457.

Lee, H. Y., Koopmeiners, J. S., Rhee, T. G., Raveis, V. H., & Ahluwalia, J. S. (2014). Mobile phone text messaging intervention for cervical cancer screening: changes in knowledge and behavior pre-post intervention. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 16(8), e196.

Lehman, C. D., Isaacs, C., Schnall, M. D., Pisano, E. D., Ascher, S. M., Weatherall, P. T., … Gatsonis, C. (2007). Cancer yield of mammography, MR, and US in high-risk women: prospective multi-institution breast cancer screening study. Radiology, 244(2), 381–388.

Li, N., Hauser, R., Holford, T., Zhu, Y., Zhang, Y., Bassig, B. A., … Zheng, T. (2015). Muscle-building supplement use and increased risk of testicular germ cell cancer in men from Connecticut and Massachusetts. British Journal of Cancer, 112(7), 1247–1250.

Li, W.-Q., Han, J., Cho, E., Wu, S., Dai, H., Weinstock, M. A., & Qureshi, A. A. (2016). Personal history of psoriasis and risk of incident cancer among women: a population-based cohort study. The British Journal of Dermatology, 174(5), 1108–1111.

Li, W.-Q., Cho, E., Han, J., Weinstock, M. A., & Qureshi, A. A. (2016). 643 Male pattern baldness and risk of incident skin cancer in a cohort of men. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 136(5), S114.

Li, W.-Q., Zhang, M., Danby, F. W., Han, J., & Qureshi, A. A. (2015). Personal history of rosacea and risk of incident cancer among women in the US. British Journal of Cancer, 113(3), 520–523.

Matthews, N. H., Fitch, K., Li, W.-Q., Morris, J. S., Christiani, D. C., Qureshi, A. A., & Cho, E. (2019). Exposure to Trace Elements and Risk of Skin Cancer: A Systematic Review of Epidemiologic Studies. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention: A Publication of the American Association for Cancer Research, Cosponsored by the American Society of Preventive Oncology, 28(1), 3–21.

Panagiotou, O. A., Travis, R. C., Campa, D., Berndt, S. I., Lindstrom, S., Kraft, P., … Tsilidis, K. K. (2015). A genome-wide pleiotropy scan for prostate cancer risk. European Urology, 67(4), 649–657.

Panagiotou, O. A., Befano, B. L., Gonzalez, P., Rodríguez, A. C., Herrero, R., Schiller, J. T., … Costa Rica HPV Vaccine Trial (CVT) Group (see end of manuscript for full list of investigators). (2015). Effect of bivalent human papillomavirus vaccination on pregnancy outcomes: Long term observational follow-up in the Costa Rica HPV Vaccine Trial. BMJ (Clinical Research Ed.), 351, h4358.

Pisano, E. D., Acharyya, S., Cole, E. B., Marques, H. S., Yaffe, M. J., Blevins, M., … Gatsonis, C. (2009). Cancer cases from ACRIN digital mammographic imaging screening trial: radiologist analysis with use of a logistic regression model. Radiology, 252(2), 348–357.

Risica, P. M., Matthews, N. H., Dionne, L., Mello, J., Ferris, L. K., Saul, M., … Weinstock, M. A. (2018). Psychosocial consequences of skin cancer screening. Preventive Medicine Reports, 10, 310–316.

Savitz, D. A. (2004). Mixed signals on cell phones and cancer. Epidemiology (Cambridge, Mass.), 15(6), 651–652. PMID: 15475712

Savitz, D. A. (2001). Environmental exposures and childhood cancer: our best may not be good enough. American Journal of Public Health, 91(4), 562–563.

Savitz, D. A., Cai, J., van Wijngaarden, E., Loomis, D., Mihlan, G., Dufort, V., … Zhou, H. (2000). Case-cohort analysis of brain cancer and leukemia in electric utility workers using a refined magnetic field job-exposure matrix. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 38(4), 417–425. PMID: 10982982

Soderquist, R. S., Crawford, L., Liu, E., Lu, M., Agarwal, A., Anderson, G. R., … Wood, K. C. (2018). Systematic mapping of BCL-2 gene dependencies in cancer reveals molecular determinants of BH3 mimetic sensitivity. Nature Communications, 9(1), 3513.

Stefanaki, I., Panagiotou, O. A., Kodela, E., Gogas, H., Kypreou, K. P., Chatzinasiou, F., … Stratigos, A. J. (2013). Replication and predictive value of SNPs associated with melanoma and pigmentation traits in a Southern European case-control study. PloS One, 8(2), e55712.

Trivedi, A. N., Leyva, B., Lee, Y., Panagiotou, O. A., & Dahabreh, I. J. (2018). Elimination of Cost Sharing for Screening Mammography in Medicare Advantage Plans. The New England Journal of Medicine, 378(3), 262–269.

Tukey, M. H., Faricy-Anderson, K., Corneau, E., Youssef, R., & Mor, V. (2018). Procedural Aggressiveness in Veterans with Advanced Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer at the End of Life. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 21(4), 445–451.

Zhu, C., Bassig, B. A., Zhang, Y., Shi, K., Boyle, P., Li, N., & Zheng, T. (2015). A birth cohort analysis of the incidence of adenocarcinoma of the uterine cervix in the USA. European Journal of Cancer Prevention: The Official Journal of the European Cancer Prevention Organisation (ECP), 24(3), 240–244.

Zhu, C., Bassig, B. A., Shi, K., Boyle, P., Guo, H., & Zheng, T. (2014). Different time trends by gender for the incidence of Hodgkin’s lymphoma among young adults in the USA: a birth cohort phenomenon. Cancer Causes & Control : CCC, 25(8), 923–931.

Master of Public Health

Brousseau, E. Christine, "Cervical Cancer Screening in Correctional Facilities: A Systematic Review/Acceptance of Contraception in Prison: Access is Not the Only Barrier" (2017). Public Health Theses and Dissertations. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library.

Gorsi, Hamza, "1: The Association of Length of Hospital Stays and Number of ED Visits with Executive Functioning Among Childhood Cancer Survivors. 2: The Association of Neighborhood Poverty Status and Executive Functioning Among Childhood Cancer Survivors." (2017). Public Health Theses and Dissertations.Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library.

Li, Yanan, "Exposure to Polychlorinated Biphenyls and Risk of Testicular Germ Cell Carcinoma (TGCC): A Population-Based Case-Control Study in Connecticut and Massachusetts" (2018). Public Health Theses and Dissertations. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library.

Sokol, Emily, "Mobile Health Technology for Colorectal Cancer Screening: Pilot-testing E*Navegante, a Colorectal Cancer mHealth Tool, for Use in Primary Care Settings" (2019). Public Health Theses and Dissertations. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library.

Sun, Weiyi, "Intake of Furocoumarins and the Risk of Skin Cancer in Cohort Studies in US" (2018).Epidemiology Theses and Dissertations. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library.

Tao, Jinru, "Histopathological characteristics and risk of melanoma death: a population-based study of the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results registry" (2017). Public Health Theses and Dissertations. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library.

Doctor of Philosophy

Roydhouse, Jessica, "Improving patient-reported outcomes in cancer care: non-response and the role of proxies" (2017). Health Services, Policy & Practice Theses and Dissertations. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library.