Population Sciences Program

About Population Sciences

The Population Sciences Program conducts research on cancer etiology, control and prevention with the intent of improving public health in the Greater San Francisco Bay area and beyond. It makes use of the Greater Bay Area Cancer Registry and other datasets to determine patterns and trends of cancer incidence and mortality within the ten-county SCI catchment area, carries out epidemiologic studies to identify additional risk factors for cancer. 

The program establishes collaborations among basic and clinical scientists at Stanford, as well as at the national and international levels.

The ultimate goal of this research is to have a translational impact on clinical or public health practice.

To achieve this goal, we focus on three major areas of investigation: 

  • Innovative uses of cancer registry and surveillance data to identify and understand patterns and trends of cancer incidence and mortality in our catchment area and beyond 
  • Epidemiology approaches to identify and better characterize genetic and non-genetic risk factors in cancer etiology and progression 
  • Prevention research, primarily intervention trials, focused on the major known causes of cancer – tobacco use, diet, obesity and (relative lack of) physical activity


The cross-cutting themes of the program include studies in multiple racial/ethnic groups and studies in high risk populations. The program brings together population-based researchers with basic and clinical scientists and with many external collaborators to carry out its trans-disciplinary research objectives.

Program Directors

Ann Hsing, Ph.D.

Professor (Research) of Medicine (Stanford Prevention Research Center/Cancer Institute) and, by courtesy, of Health Research and Policy (Epidemiology)

Co-leader, Population Sciences
Stanford Cancer Institute

annhsing@stanford.edu

Esther M. John, Ph.D., M.S.P.H

Director of Research
Senior Research Scientist, Epidemiology
Cancer Prevention Institute of California (CPIC)

Co-leader, Population Sciences
Stanford Cancer Institute

esther.john@cpic.org

Marcia L. Stefanick, Ph.D.

Professor (Research) of Medicine (Stanford Prevention Research Center) and of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Co-leader, Population Sciences
Stanford Cancer Institute

stefanick@stanford.edu


Program Directory


SCI Population Sciences Program

Available Data and Biospecimen Resources for Collaborative Research


Cancer Registry

Greater Bay Area

The Greater Bay Area Cancer Registry (GBACR) gathers information about all cancers diagnosed or treated in a nine-county area (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz). Data on approximately 30,000 cases are collected annually (http://www.cpic.org/; data.release@cpic.org). GBACR data are recognized by national and international registry standard-setting organizations for being of the highest quality.

SCI contact person:  Scarlett L. Gomez, scarlett.gomez@cpic.org


Cancer Registry

California

The California Cancer Registry (CCR) includes data from the nine counties of the GBACR and is the state’s population-based cancer surveillance system. It is legally mandated to collect information about all cancers diagnosed in the state. Annually, approximately 150,000 cases are included (http://ccr.ca.gov/; research@ccr.ca.gov).

SCI contact person:  Scarlett L. Gomez, scarlett.gomez@cpic.org


Cancer Registry

SEER

The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End-Results (SEER) program of the NCI collects data on cancer diagnoses in 18 locations across the country, and annually collects information on approximately 1.5 million cancer cases (https://seer.cancer.gov/). Data from the GBACR and CCR have contributed to SEER for decades.

SCI contact person:  Scarlett L. Gomez, scarlett.gomez@cpic.org


Breast Cancer Family Registry (BCFR)

The BCFR is a multicenter cohort of ~11,000 breast cancer families from the U.S, Canada and Australia established in 1995, with systematic follow-up for new cancers and outcomes, updates of baseline data, and collection of new data items

Resources:  Baseline and follow-up data on family history and risk factors, clinical data, self-reported treatment data, blood samples (DNA, cell lines, plasma), pathology review data, tumor tissue (slides or TMAs), extensive germline molecular characterization (GWAS, Oncoarray, BRCA1, BRCA2, other candidate genes)

Website: http://www.bcfamilyregistry.org

SCI contact person:  Esther M. John, esther.john@cpic.org


Colon Cancer Family Registry (Colon CFR)

The Colon CFR is a multicenter cohort of ~10,000 colon cancer families from the U.S, Canada and Australia established in 1997, with systematic follow-up for new cancers and other outcomes, updates of baseline data, and collection of new data items

Resources:  Baseline and follow-up data on family history and risk factors, clinical data, blood samples (DNA, cell lines, plasma), tumor tissue (slides, TMAs), tumor characterization (MSI), germline molecular characterization (GWAS, MMR, other candidate genes)  

Website: https://epi.grants.cancer.gov/CFR/about_colon.html

SCI contact person:   Robert Haile, rhaile@stanford.edu


California Teachers Study
(CTS)

The California Teachers Study is a statewide prospective study of 133,479 women recruited through the State Teachers Retirement System in 1995, originally designed to focus on risk factors for breast cancer.

Resources:  Epidemiologic data at baseline and four follow-up questionnaires. Outcome information from the California Cancer Registry, vital records, and hospital discharge data.  Residential history data geocoded from baseline forward.  A biobank, primarily of blood samples, for a subset of the cohort.

Website: http://www.calteachersstudy.org/

SCI contact person:   Peggy Reynolds, peggy.reynolds@cpic.org


Multiethnic Cohort
(MEC)

The Multiethnic Cohort Study (MEC) was established to examine lifestyle risk factors, especially diet and nutrition, as well as genetic susceptibility in relation to the causation of cancer. The cohort was established in 1993 and is comprised of more than 215,000 adult men and women primarily of five racial/ethnic groups—African Americans, Japanese Americans, Latinos, Native Hawaiians, Whites.

Resources: Epidemiologic data at baseline and subsequent follow-up periods, Medicare data, geographic information system data, blood samples, urine samples, DNA, germline genetic data, SEER cancer registry data.

Websitehttp://www.uhcancercenter.org/research/the-multiethnic-cohort-study-mec

SCI contact person: Iona Cheng, iona.cheng@cpic.org


Women’s Health Initiative
(WHI)

WHI has rich phenotypic data, stored plasma, serum and buffy coat samples and cancer outcomes for 161,808 postmenopausal women (19% non-white), aged 50-79 at baseline (1993-1998) enrolled at one of 40 U.S. centers into either a Clinical Trial (CT, N=68,132) or Observational Study (OS, N=93,676) cohort. Women in the CT participated in one of two menopausal hormone trials (HT, N=27,347) and/or a diet trial (N=48,835) for which breast cancer was a primary safety or prevention outcome, respectively, over half of whom also enrolled in a calcium/vitamin D RCT of fractures and colorectal cancer, also a primary outcome of the diet trial. NCI has funded collection of all cancer outcomes in the ongoing follow-up of participants in WHI Extension Study, many of whom are participating in additional ancillary studies and WHI is part of several cancer consortia.

Websitehttps://www.whi.org/SitePages/WHI%20Home.aspx

SCI contact person: Marcia Stefanick, stefanick@stanford.edu


WHI Life and Longevity after Cancer
(LILAC)

LILAC is an NCI infrastructure grant (Multi-PI: G. Anderson, FHCRC; B. Caan, Kaiser RI; E. Paskett, OSU) for a WHI cancer survivor cohort. The LILAC survey is sent to women (N of cases as of 2016) with colorectal (3074), endometrial (1702), ovarian (1168), breast (12,554), and lung (3514) cancers as well as melanoma (2230), leukemia (975), lymphoma (1630 NH, 69 H) at baseline and annually. In addition to collecting treatment and recurrence data, LILAC is obtaining paraffin-embedded tumor tissue for all cases of lung, colorectal, endometrial, ovary cancers, all cases of triple negative breast cancer and a subsample of receptor positive breast cancers (up to 2000 cancers).

Websitehttps://www.whi.org/studies/LILAC/Pages/Home.aspx

SCI contact person: Marcia Stefanick, stefanick@stanford.edu