• “At KPWHRI, we have access to extensive data on cancer care. I'm using the data to learn how to improve the experiences of cancer patients and their families.”

    “At KPWHRI, we have access to extensive data on cancer care. I'm using the data to learn how to improve the experiences of cancer patients and their families.”

    Erin Bowles, MPH,
    Senior Research Associate, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute

Research overview

Cancer is complex and can be a devastating diagnosis for individuals and their families. Our researchers work to improve cancer control on many levels, from prevention and screening through treatment and survivorship.

Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) has been studying how to provide life-saving breast cancer screening since 1986. In a novel initiative, researchers used a computer-based registry and collaborations with organizations across the U.S. before electronic health records existed and multi-site studies were common. The program ultimately led to a rich portfolio of studies not only on breast cancer, but also on colorectal, blood, cervical, lung, and thyroid cancers.

“Decades later, Kaiser Permanente Washington is just as committed to developing and evaluating innovations in cancer care,” said Karen Wernli, PhD, KPWHRI associate investigator.

The core of KPWHRI cancer research lies in its participation in many collaborative networks and programs. “Collaboration increases the power of Kaiser Permanente studies and helps us learn from different populations and health care settings,” said Senior Investigator Jessica Chubak, PhD. Examples of these networks include:

Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium (BCSC)
The BCSC identifies strategies that detect aggressive breast cancer early, minimize harms, and reach diverse communities. Results help policymakers and health systems improve breast cancer screening and surveillance outcomes. The Kaiser Permanente Washington Breast Imaging Registry contributes to this national effort and the BCSC Statistical Coordinating Center resides at KPWHRI.

Population-based Research to Optimize the Screening Process (PROSPR)
The PROSPR national consortium conducts research to improve screening for cervical, colorectal, and lung cancers. PROSPR results will help optimize and tailor screening for different subgroups of the population.

Kaiser Permanente Research Bank (KPRB) Cancer Cohort
The KPRB Cancer Cohort is a national resource for understanding genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors that contribute to cancer etiology and survival. Electronic health record data, stored tissue specimens, detailed treatment data, and the ability to follow patients for recurrence and mortality are accelerating progress toward improved cancer care.

Some of the cancer research group’s current studies include:

Past findings include:

Recent publications on Cancer

Wolpin BM, Rizzato C, Kraft P, Kooperberg C, Petersen GM, Wang Z, Arslan AA, Beane-Freeman L, Bracci PM, Buring J, Canzian F, Duell EJ, Gallinger S, Giles GG, Goodman GE, Goodman PJ, Jacobs EJ, Kamineni A, Klein AP, Kolonel LN, Kulke MH, Li D, Malats N, Olson SH, Risch HA, Sesso HD, Visvanathan K, White E, Zheng W, Abnet CC, Albanes D, Andreotti G, Austin MA, Barfield R, Basso D, Berndt SI, Boutron-Ruault MC, Brotzman M, Büchler MW, Bueno-de-Mesquita HB, Bugert P, Burdette L, Campa D, Caporaso NE, Capurso G, Chung C, Cotterchio M, Costello E, Elena J, Funel N, Gaziano JM, Giese NA, Giovannucci EL, Goggins M, Gorman MJ, Gross M, Haiman CA, Hassan M, Helzlsouer KJ, Henderson BE, Holly EA, Hu N, Hunter DJ, Innocenti F, Jenab M, Kaaks R, Key TJ, Khaw KT, Klein EA, Kogevinas M, Krogh V, Kupcinskas J, Kurtz RC, LaCroix A, Landi MT, Landi S, Le Marchand L, Mambrini A, Mannisto S, Milne RL, Nakamura Y, Oberg AL, Owzar K, Patel AV, Peeters PH, Peters U, Pezzilli R, Piepoli A, Porta M, Real FX, Riboli E, Rothman N, Scarpa A, Shu XO, Silverman DT, Soucek P, Sund M, Talar-Wojnarowska R, Taylor PR, Theodoropoulos GE, Thornquist M, Tjønneland A, Tobias GS, Trichopoulos D, Vodicka P, Wactawski-Wende J, Wentzensen N, Wu C, Yu H, Yu K, Zeleniuch-Jacquotte A, Hoover R, Hartge P, Fuchs C, Chanock SJ, Stolzenberg-Solomon RS, Amundadottir LT. Genome-wide association study identifies multiple susceptibility loci for pancreatic cancer. Nat Genet. 2014 Sep;46(9):994-1000. doi: 10.1038/ng.3052. Epub 2014 Aug 3. PubMed

Wong YN, Mitra N, Hudes G, Localio R, Schwartz JS, Wan F, Montagnet C, Armstrong K. Survival associated with treatment vs observation of localized prostate cancer in elderly men. JAMA. 2006 Dec 13;296(22):2683-93.

Woodard DB, Gelfand AE, Barlow WE, Elmore JG. Performance assessment for radiologists interpreting screening mammography. Stat Med. 2007 Mar 30;26(7):1532-51. PubMed

Wright GE, Barlow WE, Green P, Baldwin LM, Taplin SH. Differences among the elderly in the treatment costs of colorectal cancer: how important is race? Med Care. 2007;45(5):420-430. PubMed

Wu C, Kraft P, Stolzenberg-Solomon R, Steplowski E, Brotzman M, Xu M, Mudgal P, Amundadottir L, Arslan AA, Bueno-de-Mesquita HB, Gross M, Helzlsouer K, Jacobs EJ, Kooperberg C, Petersen GM, Zheng W, Albanes D, Boutron-Ruault MC, Buring JE, Canzian F, Cao G, Duell EJ, Elena JW, Gaziano JM, Giovannucci EL, Hallmans G, Hutchinson A, Hunter DJ, Jenab M, Jiang G, Khaw KT, LaCroix A, Li Z, Mendelsohn JB, Panico S, Patel AV, Qian ZR, Riboli E, Sesso H, Shen H, Shu XO, Tjonneland A, Tobias GS, Trichopoulos D, Virtamo J, Visvanathan K, Wactawski-Wende J, Wang C, Yu K, Zeleniuch-Jacquotte A, Chanock S, Hoover R, Hartge P, Fuchs CS, Lin D, Wolpin BM. Genome-wide association study of survival in patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma.  Gut. 2014 Jan;63(1):152-60. doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2012-303477. Epub 2012 Nov 24. PubMed

Researchers in Cancer

Melissa L. Anderson, MS

Principal Collaborative Biostatistician
206-287-2647
Melissa.L.Anderson@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Erin J. Bowles, MPH

Director, Collaborative Science
206-287-2708
Erin.A.Bowles@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Jessica Chubak, PhD

Senior Investigator
206-287-2556
Jessica.Chubak@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Yates Coley, PhD

Associate Biostatistics Investigator
206-287-2071
Rebecca.Y.Coley@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Andrea J. Cook, PhD

Senior Biostatistics Investigator
206-287-4257
Andrea.J.Cook@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Marlaine Figueroa Gray, PhD

Assistant Investigator
206-287-2620
Marlaine.S.Figueroagray@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Beverly B. Green, MD, MPH

Senior Investigator
206-287-2997
Bev.B.Green@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Laura E. Ichikawa, MS

Principal Collaborative Biostatistician
Laura.E.Ichikawa@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Jennifer B. McClure, PhD

Director, Investigative Science
206-287-2737
Jennifer.B.Mcclure@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Ellen O'Meara, PhD

Principal Collaborative Scientist
206-287-2938
Ellen.S.O'Meara@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Lorella Palazzo, PhD

Senior Collaborative Scientist
206-287-2173
Lorella.G.Palazzo@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Gaia Pocobelli, PhD

Senior Collaborative Scientist
206-287-2914
Gaia.S.Pocobelli@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Rod L. Walker, MS

Principal Collaborative Biostatistician
206-287-2895
Rod.L.Walker@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Robert D. Wellman, MS

Principal Collaborative Biostatistician
206-287-2557
Robert.D.Wellman@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Karen Wernli, PhD

Senior Investigator
206-287-2934
Karen.J.Wernli@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Onchee Yu, MS

Principal Collaborative Biostatistician
206-287-2389
Onchee.Yu@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Weiwei Zhu, MS

Senior Collaborative Biostatistician
206-442-5215
Weiwei.Zhu@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Yu-Ru Su, PhD

Associate Biostatistics Investigator
206-287-2948
yuru.su@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Brian D. Williamson, PhD

Assistant Biostatistics Investigator
206-287-2024
Brian.D.Williamson@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Noorie Hyun, PhD

Associate Biostatistics Investigator
Noorie.Hyun@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Pamela A. Shaw, PhD, MS

Senior Biostatistics Investigator
Pamela.A.Shaw@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Nicole M. Gatto, PhD, MPH

Principal Collaborative Scientist
Nicole.M.Gatto@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Meagan C. Brown, PhD, MPH

Assistant Investigator
Meagan.C.Brown@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Nora Henrikson, PhD, MPH

Associate Investigator
Nora.B.Henrikson@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Affiliate researchers

Wylie Burke, MD, PhD
University of Washington (UW) Department of Medical History and Ethics

Joann G. Elmore, MD, MPH
Harborview Medical Center; UW Department of Epidemiology

Larry Kessler, ScD
UW Department of Health Services

Constance D. Lehman, MD, PhD
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance; UW Department of Radiology

Kathy Leppig, MD
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington; UW Department of Pathology

Peggy L. Porter, MD
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC); UW Department of Pathology

Emily White, PhD
FHCRC; UW Department of Epidemiology

Rachel Winer, PhD, MPH
Fred Hutchinson/UW Cancer Consortium; UW Department of Epidemiology