Cancer Prevention

Sponsored long-term data collection on lifestyle and health from a large cohort of Mexican-American families to identify predictors of cancer risk and explain why patterns of cancer and response to treatment are different from those in other populations.

Barcenas CH, Wilkinson AV, Strom SS, Cao Y, Saunders KC, Mahabir S, Hernández-Valero MA, Forman MR, Spitz MR, Bondy ML. Birthplace, years of residence in the United States, and obesity among Mexican-American adults. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2007;15(4):1043-1052.

Wilkinson AV, Spitz MR, Strom SS, Prokhorov AV, Barcenas CH, Cao Y, Saunders KC, Bondy ML. Effects of nativity, age at migration, and acculturation on smoking among adult Houston residents of Mexican descent. Am J Public Health. 2005;95(6):1043-1049.

Demonstrated for the first time that vitamin A analogues (retinoids) can reverse precancerous lesions in the mouth and prevent or delay the onset of cancer, thereby opening up the new field of chemoprevention.

Hong WK, Endicott J, Itri LM, Doos W, Batsakis JG, Bell R, Fofonoff S, Byers R, Atkinson EN, Vaughan C,  Toth BB, Kramer A, Dimery IW, Skipper P, Strong S. 13‑cis retinoic acid in the treatment of oral leukoplakia. N Engl J Med. 1986;315(24):1501‑1505.

Led the first study showing that celecoxib, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, reduces both the size and number of polyps in patients with familial adenomatous polyposis, an inherited disorder that predisposes gene carriers to colorectal cancer; this finding led to approval by the FDA of celecoxib as a pharmacologic treatment in the management of this condition.

Steinbach G, Lynch PM, Phillips RK, Wallace MH, Hawk E, Gordon GB, Wakabayashi N, Saunders B, Shen Y, Fujimura T, Su LK, Levin B. The effect of celecoxib, a cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor, in familial adenomatous polyposis. N Engl J Med. 2000;342(26):1946-1952.

Arber N, Eagle CJ, Spicak J, Rácz I, Dite P, Hajer J, Zavoral M, Lechuga MJ, Gerletti P, Tang J, Rosenstein RB, Macdonald K, Bhadra P, Fowler R, Wittes J, Zauber AG, Solomon SD, Levin B; PreSAP Trial Investigators. A randomized controlled trial of celecoxib for the prevention of colorectal sporadic adenomatous polyps (PreSAP). N Engl J Med. 2006;335(9):885-895.

Solomon SD, Pfeffer MA, McMurray JJ, Fowler R, Finn P, Levin B, Eagle C, Hawk E, Lechuga M, Zauber AG, Bertagnolli MM, Arber N, Wittes J; APC and PreSAP Trial Investigators. Effect of celecoxib on cardiovascular events and blood pressure in two trials for the prevention of colorectal adenomas. Circulation. 2006;114(10):1028-1035.

Participated as a leading contributor to a study demonstrating that tamoxifen reduced the incidence of breast cancer in high-risk women by 50%.

Fisher B, Costantino JP, Wickerham DL, Redmond CK, Kavanah MT, Cronin WM, Vogel V, Robidoux A, Dimitrov N, Atkins J, Daly M, Wieand S, Tan-Chiu E, Ford L, Wolmark N. Tamoxifen for prevention of breast cancer: report of the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project P-1 Study. J Natl Cancer Inst. 1998;90(18):1371-1388.

Fisher B, Costantino JP, Wickerham DL, Cecchini RS, Cronin WM, Robidoux A, Bevers TB, Kavanah MT, Atkins JN, Margolese RG, Runowicz CD, James JM, Ford LG, Wolmark N. Tamoxifen for the prevention of breast cancer: current status of the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project P-1 Study. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2005;97(22):1652-1662.

Played a leadership role in an international trial demonstrating that raloxifene, like tamoxifen, can prevent or delay the incidence of breast cancer in women at high risk, with fewer side effects.

Vogel VG, Costantino JP, Wickerham DL, Cronin WM, Cecchini RS, Atkins JN, Bevers TB, Fehrenbacher L, Pajon ER, Wade JL, Robidoux A, Margolese RG, James J, Lippman SM, Runowicz CD, Ganz PA, Reis SE, McCaskill-Stevens W, Ford LG, Jordan VC, Wolmark N; National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP). Effects of Tamoxifen vs Raloxifene on the Risk of Developing Invasive Breast Cancer and Other Disease Outcomes: The NSABP Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene (STAR) P-2 Trial. JAMA. 2006; 295(23):2727-2741.

Demonstrated the efficacy of combining antidepressant drugs with counseling and nicotine replacement for improving tobacco cessation.

Cinciripini PM, Tsoh JY, Wetter DW, Lam C, de Moor C, Cinciripini L, Baile W, Anderson C, Minna JD. Combined effects of venlafaxine, nicotine replacement & brief counseling on smoking cessation. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2005;13(4):282-292.

Showed that the presence of some forms of the receptor for dopamine, an important signaling molecule in the brain, can identify persons at higher risk for addiction to nicotine and may be associated with reduced ability to quit smoking and poor response to antidepressant therapy.

Wu X, Hudmon KS, Detry MA, Chamberlain RM, Spitz MR. D2 dopamine receptor gene polymorphisms among African-Americans and Mexican-Americans: a lung cancer case-control study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2000;9(10):1021-1026.

Spitz MR, Shi H, Yang F, Hudmon KS, Jiang H, Chamberlain RM, Amos CI, Wan Y, Cinciripini P, Hong WK, Wu X. Case-control study of the D2 dopamine receptor gene and smoking status in lung cancer patients. J Natl Cancer Inst. 1998;90(5):358-363.

With statistical modeling, assessed the relative contributions of screening mammography, hormonal therapy and chemotherapy to the dramatic reduction in breast cancer mortality in the U.S.  Quantified the significant impact that discontinuation of hormone replacement therapy has made on the reduction in breast cancer mortality.

Ravdin PM, Cronin KA, Howlader N, Berg CD, Chlebowski RT, Feuer EJ, Edwards BK, Berry DA. The decrease in breast cancer incidence in 2003 in the United States. New Engl J Med. 2007;356:1670-1674.

Determined that obesity at a younger age (20-49 years) increases risk of pancreatic cancer and onset at an earlier age and that obesity reduces overall survival.

Li D, Morris JS, Liu J, Hassan MM, Day RS, Bondy ML, Abbruzzese JA. Body mass index and risk, age of onset, and survival in patients with pancreatic cancer. JAMA 2009;301(24):2553-2562.

Demonstrated the stronger genetic effect on lung cancer risk of specific nicotinic receptors among ever-smoking African-Americans than has been observed in Caucasians. Also showed that the genetic effects of this region affect both lung cancer and smoking behavior, with the stronger effect being on lung cancer risk.

Amos CI, Gorlov IP, Dong Q, Wu X, Zhang H, Lu EY, Scheet P, Greisinger AJ, Mills GB, Spitz MR. Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor region on chromosome 15q25 and lung cancer risk among African Americans: a case-control study. J Natl Cancer Inst 2010;102(15):1199-1205.

Wang J, Spitz MR, Amos CI, Wilkinson AV, Wu X, Shete S. Mediating effects of smoking and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease on the relation between the CHRNA5-A3 genetic locus and lung cancer risk. Cancer 2010;116(14):3458-3462.