Leader: Electra Paskett, PhD

The Cancer Control (CC) research program, one of five trans-disciplinary, highly collaborative research programs at the OSUCCC – James, has a history of high-impact, multidisciplinary and synergistic science.

The program includes more than 51 investigators from 22 departments in seven of Ohio State University’s 15 colleges. Multiple members have programmatic grants with inter-program collaborations and training grants.


  • Tobacco regulatory science
  • Identifying molecular, genetic and behavioral factors related to cancer incidence and mortality
  • Epidemiology and prevention of HPV-related oral cancer
  • Developing and validating behavioral interventions to prevent or detect cancer early
  • Biobehavioral interventions to reduce suffering, morbidity and mortality in cancer survivors
  • Addressing issues of cancer survivorship

Key Program Objectives

Conduct research that reduces the incidence, mortality and morbidity of cancer.

Cancer Focus

Key Grants

The Ohio State University Center of Excellence in Regulatory Tobacco Science (CA180908)
PIs: Peter Shields, MD; Mary Ellen Wewers, RN, PhD, MPH

This center grant supports The Ohio State University Center of Excellence in Regulatory Tobacco Science. These investigators work to understand the reasons for tobacco-product preferences, especially dual and poly-use, and how these reasons influence use in an environment of ever-changing, diverse types of tobacco products. The Center includes 18 OSUCCC – James researchers from six of Ohio State’s colleges. Data for their research will support regulatory decisions made by the Food and Drug Administration, Center for Tobacco Products.

Biobehavioral Responses to Cancer (CA098133) and Biobehavioral Intervention Training for Supportive-Care Professionals (CA163197)
PI: Barbara Andersen, PhD

The first of these grants continues the study of biobehavioral interventions that will decrease psychological symptoms and improve health to reduce the burden of cancer in patients, their families, and the healthcare system. The second grant supports the training at Ohio State of psychologists, social workers and mental health nurses in a supportive intervention developed under the first grant and shown to improve quality of life and survival in breast cancer patients.

Prevalence and Determinants of Oral HPV Infection in the U.S. Population (DE023175)
PI: Maura Gillison, MD, PhD

This research is clarifying the epidemiology of oral human papillomavirus (HPV) infection in the United States population. In particular, it is estimating the proportion of the U.S. population at risk for HPV-positive head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) and identifying birth cohorts at highest risk for HPV-HNSCC. The findings could affect public policy or clinical practice with regard to current HPV prophylactic vaccine policy for boys. The resulting data will also have future implications for the primary prevention of HNSCC via vaccination to prevent or screening to detect oral HPV infection.

Fatigue, Depression, and Inflammation in Cancer Survivors: A Prospective Study (5R01CA131029)
PI: Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, PhD

This project examines mechanistic connections among fatigue, depression, NF-B activation, health behaviors and proinflammatory cytokines, both cross-sectionally and longitudinally. Initial data on each of these dimensions will be collected before cancer treatment, and again six months, 18 months and 30 months after completion of primary treatment. Subjects will be stage I-IIIA breast cancer survivors, stage I- IIIC colon cancer survivors and men and women who had a benign diagnosis following an initial abnormal test for breast or colon cancer. The project is the first prospective study of inflammation, depression and fatigue from pretreatment through survivorship in two groups of cancer survivors, as well as a noncancer comparison group.

Center for Population Health and Health Disparities: Reducing Cervical Cancer in Appalachia (5P50CA105632)
PI: Electra Paskett, PhD

This grant supports the Center for Population Health and Health Disparities, in collaboration with the University of Michigan. The center addresses cancer in underserved populations, focusing first on understanding why high rates of cervical cancer incidence and mortality occur in Appalachia Ohio, which is located mainly in rural southern and eastern Ohio. The grant supports three community-based participatory research projects and four cores. Future work will move this type of multi-level, observational and interventional community-based research into other areas in the region where cancer health disparities exist.

Tobacco Cessation Interventions with Ohio Appalachian Smokers (3R01CA129771-05S1)
PI: Mary Ellen Wewers, RN, PhD, MPH

This study examines the efficacy of a validated tobacco-cessation intervention with Ohio Appalachian community residents, a group that has a high prevalence of tobacco-attributable diseases. It will also examine social and contextual factors associated with tobacco cessation that might modify or mediate the success of an intervention. These factors might be of particular relevance among disadvantaged smokers. Finally, in selected neighborhoods and communities, the researchers are characterizing pro- and anti-tobacco features that might influence cessation. This study uses a novel geographical information system to describe patterns of exposure.

Scientific Accomplishments

Worldwide Trends in Incidence Rates for Oral Cavity and Oropharyngeal Cancers. Researchers investigated the potential effect of HPV infection versus smoking on oropharyngeal cancer incidence in 23 countries across four continents. They compared the incidence of oropharyngeal cancer, which is often associated with HPV, and oral cancer, which is associated with smoking, from 1982-2002. The findings suggest that the increase in oropharyngeal cancer was likely due to HPV infection, which underscores the potential importance of HPV as a cause of oropharyngeal cancer globally.

PI: Maura Gillison, MD, PhD
Published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology

Yoga Can Lower Fatigue, Inflammation in Breast Cancer. Practicing yoga for as little as three months can reduce fatigue and lower inflammation in breast cancer survivors, according to a study of 200 women led by OSUCCC – James researchers. The more the women in the study practiced yoga, the better their results. At the study’s six-month point, fatigue was 57 percent lower on average in women who had practiced yoga compared to the non-yoga group; inflammation was reduced by up to 20 percent.

PI: Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, PhD
Published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology

Training and Career Development

The Ohio State University Center for Population Health and Health Disparities (5P50CA105632) includes a Training and Career Development Program (TCDP) in cancer health disparities. The program is helping to prepare the next generation of health disparities researchers by offering training that emphasizes collaborative, transdisciplinary science and multi-level approaches to addressing cervical cancer health disparities among Appalachian populations. The TCDP is open to students, postdoctoral trainees and junior faculty in behavioral sciences, public health, nursing, basic sciences and related disciplines. Postdoctoral trainees will be supported by the TCDP, while students and junior faculty will have opportunities to participate in program initiatives and the center's research projects.

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