Co-Leader: Electra Paskett, PhD
Co-Leader: Theodore Wagner, PhD

The overall goal of the Cancer Control (CC) Program at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center (OSUCCC) is to conduct research to reduce the incidence, mortality and morbidity of cancer. The CC Program focuses on research across the cancer control continuum, from etiology through survivorship, includes a multi-level focus, from biology to policy, and has cross-cutting themes to study underserved/rural//minority populations, communication research, tobacco use and toxicity, policy, and behavioral strategies that capitalize on our members’ strengths, such as epidemiology, interventional studies, biology and behavior. In addition, many of our projects include trans-disciplinary research teams to better understand and address research aims.

CC Cancer Focus

  • Cancer control continuum: etiology through survivorship
  • Underserved/minority populations
  • Communication research
  • Tobacco use and toxicity
  • Implementation science
  • Policy and behavioral strategies

About CC Members

Both Drs. Wagener and Paskett focus on enhancing the research portfolio of the CC Program. In her role as co-program leader, Dr. Paskett oversees inter-programmatic interactions, the development of large programmatic efforts, faculty recruitment and development, and coordinates program meetings. Dr. Wagener’s responsibilities as co-leader include fostering research in tobacco and behavior, stimulating interactions with clinicians to promote the research in the program and across programs of the OSUCCC, and training/mentoring opportunities for junior faculty fellows and students. Both Drs. Paskett and Wagener work to develop programmatic meetings and retreats, and to administer Cancer Control Program pilot funds for developmental research projects.

The CC Program has 61 members from 17 departments and 7 colleges (Arts & Sciences, Dentistry, Education & Human Ecology, Law, Medicine, Nursing and Public Health), and members have interactions with multiple OSUCCC members in all of the other research programs.

Through intra-programmatic, inter-programmatic and multi-institutional collaboration, CC members have published 897 cancer relevant manuscripts during the period of 12/01/14-06/01/19 of which 21.5% are intra-programmatic, 21.4% are inter-programmatic and 74.5% are multi-institutional. Thus, approximately 86% of all manuscripts are collaborative.

Over the last five years, CC program have accrued 13,331 participants to trials; 4,352 to non-therapeutic/interventional trials and 8,979 to non-therapeutic/non-interventional trials. CC program members are conducting cutting-edge innovative research.

Key Program Objectives

At a population level, to identify molecular, genetic and behavioral factors related to cancer incidence and mortality.

Within this thematic area, researchers are focused on observational studies of etiology and risk specifically related to molecular, genetic and behavioral risk factors (risky behaviors including tobacco use, diet/physical activity/obesity and human papillomavirus [HPV]).

To develop and test behavioral interventions to prevent or detect cancer early.

Within this thematic area, members focus on developing and testing behavioral interventions to address risk factors studied in the first objective that range from safety and efficacy intervention trials to implementation studies including regulatory science.

To assess and intervene on issues of cancer survivorship (active cancer patients and survivors).

Within this theme, CC researchers are conducting observational and interventional studies among cancer patients and survivors, many including biologic/mechanistic components, as well as health outcomes research. In addition, these studies utilize the resources of our patient populations, large datasets, national cooperative groups and/or the WHI populations.

Scientific Accomplishments

Clinicopathologic Significance of Mismatch Repair Defects in Endometrial Cancer: An NRG Oncology/Gynecologic Oncology Group Study. Researchers reported that the interaction between mismatch repair status and adjuvant therapy showed a trend toward improved progression-free survival for probable mismatch repair mutation cases. Published in Journal of Clinical Oncology.

  PIs: David Cohn, MD; Floor Backes, MD; Nilsa Ramirez-Milan, PhD; Paul Goodfellow, PhD

Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs and Endometrial Carcinoma Mortality and Recurrence. A study that reported that the interaction between mismatch repair status and adjuvant therapy showed a trend toward improved progression-free survival for probable mismatch repair mutation cases. Published in Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

  PIs: Theodore Brasky, PhD; Ashley Felix, MD, PhD; David Cohn, MD

Prevalence and Spectrum of Germline Cancer Susceptibility Gene Mutations Among Patients With Early-Onset Colorectal Cancer. Determined the frequency and spectrum of cancer susceptibility gene mutations among young (<50 years of age) colorectal cancer patients. Among 450 young colorectal patients, 72 (16%) had gene mutations. Panel testing identified mutations in patients that may have otherwise been missed; specifically, 24 of 72 patients (33.3%) who were mutation positive did not meet testing criteria for the gene(s) in which they had a mutation. Published in JAMA Oncology.

  PIs: Wendy Frankel, PhD; Weiqiang Zhao, MD; Alper Yilmaz, PhD; Paul Goodfellow, PhD; Electra
       Paskett, PhD; Peter Shields, MD; Peter Stanich, MD; Mark Arnold, MD; Albert de la Chapelle, MD, PhD;
       Heather Hampel, MS, LGC

Racial and Ethnic Differences in Patient Navigation: Results From the Patient Navigation Research Program. In a multi-site study of non-Hispanic white, Hispanic and black patients, researchers from the Patient Navigation Research Program reported that patient navigation appears to have the greatest impact among black patients, who had the greatest delays in care. Published in Cancer.

  PI: Electra Paskett, PhD 

Effectiveness of Two Community Health Worker Models of Tobacco Dependence Treatment Among Community Residents of Ohio Appalachia. In a group randomized trial evaluating two (face-to-face vs. quitline) evidence-based community health worker models in the delivery of tobacco dependence treatment underserved populations. Published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

  PIs: Mary Ellen Wewers, RN, PhD, MPH; Abigail Shoben, PhD; Amy Ferketich, PhD; Julianna Nemeth, PhD

Results of a Pilot Study of a Mail-Based Human Papillomavirus Self-Testing Program for Underscreened Women From Appalachian Ohio. In a randomized study, women from Appalachia Ohio who were mailed HPV self-test were randomized to receive self-test instructions developed by the device manufacturer and a standard information brochure about cervical cancer (control group) or self-test instructions developed by the project and a photo story information brochure about cervical cancer (intervention group). The percentage of women who return the kits was similar between the intervention group (78%) and the control group (77%), and reported a positive experience and high levels of satisfaction with the self-test. Published in Sexually Transmitted Diseases.

  PIs: Paul Reiter, PhD, MPH; Abigail Shoben, PhD; Electra Paskett, PhD; Mira Katz, PhD, MPH

Treatment-Related Complications of Systemic Therapy and Radiotherapy. Researchers were the first examine complications of cancer treatment (systemic therapy and radiotherapy) emergency room visits on a national level. Results from the retrospective cohort study revealed that radiotherapy- and systemic treatment-related complications resulted in 1.5 million yearly emergency room visits. These treatment associated visit increase at a 5.5 fold higher rate over 5.5 years compare to overall emergency room visit. Published in JAMA Oncology.

  PI: Carolyn Presley, MD

Trajectories of Stress, Depressive Symptoms and Immunity in Cancer Survivors: Diagnosis to Five Years. Researchers were the first to report that trajectories and specific time points of change in biobehavioral data of breast cancer survivors through a five-year period. The findings showed that: 1) cancer stress shows two distinct phases of decline, with the change point being at 12 months; 2) a steep decline in depressive symptoms occurs by seven months with stable, low levels thereafter; and 3) natural killer cell cytotoxicity shows a steady upward trajectory through 18 months and upper limit stability thereafter, whereas there was no reliable trajectory for T cell blastogenesis. Published in Clinical Cancer Research.

  PIs: Barbara Andersen, PhD; William Carson, MD

Inflammatory Cytokines and Comorbidity Development in Breast Cancer Survivors Versus Noncancer Controls: Evidence for Accelerated Aging? In a longitudinal study evaluating the development of proinflammatory cytokines and comorbidity among breast cancer patients and a noncancer control group, researchers noted no baseline differences among the two groups. But over time, breast cancer survivors had significantly higher tumor necrosis factor-α and IL-6 compared with the control group, and those who had multimodal treatment had higher cytokines and comorbidities, suggestive of accelerated aging, and suffered greater pain associated with inflammation over time after cancer treatment than did the control group. Published in Journal of Clinical Oncology

  PIs: Stephen Povoski, MD; Adele Lipari, DO; Doreen Agnese, MD; William Farrar, MD; William Carson, MD;
       Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, PhD

Future Directions

The following are some of the future key areas of focus for the CC Program:

  • Develop a research theme in the area of immunotherapy: late effects, distribution and determinants of late effects; disparities in late effects; educational and behavioral interventions to address treatment and effects; and financial toxicity.
  • Develop strength in implementation science research, drawing from the experience of the intervention scientists and the CATALYST, including using patient-directed health interventions.
  • Expand tobacco policy and regulatory science research.
  • Capitalize on the Total Cancer Caner (TCC) project and ORIEN by adding Patient Reported Outcomes (PROs) to this sample.
  • Implement precision prevention strategies to identify and recommend surveillance for high-risk populations using decision-making, genetic testing and other biomarkers and risk factors.
  • Cancer surveillance and education among the growing refugee and immigrant communities.
  • Address breast cancer in the African American (AA) population in Ohio.

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Electra Paskett, PhD

Program Co-Leader

Electra Paskett


Dr. Paskett is the director of the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control. She became the Marion N. Rowley Professor of Cancer Research at The Ohio State University in 2002. Dr. Paskett is a professor in the Division of Epidemiology in the College of Public Health and also serves as co-leader of the Cancer Control Program and director of the Center for Cancer Health Equity at the OSUCCC – James.

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Theodore Wagener, PhD

Program Co-Leader


Dr. Wagener serves as the director of the Center for Tobacco Research and co-leader of the Cancer Control Program at the OSUCCC – James. He is also an associate professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

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