Cancer Etiology

City of Hope’s Division of Cancer Etiology works tirelessly to better understand the various causes of cancer. Armed with this powerful knowledge, scientists can more efficiently develop solutions to reduce the risk of cancer, especially in people who possess the greatest likelihood of developing the disease.

Our Researchers

James V. Lacey Jr., Ph.D., M.P.H., Director of the Division of Cancer Etiology

Lacey’s work has been key in demonstrating that women using menopausal progestins and estrogens are more likely to develop uterine and ovarian cancer. In addition to leading the expansion of the California Teachers Study, Lacey continues to investigate the ways in which hormones affect the risks of developing uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, breast cancer, and other diseases among women.

Leslie Bernstein, Ph.D., Professor

Among the most accomplished researchers working in cancer epidemiology today, Bernstein was instrumental in identifying physical activity as a means by which to reduce the risk of breast cancer. She is deeply involved in scientific exploration of the links between hormone exposures, physical activity, obesity, and cancer. She also examines how breast cancer impacts the lives of women following their treatment.

Jessica Clague DeHart, M.P.H., Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Clague DeHart examines the genetic and molecular epidemiology of women’s cancers. Her foci are the biological mechanisms that underlie associations between modifiable risk factors, cancer risk reduction, and survival.

Huiyan Ma, Ph.D., Associate Research Professor

The lead manager of the databases that constitute the California Teachers Study, Ma studies the epidemiology of women’s cancers. Her primary foci include understanding the roles of alternative and complementary medicines among breast cancer survivors and identifying the risk factors for different subtypes of breast cancer.

Susan L. Neuhausen, Ph.D., Morris and Horowitz Families Professor in Cancer Etiology and Outcomes Research

Neuhausen researches identification of environmental and genetic stressors that predispose people to disease. Her work focuses primarily on ovarian and breast cancers and on celiac disease. Neuhausen works to understand why some individuals are more prone to develop certain illnesses. Her research emboldens the design and implementation of programs created to keep such at-risk people healthy.

Sophia S. Wang, Ph.D., Professor

Wang has focused on epidemiological research in cervical cancer and in non-Hodgkin lymphoma and seeks to better understand the molecular and genetic contributions to cancer causation. Wang investigates the role of immunity and inflammation in cancers among women and is currently expanding the scope of her research to other chronic diseases that disproportionately affect women.