• “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

  • “I'm working on reducing cancer through better screening. I collaborate with researchers nationwide on studies that will make screening more effective, patient-friendly, and personalized.”

    “I'm working on reducing cancer through better screening. I collaborate with researchers nationwide on studies that will make screening more effective, patient-friendly, and personalized.”

    Aruna Kamineni, PhD, MPH,
    Assistant Investigator, 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

Chubak J, Burnett-Hartman AN, Barlow WE, Corley DA, Croswell JM, Neslund-Dudas C, Vachani A, Silver MI, Tiro JA, Kamineni A. Estimating cancer screening sensitivity and specificity using healthcare utilization data: defining the accuracy assessment interval. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2022 Aug 2;31(8):1517-1520. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-22-0232. PubMed

Nicholson BD, Thompson MJ, Hobbs FDR, Nguyen M, McLellan J, Green B, Chubak J, Oke JL. Measured weight loss as a precursor to cancer diagnosis: retrospective cohort analysis of 43 302 primary care patients. J Cachexia Sarcopenia Muscle. 2022 Oct; 13(5): 2492-2503. Published online 2022 Jul 28. doi: 10.1002/jcsm.1305. PubMed

Li Y, Hwang WT, Maude SL, Teachey DT, Frey NV, Myers RM, Barz Leahy A, Liu H, Porter DL, Grupp SA, Shaw PA. Statistical considerations for analyses of time-to-event endpoints in oncology clinical trials: illustrations with CAR-T immunotherapy studies. Clin Cancer Res. 2022 Jul 15:CCR-22-0560. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-22-0560. Online ahead of print. PubMed

Haas CB, Bowles EJA, Lee JM, Specht J, Buist DSM. Accuracy of tumor registry versus pharmacy dispensings for breast cancer adjuvant endocrine therapy. Cancer Causes Control. 2022 Jul 7. doi: 10.1007/s10552-022-01603-9. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Holman A, Kross E, Crothers K, Cole A, Wernli K, Triplette M. Patient perspectives on longitudinal adherence to lung cancer screening. Chest. 2022 Jul;162(1):230-241. doi: 10.1016/j.chest.2022.01.054. Epub 2022 Feb 8. 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

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

Curriculum vitae (CV)

David S. Carrell, PhD

Associate Investigator
206-287-2705
David.S.Carrell@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 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)

Nora Henrikson, PhD, MPH

Associate Investigator
206-287-4675
Nora.B.Henrikson@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Laura E. Ichikawa, MS

Principal Collaborative Biostatistician
206-287-2395
Laura.E.Ichikawa@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Aruna Kamineni, PhD, MPH

Assistant Investigator
206-287-2922
Aruna.S.Kamineni@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Cara C. Lewis, PhD

Senior Investigator
206-442-4076
Cara.C.Lewis@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

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

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

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Robert D. Wellman, MS

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

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Karen Wernli, PhD

Senior Scientific 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

Assistant 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

Assistant 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)

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