You are here

BCRF Grantee Since


Donor Recognition

The Estée Lauder Companies Brands Award in Memory of Evelyn H. Lauder

Area(s) of Focus

Thomas E. Rohan, MD, PhD

Professor and Chair, Department of Epidemiology and Population Health
Harold and Muriel Block Chair in Epidemiology and Population Health
Leader, Cancer Epidemiology Program
Associate Director for Population Science
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Bronx, New York

Current Research

Breast cancer mortality is largely due to metastatic disease, but clinical prognostic criteria such as tumor grade and tumor size do not adequately predict metastatic potential. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short non-coding RNAs that have been shown to control several cancer-relevant processes and studies have shown that aberrent miRNA expression may influence breast cancer prognosis. However, many of these findings have not been validated with respect to the association between miRNA expression and risk of metastasis. Dr. Rohan and colleagues are conducting a two-stage study that will first identify miRNAs whose expression is related to risk of distant metastasis, and then validate the findings for the miRNAs most strongly related to risk of metastasis. The study will be conducted as two consecutive case-control studies nested within a cohort of almost 4,000 women who received a diagnosis of invasive breast cancer and for whom follow-up data are available on the occurrence of distant metastasis. Dr. Rohan’s team are continuing their analysis from a pilot study to identify molecular markers of risk of progression from ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) of the breast to invasive breast cancer (IBC). They have collected information on a wide range of factors that potentially influence risk of progression from DCIS to IBC and are now extracting DNA and RNA in preparation for the proposed laboratory assays. The goal of this work is to lay the groundwork for a large-scale study that will lead to more accurate prediction models of breast cancer risk, as well as the clinical management of women at risk.


Dr. Thomas Rohan is Chairman of the Department of Epidemiology and Population Health at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and Associate Director for Population Sciences in the Albert Einstein Cancer Center, and he recently completed a term as a member of the National Cancer Institute Board of Scientific Counselors. He is a cancer epidemiologist with extensive experience in the design, conduct, and analysis of studies of genetic/molecular, nutritional, and hormonal factors in the etiology and pathogenesis of breast cancer. He has published widely on these topics, and he has co-edited books on cancer precursors and on cervical cancer. Dr. Rohan also has extensive experience in conducting translational studies that involve multiple investigators and require careful planning and coordination.