Cancer Prevention and Outcomes

Members in this program conduct research designed to identify and reduce population cancer risks and disparities and to improve cancer outcomes throughout the disease continuum. Its broad, interdisciplinary membership includes chemoprevention scientists, immunologists, gastroenterologists, epidemiologists, social & behavioral scientists, clinical oncologists, and biostatisticians.

Program Leadership


Joan Neuner, MD, MPH

Department of Medicine
Division of General Internal Medicine


Program Aims

  1. Develop novel chemopreventive agents and immunopreventive vaccines, with an emphasis on reducing the risk for aerodigestive cancers. CPO scientists will continue their intra- and inter-programmatic collaborations between basic scientists, clinical investigators and gastroenterologists to develop innovative basic and clinical studies to assess and reduce cancer susceptibility.
  2. Improve cancer outcomes by identifying and addressing factors that affect cancer control, cancer care access, and quality and value of care. CPO members will continue to foster new collaborations that develop innovative approaches to improve cancer outcomes by identifying and addressing processes that affect cancer control and cancer care access, quality and value, and to reduce cancer disparity by evaluating the mechanisms of cancer disparities and develop novel interventions to reduce inequities among targeted populations.
  3. Reduce cancer disparities by evaluating the contributing mechanisms and developing novel interventions to reduce inequities among targeted populations.

Selected NIH Funded Projects, CPO Program

AIM ONE - Chemoprevention:

Michele Battle, PhDMichele Battle, PhD

“GATA4 in Development of a Normal Squamocolumnar Junction and Barrett’s Esophagus.”

  • Explores how abnormal re-activation of the transcription factor GATA4 in the esophagus contributes to the pathology of Barrett's esophagus (BE), a premalignant condition.
  • Individuals with BE have an elevated lifetime risk of developing esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC), a deadly cancer with a five-year survival rate of ~18%.
  • Identification of GATA4 and its downstream targets could lead to future therapies and/or biomarkers for BE and other pre-cancerous conditions.

 Balaraman Kalyanaraman, PhD

Balaraman Kalyanaraman, PhD

Chemoprevention of Lung Cancer with Mitochondria-Targeted Honokiol

  • Evaluates the potential of Mito-Honokiol to prevent lung cancer and deadly metastasis to the brain
  • Co-investigators include Micael Hardy, PhD, Aix-Marseille University; Charles Myers, PhD, professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology; and Jacek Zielonka, PhD, research director at the Free Radical Research Center and Department of Biophysics

Stuart Wong, MD

Stuart Wong, MD

Inhibition of Oral Tumorigenesis by Antitumor B

  • Evaluates a widely used Chinese herbal formula called Antitumor B as potent cancer preventive agents for squamous cell carcinomas
  • Uses an innovative Window of Opportunity (WOO) clinical trial where participants receive Antitumor B in the window of time between their diagnostic biopsy and surgery


AIMS TWO and THREE- Cancer Disparities and Outcomes:

Kirsten Beyer, PhD, MPHKirsten Beyer, PhD, MPH

Racism, Residential Racial Segregation and Breast Cancer Survival Disparities among Black, Hispanic and Non-Hispanic White Women

  • Built upon previous breast cancer disparities research, associated racial bias in housing with breast cancer survival among Black women in MKE
  • National study among Black, Hispanic and non-Hispanic women
  • Milwaukee case study
  • Construct and compare segregation measures
  • Determine if segregation is associated with breast cancer survival
  • Explore how Black and Hispanic breast cancer survivors in a highly segregated metropolitan area navigate cancer survivorship in the context of segregation

Joan Neuner, MD, MPH

Joan Neuner, MD, MPH

Socioeconomic Disparities in Adherence to Oral Hormonal Therapy for Breast Cancer

  • Based on 2015 JNCI paper showing trends toward high rates of nonadherence in using Aromatase inhibitors were reversed with either copayment elimination or low-cost generics
  • Study will further explore adherence to aromatase inhibitors in the context of pharmacy deserts and other barriers
  • Case Study, State of Wisconsin

Alan Nyitray Headshot March 2019- sized AQM

Alan Nyitray, PhD

Prevent Anal Cancer Study

  • Addresses novel anal cancer screening methodology for those at greater risk for anal cancer: gay and bisexual men, especially gay and bisexual men who are HIV-positive. 
  • This study will find ways to detect anal cancer earlier, when it’s much easier to treat.

Learn more, including links to the eligibility survey


Melinda Stolley, PhD

Melinda Stolley, PhD

Every Day Counts

  • Addresses late-stage breast cancer disparities in Milwaukee
  • Lifestyle interventions, quality of life, biomarkers in women with metastatic breast cancer

Avanzando Juntas (Moving Forward)

  • Adapts the Moving Forward weight loss intervention for Latina breast cancer survivors (BCS)
  • Community engaged process, survivors and United Community Center are partners
  • Examines effects of the adapted program on body weight, body composition, behavior and biological markers among Latina BCS