Esther K. Wei, ScD
Developing statistical models for predicting risk of colorectal cancer, and determining the impact of lifestyle and dietary risk factors on colorectal cancer initiation and progression
Dr. Wei and her colleagues are developing new statistical models of colorectal cancer that incorporate the effects of timing of individuals’ exposures to risk factors. The overall goal is to target prevention efforts to the appropriate populations.
She is investigating the association between energy balance and the risk of colorectal cancer, especially the relationship between early life body size and the risk of developing colorectal polyps in adulthood.
Using polytomous logistic regression, Dr. Wei compared risk factors for colon and rectal cancer in two large prospective cohort studies. She is using new statistical methods to expand and validate comprehensive models of colorectal cancer incidence (accounting for known risk factors), and evaluating by sub-site within the colon. This work will provide insights into the interplay between risk factors and the possibility of site-specific associations, and help develop personalized prevention strategies and screening recommendations.
Dr. Wei’s ongoing research will examine associations between shift-work, sleep duration, melatonin levels and the risk of colorectal adenoma, using data from the Harvard Nurses’ Health Study.
Dr. Wei received her Master’s degree in epidemiology and her Doctor of Science Degree in epidemiology and nutrition from Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts. She completed her post-doctoral research at the Harvard School of Public Health, and was an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School and an Associate Epidemiologist in the Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital before joining CPMCRI.
Representative publications include:
- Austin SB, Pazaris MJ, Nichols LP, Bowen D, Wei EK, Spiegelman D. An examination of sexual orientation group patterns in mammographic and colorectal screening in a cohort of U.S. women. Cancer Causes Control. 2013 Mar;24(3):539-47.
- Lee JE, Wei EK, Fuchs CS, Hunter DJ, Lee IM, Selhub J, Stampfer MJ, Willett WC, Ma J, Giovannucci E. Plasma folate, methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR), and colorectal cancer risk in three large nested case-control studies.
Cancer Causes Control. 2012 Apr;23(4):537-45.
- Colditz GA, Wei EK. Preventability of cancer: the relative contributions of biologic and social and physical environmental determinants of cancer mortality.
Annu Rev Public Health. 2012 Apr;33:137-56.
- Nimptsch K, Giovannucci E, Willett WC, Fuchs CS, Wei EK, Wu K. Body fatness during childhood and adolescence, adult height, and risk of colorectal adenoma in women. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2011 Oct;4(10):1710-8.
- Wei EK, Wolin KY, Colditz GA. Time course of risk factors in cancer etiology and progression. J Clin Oncol . 2010 Sep 10;28(26):4052-7. doi:
10.1200/JCO.2009.26.9324. Epub 2010 Jul 19. Review.
- Kenfield SA, Wei EK, Rosner BA, Glynn RJ, Stampfer MJ, Colditz GA. Burden of smoking on cause-specific mortality: application to the Nurses' Health Study. Tob Control. 2010 Jun;19(3):248-54.
- Wei EK, Colditz GA, Giovannucci EL, Fuchs CS, Rosner BA. Cumulative risk of colon cancer up to age 70 years by risk factor status using data from the Nurses'
Health Study. Am J Epidemiol. 2009 Oct 1;170(7):863-72.