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Gertraud Maskarinec, MD, PhD

Gertraud Maskarinec, MD, PhD
  • Professor (Researcher)
    Cancer Epidemiology Program
    University of Hawaii Cancer Center
  • Program Director
    Post-Doctoral Training Program, University of Hawaii Cancer Center
  • Graduate Faculty
    Office of Public Health Studies and Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences, University of Hawaii at Manoa


  • MD
    UniversitÀt Freiburg, Germany
  • PhD, MPH, Epidemiology
    University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • Residency, Preventive Medicine
    University of Hawaii at Manoa

Research Focus

Dr. Maskarinec, a physician in preventive medicine, has the goal to understand the etiology of cancer, in particular breast cancer, and to contribute to strategies of cancer prevention. Her current research focuses on identifying risk factors that play a role in the development of breast cancer, Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL), and type 2 diabetes. To understand the differential rates of disease in Hawaii's ethnic groups, she has performed comparative studies that included women from Hawaii, the US, Japan, and Europe. Nutritional factors, especially soy foods, dietary patterns, overweight and obesity, are the main topics of her grants and numerous publications. The soy-related research builds on the opportunities offered by the ethnically diverse population of Hawaii, the geographic proximity to Japan, the Nutrition Shared Resource, and the Analytical Laboratory Shared Resource with expertise in isoflavone assessment. The focus on soy foods has led to several nutritional interventions that examined biomarkers of cancer risk as intermediate outcomes, including mammographic densities, serum hormone levels, urinary estrogen metabolites, inflammatory markers, and characteristics of nipple aspirate fluid. The mammographic density research has been extended into the area of pathology using tumor blocks from breast cancer cases. Since there is considerable experimental and epidemiologic research suggesting that diet may have a stronger influence on breast development during childhood and adolescence than during adulthood, Dr. Maskarinec and colleagues have developed a DXA-based method to monitor breast density among girls and young women. More recently, the role of obesity, soy intake, alternative medicine use, and mammographic density as predictors of breast cancer survival have yielded interesting results. In other interests, work related to NHL within the Multiethnic Cohort has described an elevated risk with overweight and obesity early in life and protective associations with serum levels of carotenoids and tocopherols.


  • Woolcott CG, Conroy SM, Nagata C, Ursin G, Vachon CM, Yaffe MJ, Pagano I, Byrne C, Maskarinec G. (2013).Comparison of methods to assess and represent mammographic density: an analysis of four case-control studies. Am J Epidemiol, Oct 11. [Epub ahead of print].
  • Olberding N, Morimoto Y, Cooney RV, Wilkens LR, Franke AA, Le Marchand L, Goodman MT, Hernandez B, Kolonel LN, Maskarinec G. (2013). Prediagnostic serum tocopherol levels and the risk of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: The Multiethnic Cohort. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prevent, Nov;22(11):2075-83. Sep 17. [Epub ahead of print].
  • Maskarinec G, Pagano I, Little M, Park SY, Kolonel LN. (2013). Mammographic Density as a Predictor of Breast Cancer Survival: The Multiethnic Cohort. Breast Cancer Res, Jan 22;15(1):R7. [Epub ahead of print].
  • Ollberding NJ, Maskarinec G, Conroy SM, Morimoto Y, Franke AA, Cooney RV, Wilkens LR, Le Marchand L, Goodman MT, Hernandez BY, Henderson BE, Kolonel LN. (2012). Prediagnostic Circulating Carotenoid Levels and the Risk of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: The Multiethnic Cohort. Blood, Jun 14;119(24):5817-23. Epub 2012 May 1.
  • Conroy SM, Maskarinec G, Wilkens LR, White KK, Henderson BE, Kolonel LN. (2011). Obesity and breast cancer survival in ethnically diverse postmenopausal women: The Multiethnic Cohort Study. Breast Cancer Res Tr, 129(2):565-74. Epub 2011 Apr 16.

Publication list via PubMed

Active Grants

  • G. Maskarinec, Principal Investigator
    "Nutritional & Behavioral Cancer Prevention in a Multiethnic Population"
    February 1, 2001-August 31, 2014
  • G. Maskarinec, Principal Investigator
    Soy Health Research Incentive Program
    "Measuring novel biomarkers for breast cancer risk in nipple aspirate fluid, serum, and urine during a crossover soy trial among premenopausal women"
    January 1, 2013 - June 30, 2014
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