Laurence N. Kolonel, MD, PhD
Cancer Epidemiology Program
University of Hawaii Cancer Center
Biomedical Sciences Interdisciplinary Graduate Program
John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii at Manoa
- Graduate Faculty
Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition
College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Harvard Medical School
- PhD, MPH, Epidemiology
University of California at Berkeley
- Board Certified in General Preventive Medicine
Dr. Kolonel's research interests for many years have centered on understanding the striking variations in cancer incidence and survival that are observed among the several different ethnic populations in Hawaiâ€˜i. This work began in the mid-1970's when he joined the newly formed epidemiology program at the University of Hawaiâ€˜i Cancer Center. An underlying premise for the research program was that important clues to cancer etiology might emerge from epidemiologic studies in this unique environment.
In early studies of cancer risks among migrant populations, Dr. Kolonel and his colleagues showed that incidence rates in first generation migrants to Hawaiâ€˜i from Japan and the U.S. mainland were often remarkably higher (or lower) than the prevailing rates in their place of origin. Moreover, these changes were progressive from the first to the second generation (born in Hawaiâ€˜i). These findings added considerable weight to the notion that most cancers are environmentally determined. Accordingly, Dr. Kolonel and his group concentrated much of their subsequent research on the role of lifestyle variables in the etiology of cancer, with a particular emphasis on nutritional factors. Several early ecologic and case-control studies in this unique population-setting helped establish the importance of diet and nutrition in determining cancer risk.
Despite the encouraging results of many of these studies, the research showed that even when major risk factors for cancer were known, they could not fully account for the observed differences in incidence among the several ethnic groups in Hawaiâ€˜i. Furthermore, some of the changes in risk observed among migrants were much greater than would be expected from lifestyle alterations alone. Thus, to further their research on diet, nutrition and cancer, and to better explore some of the anomalous findings, in 1993-1996, Dr. Kolonel with several of his colleagues established a large multiethnic cohort for long-term follow-up. To enhance the value of this research resource, they included ethnic groups from both Hawaiâ€˜i (Japanese-Americans, whites, and Native Hawaiâ€˜ians) and California (African-Americans, and Latinos). The cohort includes more than 215,000 participants of both sexes, on whom extensive questionnaire data (including a detailed quantitative dietary history) were collected at baseline and on several subsequent occasions. In addition, biological specimens were obtained from approximately 70,000 cohort participants to form a unique biorepository of blood and urine samples. Most of Dr. Kolonel's current research utilizes this cohort resource. The work is multidisciplinary, and includes a substantial molecular epidemiology component.
- Chai W, Cooney RV, Franke AA, Caberto CP, Wilkens LR, Le Marchand L, Goodman MT, Henerson BE, Kolonel LN. Plasma coenzyme Q10 levels and prostate cancer risk: the Multitethnic Cohort Study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2011;20(4):708-10.
- Park SY, Wilkens LR, Franke AA, Le Marchand L, Kakazu KK, Goodman MT, Murphy SP, Henderson BE, Kolonel LN. Urinary phytoestrogen excretion and prostate cancer risk: a nested case-control study in the Multiethnic Cohort. Br J Cancer. 2009;101(1):185-91. PMCID: 2713708.
- Kolonel LN, Altshuler D, Henderson BE. The Multiethnic Cohort Study: Exploring Genes, Lifestyle and Cancer Risk. Nature Reviews Cancer 2004;4(7):519-27.
- Kolonel LN, Henderson BE, Hankin JH, Nomura AM, Wilkens LR, Pike MC, Stram DO, Monroe KR, Earle ME, Nagaimne FS. A multiethnic cohort in Hawaii and Los Angeles: baseline characteristics. Am J Epidemiol 2000;151:346-357.
Publication list via PubMed
- L. Kolonel, Principal Investigator
R37 CA 54281
"Multiethnic Cohort Study of Diet and Cancer"
March 1, 2008-February 28, 2013
- L. Kolonel, Principal Investigator
P01 CA 33619
"Molecular Epidemiology of Nutrition and Cancer in the Multiethnic Cohort Study"
September 30, 2009-August 31, 2011