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Peter T. Campbell, MSc, PhD

Strategic Director, Digestive System Cancer Research


Peter T. Campbell, MSc, PhD is a cancer epidemiologist and strategic director of digestive system cancer research at the American Cancer Society, where he conducts research largely focused on identifying risk and prognostic factors for cancers that occur in the digestive system, particularly the colon, rectum, liver, stomach and gallbladder.

Campbell’s research integrates various aspects of pathology, genetics and molecular biology into epidemiologic studies. He is particularly interested in understanding the role of obesity, physical inactivity, diabetes and other potentially modifiable factors for digestive system cancer etiology and survival. Many of these research efforts involve consortia of study data and biologic specimens from 10s of thousands to over a million study participants, utilize leading ‘omics’ and high-throughput technologies, and involve novel statistical techniques, such as those required for gene x environment interactions (e.g., Nan, JAMA, 2015; Figueiredo, PLOS Genetics, 2014) and Mendelian randomization (e.g., Thrift et al, CEBP, 2015; Thrift et al, IJE, 2015).

Molecular pathologic epidemiology is one of Campbell’s main research interests (e.g., Campbell et al, JNCI, 2010; Campbell et al, CEBP, 2015). To help advance these research efforts, Campbell initiated the collection of FFPE tissue samples from participants in CPS-II (Campbell et al, CEBP, 2014). This resource is currently one of the largest colorectal cancer tissue repositories in the world that was accrued from a prospective cohort. While physical inactivity, unhealthful diet and excess adiposity are convincing risk factors for cancer at several organ sites, it is less clear if these factors translate importantly to the context of cancer survival. This information is particularly needed to help inform lifestyle guidelines for cancer survivors. To this end, one of Campbell’s major areas of research is in cancer survival. Using the extensive epidemiologic, clinical and outcomes resources of the CPS-II Nutrition cohort, Campbell and colleagues conducted a series of analyses on lifestyle prognostic factors for colorectal cancer survival (e.g., Campbell et al, JCO, 2012; Dehal et al, JCO, 2012; Campbell et al, JCO, 2013; Yang et al, JCO, 2015).
Prior to joining ACS in 2008, Campbell was a postdoctoral fellow at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center where his main research projects focused on the effects of a yearlong exercise intervention trial on suspected systemic markers of cancer risk and molecular pathologic epidemiology of colorectal cancer.

Campbell has authored or co-authored more than 90 peer-reviewed publications as well as several invited editorials, book chapters, and review articles.

Education and post-graduate training:
• Postdoctoral Fellow, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 2006-2008
• PhD, Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Toronto, 2006
• MSc, Kinesiology, School of Health, York University, 2000