acs prevention studies

The American Cancer Society's Population Science department includes scientists who work with our large, on-going cancer prevention studies (CPS), such as CPS-II and CPS-3. Many of these studies are about healthy eating, active living, and obesity. Here's a sample from the last year.

Study Shows Caffeinated and Decaffeinated Coffee Have Different Risks for Colorectal Cancer

A CPS-II Nutrition Cohort Study

“In a previous ACS study that used data from the full 1.2 million men and women in the CPS-II cohort, we found that coffee drinkers who didn’t smoke had a lower risk of death from colorectal cancer, and their risk was slightly lower if they drank decaffeinated coffee.  

“To explore further, in this study we looked at coffee drinkers who developed colorectal cancer in the CPS-II Nutrition cohort. We found that only those who drank decaffeinated coffee had a lower risk of colorectal cancer, regardless of their smoking status. Next, we’ll examine stool samples from CPS-3 participants in the Gut Microbiome Sub-study to learn more about the relationship between caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee with the gut microbiome.”–Caroline Um, PhD, MPH, RD

See the highlight about Dr. Um's published study.


Parasite in Food and Water May Increase the Risk of Certain Brain Cancers

A CPS-II Nutrition Cohort Study

“Our findings suggest that infection with the parasite Toxoplasma gondii may play a role in development of glioma. If confirmed by future research, this would represent a breakthrough in finding a modifiable risk factor for this particularly insidious form of brain cancer.”—James Hodge, JD, MPH  

See the highlight about James Hodge's published study.


Being More Active and Sitting Less Can Improve Quality of Life for Older Adults, Including Cancer Survivors

A CPS-II Study

“Our study’s findings reinforce the importance of moving more and sitting less for both physical and mental health, no matter your age or history of cancer. No matter who you are, a simple walk or other physical activity that you enjoy may be good for your mind and body!” — Erika Rees-Punia, PhD, MPH 

See the highlight about Dr. Rees-Punia's published study.


21 New Metabolites May Be Linked with the Development of Breast Cancer After Menopause

A CPS-II Study

“We studied 1,275 metabolites and found 24 associated with a higher or lower risk for developing breast cancer after menopause. Our findings of an increased risk for 3 hormonal metabolites confirms findings from earlier studies. The other 21 were new, including a polyphenol metabolite that’s linked with eating fruit, and a decreased risk for developing breast cancer. Now, these new metabolites need to be confirmed by other studies, and all need more analysis so we can better understand their role in the development of breast cancer.”—Ying Wang, PhD

See the highlight about Dr. Ying Wang's published study.


Study: Replacing 30 Minutes of Sitting with Physical Activity or Sleeping May Affect Body Weight  

A CPS-3 Study 

“Many important factors are at play in determining our risk for gaining weight. This weight-management study provided evidence for the importance of a healthy balance of all daily behaviors — including physical activity, sedentary time, and sleep — rather than a simple focus on just physical activity.”  — Erika Rees-Punia, PhD, MPH 

See the highlight about Dr. Rees-Punia's published study.


CPS-3 Researchers Don’t Just Ask People What They Eat—They Check Urine Samples

A CPS-3 Diet Assessment Sub-Study

"Measuring a person's diet is super hard because we eat such a large variety of foods every day. In the past, when researchers for large human studies wanted to analyze the effect of diet on disease, they relied on participants to answer surveys about what they ate. Such self-reported dietary data, however, may be biased because our memory is inaccurate, and we have a tendency to report 'what I should eat' vs. 'what I actually ate.'

"Dietary biomarkers found in the blood and urine, though, are considered objective measures of diet. The problem is that reliable dietary biomarkers are sparse and most are nutrient-based, not food-based. Our study used metabolomics technology, which measures thousands of small molecules in blood and urine, to identify new food-based biomarkers for a large group of men and women."—Ying Wang, PhD

See the highlight about Dr. Ying Wang's published study.


Spotlight on Nutrition and Physical Activity Grantees

Following are some of the nutrition and physical activity investigators currently funded through research grants by the American Cancer Society. They're working to find the answers that will save more lives and better prevent, treat, and manage cancer.

Study with Lean and Obese Mice with Endometrial Cancer Paves the Way to Stage 2 Clinical Trials for a New Treatment  

"In the first obesity and endometrial cancer studies in our lab, we found that both obese mice and mice on a high-fat diet had larger and faster-growing endometrial cancers, compared to lean mice or mice on a low-fat diet. We also found that tumor cells had many more pathways to metabolize fat and glucose, showing that the tumors were using the higher level of fats in the mice’s diet to grow more aggressively. In this study, we tested a new treatment in obese mice that in the future might prove to be especially helpful for women with obesity and endometrial cancer."—Victoria Bae-Jump, MD

See the highlight about Dr. Bae-Jump's published study.


Scientists May Have Found a New Achilles' Heel for Hard-to-Starve Pancreatic Cancer Cells

"The results of our study are exciting because they reveal how cancer cells manage to aggressively grow within a seemingly hostile, nutrient-deprived environment that’s a puzzling characteristic of pancreatic tumors. We identified glutamine synthetase as a key player and a potentially targetable dependency in the nutrient-deprived—and likely most aggressive—cancer-cell clusters within the pancreatic tumor. It’s possible that this target is also relevant to cancers of other tissues. 

“It was most exciting to us to find out that the adaptation of pancreatic cancer cells to nutrient-deprivation is reversible, highlighting their nongenetic metabolic flexibility. We also revealed a weakness and potential target for a new drug that doctors may be able to use with patients in the future."—Nada Kalaany, PhD

See the highlight about Dr. Kalaany's published study.