Esther K. Wei, Sc.D., Scientist

California Pacific CURRENTS: The online journal of CPMC Research Institute

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
  • Multivariate relative risk of colon cancer

    Multivariate relative risk of colon cancer by tertiles of IGFBP-1 and tertiles of the IGF-I/IGFBP-3 ratio in the Nurses’ Health Study, 1989-2000.

    Source: A Prospective Study of C-Peptide, Insulin-like Growth Factor-I, Insulin-like Growth Factor Binding Protein-1, and the Risk of Colorectal Cancer in Women. Wei EK, Ma J, Pollak MN, et al. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2005;14(4). April 2005. (Figure 1.)

  • Age-specific incidence of colon cancer

    Age-specific incidence of colon cancer per 100,000 person years from age 30 years to age 70 years, according to screening behavior, for 1) a high-risk’’ participant (one who accrued 10 pack-years of smoking before age 30 years, had a consistently high relative body weight, had physical activity of 2 metabolic equivalent (MET)-hours/ week, consumed 1 serving of red or processed meat per day, was never screened for colon cancer, and had a folate intake of 150 lg/ day); 2) a high-risk participant who was screened from age 50 years to age 70 years; 3) a ‘‘moderate-risk’’ participant (one who was a nonsmoker, had an average body mass index, had physical activity of

    13.5 MET-hours/week, did not consume red or processed meat, was never screened, and had a folate intake of 300 lg/day); and 4) a ‘‘low-risk’’ participant (one who was a nonsmoker, had a consistently low relative body weight, had physical activity of 21 MET-hours/week, did not consume red or processed meat, was never screened, and had a folate intake of 400 lg/day), Nurses’ Health Study, 1980–2004. All women were assumed to have no postmenopausal hormone use, no family history of colon or rectal cancer, average height, and no aspirin use.

    Source: Cumulative Risk of Colon Cancer up to Age 70 Years by Risk Factor Status Using Data From the Nurses’ Health Study. Esther K. Wei, Graham A. Colditz, Edward L. Giovannucci, Charles S. Fuchs, and Bernard A. Rosner. American Journal of Epidemiology Advance Access published September 1, 2009. (Figure 4)

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Research Overview

  • 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.

Training

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.


 

Publication Search

Publications

Devore EE, Massa J, Papantoniou K, Schernhammer ES, Wu K, Zhang X, Willett WC, Fuchs CS, Chan AT, Ogino S, Giovannucci E, Wei EK, Rotating night shift work, sleep, and colorectal adenoma in women. Int J Colorectal Dis

Wei EK, Colditz GA, Giovannucci EL, Wu K, Glynn RJ, Fuchs CS, Stampfer M, Willett W, Ogino S, Rosner B, A Comprehensive Model of Colorectal Cancer by Risk Factor Status and Subsite Using Data From the Nurses' Health Study. Am J Epidemiol

Izano M, Wei EK, Tai C, Swede H, Gregorich S, Harris TB, Klepin H, Satterfield S, Murphy R, Newman AB, Rubin SM, Braithwaite D, Health ABC study., Chronic inflammation and risk of colorectal and other obesity-related cancers: The health, aging and body composition study. Int J Cancer

Zhang X, Wu K, Giovannucci EL, Ma J, Colditz GA, Fuchs CS, Willett WC, Stampfer MJ, Nimptsch K, Ogino S, Wei EK, Early life body fatness and risk of colorectal cancer in u.s. Women and men-results from two large cohort studies. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev

Massa J, Stone KL, Wei EK, Harrison SL, Barrett-Connor E, Lane NE, Paudel M, Redline S, Ancoli-Israel S, Orwoll E, Schernhammer E, Vitamin D and actigraphic sleep outcomes in older community-dwelling men: the MrOS sleep study. Sleep

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Esther K. Wei, Sc.D., Scientist
Primary Research Interests
  • Developing statistical models for predicting risk of colorectal cancer
  • Determining the impact of lifestyle and dietary risk factors on colorectal cancer initiation and progression

Research News and Highlights

Learn about new research published by Dr. Wei in the American Journal of Epidemiology (Jan. 2017), A Comprehensive Model of Colorectal Cancer by Risk Factor Status and Subsite Using Data From the Nurses Health Study.

Using data from the Nurses' Health Study, Dr. Wei and colleagues expanded and updated a colon cancer risk model to evaluate colorectal cancer (CRC) and whether subsite-specific risk models are warranted. Compared with their previous model, the investigators observed a higher correlation between consumption of red and processed meat and increased CRC risk; a significant association between body mass index (BMI) and colon cancer risk; a significant inverse association between folate intake and colon cancer risk; and a statistically significant inverse association for calcium intake. "Although screening is known to reduce CRC incidence and mortality, we observed a substantial role of lifestyle changes in the cumulative incidence of CRC. Promoting healthy lifestyles should remain a priority for CRC prevention," says Dr. Wei.

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