Sara Olson, PhD

Associate Attending Epidemiologist
Office Phone:
Columbia University

Current Research Interests

Dr. Olson's interests are in environmental and genetic risk factors for cancer, particularly endometrial and pancreatic cancers and glioma.  Dr. Olson is a founder and leader of the Epidemiology of Endometrial Cancer Consortium (E2C2). This NCI-supported consortium includes investigators from the US and other countries who are interested in combining resources in order to study this underfunded disease.  Dr. Olson’s completed population-based study of Estrogen, Diet, Genetics and Endometrial Cancer is a contributor to E2C2 analyses.  Among the ongoing analyses in E2C2, Dr. Olson and colleagues are pooling data from several studies to determine risk factors in African American women.  Incidence in this minority group is lower than for white women, but mortality is considerably worse.  A recent analysis of SEER-Medicare data addressed the question of whether diabetes and other comorbid conditions accounted in part for this disparity. The poorer survival in black women persisted after consideration of other medical conditions.  The pancreatic cancer epidemiology study is part of the Familial Pancreatic Cancer Registry study led by Robert Kurtz, MD, which includes surveillance of unaffected relatives of pancreatic cancer cases. Dr. Olson is pursuing her interests in the association of allergies with both risk and outcomes, including a pooled analysis of allergies and risk in several studies in the Pancreatic Cancer Case-Control Consortium (PanC4), a prospective study of IgE, a marker of allergies, and risk, and a pilot study of IgE and survival.  Other activities within PanC4 include pathway analyses of data from the recent genome wide association studies focused on genes involved in allergies.  Dr. Olson is also a member of the PanC4 Steering committee.  In glioma, MSKCC is a contributor to the GLIOGENE consortium, which studies the familial risk of glioma, and to the Glioma International Case-Control Study.

Publications by Sara Olson

Olson SH, Orlow I, Simon J, Tommasi D, Roy P, Bayuga S, Ludwig E. Zauber AG, Kurtz RC. Allergies, variants in IL-4 and IL-4Rá genes, and risk of pancreatic cancer. Cancer Detection Prev 2007; 31:345-51.

Olson SH, Orlow I, Bayuga S, Sima C, Bandera EV, Pulick K, Faulkner S, Tommasi D, Egan D, Roy P, Wilcox H, Asya A, Modica I, Asad H, Soslow R, Zauber AG. Variants in hormone biosynthesis genes and risk of endometrial cancer. Cancer Causes Control, 2008:19:955-63.

Setiawan VW, Doherty JA, Shu X, Akbari MR, Chen C, De Vivo I, DeMichele A, Garcia-Closas M, Goodman MT, Haiman CA, Hankinson SE, Henderson BE, Horn-Ross PL, Lacey JV, Jr., Le Marchand L, Levine DA, Liang X, Lissowska J, Lurie G, McGrath M, Narod SA, Rebbeck TR, Ursin G, Weiss NS, Xiang Y-B, Yang HP, Zheng W, Olson SH. Two estrogen-related variants in CYP19A1 and endometrial cancer risk: A pooled analysis in E2C2. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev, 2009;18:242-7.

Fortuny J, Sima C, Bayuga S, Wilcox H, Pulick KE, Faulkner S, Zauber AG, Olson SH. Risk of endometrial cancer in relation to medical conditions and medication use. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev, 2009;18:1448-56.

Olson SH, Chou J, Ludwig E, O'Reilly E, Allen PJ, Jarnagin WR, Bayuga S, Simon J, Gonen M, Reisacher WR, Kurtz RC. Allergies, obesity, other risk factors, and survival from pancreatic cancer. Intl J Cancer, in press