Helena Furberg, PhD, MSPH

Associate Attending Epidemiologist
Helena Furberg, Associate Attending Epidemiologist

Office Phone



University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Current Research Interests

Dr. Helena Furberg is a molecular cancer epidemiologist dedicated to identifying modifiable exposures that are associated with urologic cancer risk and prognosis. She has established large-scale cohort studies that investigate how biochemically-verified nicotine exposure impacts recurrence risk among non-muscle invasive bladder cancer patients (funded through the American Cancer Society), and how body composition features influence clinical outcomes among clear cell renal cell cancer patients (funded by the National Cancer Institute). She actively engages in collaborations with physician-scientists to investigate the molecular underpinnings of the obesity paradox in kidney cancer, as well as identifying transcriptomic subtypes of bladder cancer. Dr. Furberg received her master’s and PhD in Epidemiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and completed post-doctoral fellowships in Genetics and in Molecular Epidemiology at UNC and Mt. Sinai Cancer Center, respectively.


Selected peer-reviewed publications:

  1. Hakimi AA, Furberg H, Zabor EC, Jacobsen A, Schultz N, Ciriello G, Mikklineni N, Fiegoli B, Kim PH, Voss MH, Shen H, Laird PW, Sander C, Reuter VE, Motzer RJ, Hsieh JJ, Russo P. An epidemiologic and genomic investigation into the obesity paradox in renal cell carcinoma. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2013 Dec 18;105(24):1862-70. PMID: 24285872. PMCID: PMC3866155.
  2. Albiges L, Hakimi AA, Xie W, McKay RR, Simantov R, Lin X, Lee JL, Rini BI, Srinivas S, Bjarnason GA, Ernst S, Wood LA, Vaishamayan UN, Rha SY, Agarwal N,Yuasa T, Pal SK, Bamias A, Zabor EC, Skanderup AJ, Furberg H, Fay AP, de Velasco G, Preston MA, Wilson KM, Cho E, McDermott DF, Signoretti S, Heng DY, Choueiri TK. Body Mass Index and Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma: Clinical and Biological Correlations. J Clin Oncol. 2016 Sep 6. pii: JCO667311. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 27601543
  3. Robinson WR, Furberg H, Banack HR. Selection bias: A missing factor in the obesity paradox debate. Obesity. 2014 Mar; 22(3):625. PMID: 24738156.
  4. Furberg H, Kim Y, Dackor J, Boerwinkle E, Franceschini N, Ardissino D, Bernardinelli L, Mannucci PL, Mauri F, Merlini PA, Absher D, Assimes TL, Fortmann SP, Iribarren C, Knowles JW, Quertermous T, Ferrucci L, Tanaka T, Bis JC, Furberg CD, Haritunians T, McKnight B, Psaty BM, Taylor KD, Thacker EL, Almgren P, Groop L, Ladenvall C, Boehnke M, Jackson AU, Mohlke KL, Stringham HM, Tuomilehto J, Benjamin EJ, Hwang SJ, Levy D, Preis SR, Vasan RS, Duan J, Gejman PV, Levinson DF, Sanders AR, Shi J, Lips EH, McKay JD, Agudo A, Barzan L, Bencko V, Benhamou S, Castellsague X, Canova C, Conway DI, Fabianova E, Foretova L, Janout V, Healy CM, Holcátová I, Kjaerheim K, Lagiou P, Lissowska J, Lowry R, Macfarlane TV, Mates D, Richiardi L, Rudnai P, Szeszenia-Dabrowska N, Zaridze D, Znaor A, Lathrop M, Brennan P, Bandinelli S, Frayling TM, Guralnik JM, Milaneschi Y, Perry JR, Altshuler D, Elosua R, Kathiresan S, Lucas G, Melander O, O’Donnell CJ, Salomaa V, Schwartz SM, Voight BF, Penninx BW, Smit JH, Vogelzangs N, Boomsma DI, de Geus EJ, Vink JM, Willemsen G, Chanock SJ, Gu F, Hankinson SE, Hunter DJ, Hofman A, Tiemeier H, Uitterlinden AG, van Duijn CM, Walter S, Chasman DI, Everett BM, Paré G, Ridker PM, Li MD, Maes HH, Audrain-McGovern J, Posthuma D, Thornton LM, Lerman C, Kaprio J, Rose JE, Ioannidis JP, Kraft P, Lin DY, Sullivan PF. Genome-wide meta-analyses identify multiple loci associated with smoking behavior. Nature Genetics 2010 May; 43 (5): 441-7. PubMed PMID: 20418890; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2914600.
  5. David SP, Hamidovic A, Chen GK, Bergen AW, Wessel J, Kasberger JL, Brown WM, Petruzella S, Thacker EL, Kim Y, Nalls MA, Tranah GJ, Sung YJ, Ambrosone CB, Arnett D, Bandera EV, Becker DM, Becker L, Berndt SI, Bernstein L, Blot WJ, Broeckel U, Buxbaum SG, Caporaso N, Casey G, Chanock SJ, Deming SL, Diver WR, Eaton CB, Evans DS, Evans MK, Fornage M, Franceschini N, Harris TB, Henderson BE, Hernandez DG, Hitsman B, Hu JJ, Hunt SC, Ingles SA, John EM, Kittles R, Kolb S, Kolonel LN, Le Marchand L, Liu Y, Lohman KK, McKnight B, Millikan RC, Murphy A, Neslund-Dudas C, Nyante S, Press M, Psaty BM, Rao DC, Redline S, Rodriguez-Gil JL, Rybicki BA, Signorello LB, Singleton AB, Smoller J, Snively B, Spring B, Stanford JL, Strom SS, Swan GE, Taylor KD, Thun MJ, Wilson AF, Witte JS, Yamamura Y, Yanek LR, Yu K, Zheng W, Ziegler RG, Zonderman AB, Jorgenson E, Haiman CA, Furberg H. Genome-wide meta-analyses of smoking behaviors in African Americans. Transl Psychiatry. 2012 May 22;2:e119. PubMed PMID: 22832964; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3365260.

View a full listing of Helena Furberg’s journal articles.


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Helena Furberg discloses the following relationships and financial interests:

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