Photo of Kana Wu,  MD, PhD

Kana Wu, MD, PhD

Harvard T.H. Chan School Of Public Health

Harvard T.H. Chan School Of Public Health
Phone: (617) 432-1842

Kana Wu, MD, PhD

Harvard T.H. Chan School Of Public Health


  • Principal Research Scientist, Department of Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School Of Public Health


Research Abstract

As a trained physician and epidemiologist with concentration in chronic disease epidemiology, one major research interest is to study the relationship between dietary and lifestyle factors and risk of cancers, particularly prostate cancer, breast cancer, colorectal cancer and colorectal adenoma (polyp). In the Health Professionals’ Follow-up Study and the Nurses’ Health Study I and II cohorts, I have studied the relationship between numerous dietary factors such as calcium, nutrients related to one carbon metabolism (e.g., the B-vitamins folate, B6 and B12), nutrients with antioxidant activity (e.g. vitamins E, C, carotenoids) and other nutrients with anti-carcinogenic activity primarily found in fruits and vegetables (e.g. flavonoids) and risk of cancers and adenomas.

A major focus of my current research is to examine the relation between exposures during early stages of a life cycle, including childhood and adolescence and risk of colorectal adenoma and cancers later in life.

As a member of the molecular pathology epidemiology research group led by Dr. Shuji Ogino at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, I am also conducting studies that investigate whether associations between risk factors for colorectal neoplasia differ by molecular subtypes.


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  • Keum N, Yuan C, Nishihara R, Zoltick E, Hamada T, Martinez Fernandez A, Zhang X, Hanyuda A, Liu L, Kosumi K, Nowak JA, Jhun I, Soong TR, Morikawa T, Tabung FK, Qian ZR, Fuchs CS, Meyerhardt JA, Chan AT, Ng K, Ogino S, Giovannucci EL, Wu K. Dietary glycemic and insulin scores and colorectal cancer survival by tumor molecular biomarkers. Int. J. Cancer 2017. PubMed
  • Le NT, Michels FA, Song M, Zhang X, Bernstein AM, Giovannucci EL, Fuchs CS, Ogino S, Chan AT, Sinha R, Willett WC, Wu K. A Prospective Analysis of Meat Mutagens and Colorectal Cancer in the Nurses' Health Study and Health Professional Follow-up Study. Environ Health Perspect 2016. PubMed
  • Nimptsch K, Zhang X, Cassidy A, Song M, O'Reilly ÉJ, Lin JH, Pischon T, Rimm EB, Willett WC, Fuchs CS, Ogino S, Chan AT, Giovannucci EL, Wu K. Habitual intake of flavonoid subclasses and risk of colorectal cancer in 2 large prospective cohorts. Am J Clin Nutr 2015. PubMed
  • Bernstein AM, Song M, Zhang X, Pan A, Wang M, Fuchs CS, Le N, Chan AT, Willett WC, Ogino S, Giovannucci EL, Wu K. Processed and Unprocessed Red Meat and Risk of Colorectal Cancer: Analysis by Tumor Location and Modification by Time. PLoS ONE 2015; 10:e0135959. PubMed
  • Nimptsch K, Malik VS, Fung TT, Pischon T, Hu FB, Willett WC, Fuchs CS, Ogino S, Chan AT, Giovannucci E, Wu K. Dietary patterns during high school and risk of colorectal adenoma in a cohort of middle-aged women. Int J Cancer 2014; 134:2458-67. PubMed
  • Nishihara R, Wu K, Lochhead P, Morikawa T, Liao X, Qian ZR, Inamura K, Kim SA, Kuchiba A, Yamauchi M, Imamura Y, Willett WC, Rosner BA, Fuchs CS, Giovannucci E, Ogino S, Chan AT. Long-term colorectal-cancer incidence and mortality after lower endoscopy. N Engl J Med 2013; 369:1095-105. PubMed
  • Nimptsch K, Bernstein AM, Giovannucci E, Fuchs CS, Willett WC, Wu K. Dietary intakes of red meat, poultry, and fish during high school and risk of colorectal adenomas in women. Am J Epidemiol 2013; 178:172-83. PubMed