Research Summary

As Director of the Global Cancer Program at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, I oversee UCSF’s portfolio of research and capacity-building projects in low and middle-income countries as well as educational programs for training in global oncology. My research interest focuses on the epidemiology of gastrointestinal cancers both in the United States and globally, with the aim to improve clinical outcomes and reduce disparities. In collaboration with Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences and Ocean Road Cancer Institute in Tanzania, I am the Principal Investigator of studies to evaluate the etiology of the disproportionately high burden of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma in East Africa. I am the Principal Investigator of a D43 award that is building the first-ever cancer research training program in Tanzania. I am also actively engaged in research on the increasing burden of early-onset colorectal cancer in the United States and the disproportionate impact of this disease on black and Latinx communities. I have partnered with the Instituto Nacional de Cancerología (National Cancer Institute) and Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública (National Institute of Public Health) in Mexico to develop a collaborative research program to evaluate the changing epidemiology of colorectal cancer in Mexicans and Mexican-Americans. In all collaborations, I aim to support the career development of early career investigators with interests in global cancer control.

Research Funding

  • August 15, 2020 - May 31, 2025 - Building a Cancer Research Training Program in Tanzania , Principal Investigator . Sponsor: NIH, Sponsor Award ID: D43TW011598


Duke University    B.S.    05/00    Biology
Yale University    M.P.H.    05/02    Health Policy
Medical College of Georgia    M.D.    05/06    Medicine
Beth Israel Deaconess, Harvard Medical School    Intern    06/07    Internal Medicine
Beth Israel Deaconess, Harvard Medical School    Resident    06/09    Internal Medicine
University of California, San Francisco    Fellow    06/12    Oncology

Honors & Awards

  • 2023
    #SheforShe Award Nomination
  • 2022
    Faculty Learning and Development Award, Women In Medicine Summit
  • 2021
    U.S. Cohort Member, UCSF Chancellor's Fund
  • 2018
    Hematology/Oncology Marc A. Shuman Mentoring Award, UCSF
  • 2017-2018
    Short-Term Mentor Award, Pathways to Discovery, UCSF School of Medicine
  • 2016
    The Ernest H. Rosenbaum, MD Commitment to Patient Care Award, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • 2013
    NANETS Clinical Investigator Scholarship
  • 2013
    AHRQ K12 PARTNERS Program Scholar
  • 2012
    Young Investigator Award, ASCO Conquer Cancer Foundation
  • 2008
    Yale/Johnson & Johnson Physician Scholar in International Health, South Africa
  • 2008
    Nomination by Harvard Medical School Class of 2008 for Excellence in Teaching
  • 2002
    Dean’s Prize for Outstanding MPH Thesis, Yale University
  • 2001
    Weinerman Fellowship for Social Justice, Yale University
  • 2000
    Graduation with Distinction in Biology, Duke University
  • 2000
    Howard Hughes Undergraduate Fellowship in Neuroscience, Duke University

Selected Publications

  1. Silverstein J, Van Loon K. Risk of Death Due to Pregnancy-Associated Cancers-More Questions Than Answers. JAMA Oncol. 2023 Sep 21.  View on PubMed
  2. Muya S, Ndumbalo J, Kutika Nyagabona S, Yusuf S, Rhee DJ, Mushi BP, Li B, Zhang L, Grover S, Feng M, Hsu IC, Mmbaga E, Van Loon K, Court L, Xu M. Feasibility and Clinical Acceptability of Automation-Assisted 3D Conformal Radiotherapy Planning for Patients With Cervical Cancer in a Resource-Constrained Setting. JCO Glob Oncol. 2023 Sep; 9:e2300050.  View on PubMed
  3. Hun Kwak J, Mackin LA, Block A, Paul SM, Cooper BA, Abbott M, Chang SM, Hammer MJ, Kober KM, Levine JD, Pozzar R, Rhoads KF, Snowberg KE, Tsai KK, Van Blarigan EL, Van Loon K, Miaskowski C. Risk Factors for a Higher Symptom Burden in Patients With Cancer During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Oncol Nurs Forum. 2023 08 17; 50(5):647-664.  View on PubMed
  4. Ballesteros O, Mark S, Block A, Mackin L, Paul S, Cooper B, Abbott M, Chang S, Hammer MJ, Levine J, Pozzar R, Snowberg K, Tsai K, Van Blarigan E, Van Loon K, Miaskowski CA. COVID-19 pandemic stress and cancer symptom burden. BMJ Support Palliat Care. 2023 Aug 04.  View on PubMed
  5. Van Loon K, Mmbaga EJ, Mushi BP, Selekwa M, Mwanga A, Akoko LO, Mwaiselage J, Mosha I, Ng DL, Wu W, Silverstein J, Mulima G, Kaimila B, Gopal S, Snell JM, Benz SC, Vaske C, Sanborn Z, Sedgewick AJ, Radenbaugh A, Newton Y, Collisson EA. A Genomic Analysis of Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma in Eastern Africa. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2023 Jul 28.  View on PubMed
  6. Kyaw TS, Upadhyay V, Tolstykh I, Van Loon K, Laffan A, Stanfield D, Gempis D, Kenfield SA, Chan JM, Piawah S, Atreya CE, Ng K, Venook A, Kidder W, Turnbaugh PJ, Van Blarigan EL. Variety of Fruit and Vegetables and Alcohol Intake are Associated with Gut Microbial Species and Gene Abundance in Colorectal Cancer Survivors. Am J Clin Nutr. 2023 09; 118(3):518-529.  View on PubMed
  7. Keenan BP, Sibley A, Zhang L, Westring AF, Velazquez AI, Bank EM, Bergsland EK, Boreta L, Conroy P, Daras M, Hermiston M, Hsu G, Paris PL, Piawah S, Sinha S, Sosa JA, Tsang M, Venook AP, Wong M, Yom SS, Van Loon K. Evaluation of Culture Conducive to Academic Success by Gender at a Comprehensive Cancer Center. Oncologist. 2023 Jul 13.  View on PubMed
  8. Liu VN, Zuniga KB, Paciorek A, Zhang L, Chan JM, Carroll PR, Van Loon K, Laffan A, Venook A, Van Blarigan EL, Kenfield SA. Barriers and confidence among colorectal and prostate cancer survivors participating in two behavioral intervention studies. Support Care Cancer. 2023 Jul 10; 31(8):453.  View on PubMed
  9. Kimambo AH, Vuhahula EA, Philipo GS, Mushi BP, Mmbaga EJ, Van Loon K, Ng DL. Rapid Onsite Evaluation for Specimen Adequacy and Triage of Breast Masses in a Low-Resource Setting. Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2023 Jun 19.  View on PubMed
  10. Savoie MB, Paciorek A, Van Loon K, Anwar M, Atreya CE, Johnson PC, Kenfield SA, Laffan A, Levin AO, Smith JF, Stanfield D, Venook A, Zhang L, Van Blarigan EL, Rowen T. Sexual function remains persistently low in women after treatment for colorectal cancer and anal squamous cell carcinoma. J Sex Med. 2023 03 31; 20(4):439-446.  View on PubMed
  11. Wang L, Langlais C, Kenfield SA, Van Loon K, Laffan A, Atreya CE, Chan JM, Zhang L, Allen IE, Miaskowski C, Fukuoka Y, Meyerhardt JA, Venook AP, Van Blarigan EL. Quality of life among colorectal cancer survivors participating in a pilot randomized controlled trial of a web-based dietary intervention with text messages. Support Care Cancer. 2023 Feb 10; 31(3):155.  View on PubMed
  12. Harwin J, Jha P, Post A, Silverstein J, Van Loon K, Poder L. The radiologist's role in a multidisciplinary approach to cancer in pregnancy. Abdom Radiol (NY). 2023 05; 48(5):1605-1611.  View on PubMed
  13. Chan H, Savoie MB, Munir A, Moslehi J, Anwar M, Laffan A, Rowen T, Salmon R, Varma M, Van Loon K. Multi-Disciplinary Management in Rectal Cancer Survivorship: A Clinical Practice Review. J Gastrointest Cancer. 2023 Jan 09.  View on PubMed
  14. Okerosi S, Mokoh LW, Rubagumya F, Niyibizi BA, Nkya A, Van Loon K, Buckle G, Bent S, Ha P, Fagan JJ, Ng D, Aswani J, Xu MJ. Human Papillomavirus-Associated Head and Neck Malignancies in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Systematic Review. JCO Glob Oncol. 2023 01; 9:e2200259.  View on PubMed
  15. Fidelman N, Atreya CE, Griffith M, Milloy MA, Carnevale J, Cinar P, Venook AP, Van Loon K. Phase I prospective trial of TAS-102 (trifluridine and tipiracil) and radioembolization with 90Y resin microspheres for chemo-refractory colorectal liver metastases. BMC Cancer. 2022 Dec 13; 22(1):1307.  View on PubMed
  16. Ngaiza A, Vuhahula E, Yahaya J, Ndayisaba MC, Kawishe GJ, Grenert JP, Zhang L, Van Loon K, Ng DL. Evaluation of Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 Expression in Gastric and Gastroesophageal Cancers in Tanzania. Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2022 12 01; 146(12):1523-1529.  View on PubMed
  17. Greenberg AL, Tolstykh IV, Van Loon K, Laffan A, Stanfield D, Steiding P, Kenfield SA, Chan JM, Atreya CE, Piawah S, Kidder W, Venook AP, Van Blarigan EL, Varma MG. Association between adherence to the American Cancer Society Nutrition and Physical Activity Guidelines and stool frequency among colon cancer survivors: a cohort study. J Cancer Surviv. 2023 06; 17(3):836-847.  View on PubMed
  18. Sakafu LL, Philipo GS, Malichewe CV, Fundikira LS, Lwakatare FA, Van Loon K, Mushi BP, DeBoer RJ, Bialous SA, Lee AY. Delayed diagnostic evaluation of symptomatic breast cancer in sub-Saharan Africa: A qualitative study of Tanzanian women. PLoS One. 2022; 17(10):e0275639.  View on PubMed
  19. Silverstein J, Van Loon K. The Implications of the Supreme Court Decision to Overturn Roe v Wade for Women With Pregnancy-Associated Cancers. JAMA Oncol. 2022 10 01; 8(10):1394-1395.  View on PubMed
  20. Nomburg J, Bullman S, Nasrollahzadeh D, Collisson EA, Abedi-Ardekani B, Akoko LO, Atkins JR, Buckle GC, Gopal S, Hu N, Kaimila B, Khoshnia M, Malekzadeh R, Menya D, Mmbaga BT, Moody S, Mulima G, Mushi BP, Mwaiselage J, Mwanga A, Newton Y, Ng DL, Radenbaugh A, Rwakatema DS, Selekwa M, Schüz J, Taylor PR, Vaske C, Goldstein A, Stratton MR, McCormack V, Brennan P, DeCaprio JA, Meyerson M, Mmbaga EJ, Van Loon K. An international report on bacterial communities in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. Int J Cancer. 2022 Dec 01; 151(11):1947-1959.  View on PubMed

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