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

Education

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

  • 2018
    Hematology/Oncology Marc A. Shuman Mentoring Award, UCSF
  • 2017
    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. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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. 2022 Nov 05.  View on PubMed
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. Silverstein J, Van Loon K. Invited Commentary: Role of the Radiologist in Pregnancy-associated Cancer. Radiographics. 2022 Sep-Oct; 42(5):E158-E159.  View on PubMed
  9. African Esophageal Cancer Consortium. Expanding oesophageal cancer research and care in eastern Africa. Nat Rev Cancer. 2022 05; 22(5):253-254.  View on PubMed
  10. Lipsyc-Sharf M, Zhang S, Ou FS, Ma C, McCleary NJ, Niedzwiecki D, Chang IW, Lenz HJ, Blanke CD, Piawah S, Van Loon K, Bainter TM, Venook AP, Mayer RJ, Fuchs CS, Innocenti F, Nixon AB, Goldberg R, O'Reilly EM, Meyerhardt JA, Ng K. Survival in Young-Onset Metastatic Colorectal Cancer: Findings From Cancer and Leukemia Group B (Alliance)/SWOG 80405. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2022 03 08; 114(3):427-435.  View on PubMed
  11. Manzano-Robleda MDC, Espinosa-Tamez P, Potter MB, Hernández-Guerrero A, Van Loon K, Unger-Saldaña K. Capacidad de colonoscopías diagnósticas en la Ciudad de México. Salud Publica Mex. 2022; 1(64):106-108.  View on PubMed
  12. Van Loon K, Mohar A, Unger-Saldaña K, Potter MB, Sweet-Cordero EA, Breithaupt L, Espinosa-Tamez P, Sepúlveda-Amor J, Lajous M.. Developing a collaborative international partnership for cancer control in Mexico. Salud Publica Mex. 2022; 1(64):100-104.  View on PubMed
  13. Chan H, Van Loon K, Kenfield SA, Chan JM, Mitchell E, Zhang L, Paciorek A, Joseph G, Laffan A, Atreya C, Fukuoka Y, Miaskowski C, Meyerhardt JA, Venook AP, Van Blarigan EL. Quality of life of colorectal cancer survivors participating in a pilot randomized controlled trial of physical activity trackers and daily text messages. Support Care Cancer. 2022 May; 30(5):4557-4564.  View on PubMed
  14. Buckle GC, Mmbaga EJ, Paciorek A, Akoko L, Deardorff K, Mgisha W, Mushi BP, Mwaiselage J, Hiatt RA, Zhang L, Van Loon K. Risk Factors Associated With Early-Onset Esophageal Cancer in Tanzania. JCO Glob Oncol. 2022 02; 8:e2100256.  View on PubMed
  15. Buckle GC, Mrema A, Mwachiro M, Ringo Y, Selekwa M, Mulima G, Some FF, Mmbaga BT, Mody GN, Zhang L, Paciorek A, Akoko L, Ayuo P, Burgert S, Bukusi E, Charles A, Chepkemoi W, Chesumbai G, Kaimila B, Kenseko A, Kibwana KS, Koech D, Macharia C, Moirana EN, Mushi BP, Mremi A, Mwaiselage J, Mwanga A, Ndumbalo J, Nvakunga G, Ngoma M, Oduor M, Oloo M, Opakas J, Parker R, Seno S, Salima A, Servent F, Wandera A, Westmoreland KD, White RE, Williams B, Mmbaga EJ, Van Loon K, of the African Esophageal Cancer Consortium (AfrECC). Treatment outcomes of esophageal cancer in Eastern Africa: protocol of a multi-center, prospective, observational, open cohort study. BMC Cancer. 2022 Jan 19; 22(1):82.  View on PubMed
  16. Van Blarigan EL, Dhruva A, Atreya CE, Kenfield SA, Chan JM, Milloy A, Kim I, Steiding P, Laffan A, Zhang L, Piawah S, Fukuoka Y, Miaskowski C, Hecht FM, Kim MO, Venook AP, Van Loon K. Feasibility and Acceptability of a Physical Activity Tracker and Text Messages to Promote Physical Activity During Chemotherapy for Colorectal Cancer: Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial (Smart Pace II). JMIR Cancer. 2022 Jan 11; 8(1):e31576.  View on PubMed
  17. Burns S, Vella M, Paciorek A, Zhang L, Atreya CE, Feng M, Kelley RK, Tempero MA, Van Loon K, Ko AH. Characteristics and Growth Rate of Lung Metastases in Patients With Primary Gastrointestinal Malignancies and Lung-dominant Metastatic Disease: A Retrospective Cohort Analysis. Am J Clin Oncol. 2022 01 01; 45(1):22-27.  View on PubMed
  18. Dragomanovich HM, Dhruva A, Ekman E, Schoenbeck KL, Kubo A, Van Blarigan EL, Borno HT, Esquivel M, Chee B, Campanella M, Philip EJ, Rettger JP, Rosenthal B, Van Loon K, Venook AP, Boscardin C, Moran P, Hecht FM, Atreya CE. Being Present 2.0: Online Mindfulness-Based Program for Metastatic Gastrointestinal Cancer Patients and Caregivers. Glob Adv Health Med. 2021; 10:21649561211044693.  View on PubMed
  19. Espinosa-Tamez P, Suazo-Zepeda E, Sánchez-Blas H, Meneses-Medina M, Huitzil-Meléndez FD, Van Loon K, Potter M, Lajous M. National and state-level colorectal cancer mortality trends in Mexico, 1998-2018. Salud Publica Mex. 2021 Aug 02; 64(1):5-13.  View on PubMed
  20. Kimambo AH, Vuhahula EA, Mwakigonja AR, Ljung BM, Zhang L, Van Loon K, Ng DL. Evaluating Estrogen Receptor Immunohistochemistry on Cell Blocks From Breast Cancer Patients in a Low-Resource Setting. Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2021 07 01; 145(7):834-841.  View on PubMed

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