Dr. Urban heads the Translational and Outcomes Research (TOR) group at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. TOR spans the process of discovery, development, and evaluation of targets and interventions to improve outcomes for individuals at risk for cancer. The translational component involves working closely with clinical as well as laboratory researchers, and with patients as well as with healthy individuals. It involves comparative genomics and proteomics and the development of statistical methods to analyze gene expression and biomarker data. Our emphasis is on early detection and immunotherapy for prevention of cancer and/or recurrence of cancer, particularly ovarian and breast cancer. The outcomes component emphasizes modeling and cost-effectiveness analysis, including mathematical modeling of disease progression, modeling of the behavior of biomarkers in the absence and presence of cancer, and measurement and analysis of costs and quality-of-life. The work of TOR investigators includes interventions for current patients, both preventing recurrence (for example, vaccines to prevent recurrence of ovarian cancer) and improving quality of life in cancer survivors. It includes intervention trials, both randomized and Phase I.
Dr. Urban is also the Co-Program Head of the Women's Cancer Research Program (WCRP) at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The WCRP focuses on improving clinical outcomes in patients with reproductive malignancies at every stage of disease. The themes of the program are (1) developing novel treatments based on identification of genetic alterations involved in the malignant transformation, (2) prevention of relapse and eventually primary disease using immunotherapeutic strategies, and (3) early detection of disease.
In September 1999, Dr. Urban and colleagues at several West Coast collaborating research institutions were awarded an NCI Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant in ovarian cancer, which was renewed in July, 2004. The "Pacific Ovarian Cancer Research Consortium/SPORE in Ovarian Cancer" is a community-based, multidisciplinary, translational research program that involves clinicians, laboratory scientists and public health scientists. Its broad based approach takes full advantage of the scientific expertise available locally and allows the pooling of clinical resources, thus facilitating population-based studies despite the low incidence of ovarian cancer. POCRC research projects include: discovering genes that influence the responsiveness of ovarian cancer to chemotherapy treatments, creating an ovarian cancer vaccine that would attack ovarian cancer cells as soon as they develop, developing a statistical model that can estimate a woman's risk for developing ovarian cancer, and refining and improving the use of blood tests used to detect ovarian cancer. The POCRC also includes a Developmental Research Program and a Career Development Program. The group has established a well-characterized ovarian specimen repository housing over 200,000 individually identified specimens, and shared their findings with the broader research community through numerous presentations and publications.
In 2002, Dr. Urban was awarded by the DOD a "Center for the Evaluation of Biomarkers for the Early Detection of Breast Cancer." Investigators from 10 institutions are working together to evaluate breast cancer biomarkers for their contribution to the early detection of breast cancer. The study's goal is to define a biomarker panel that can be used in conjunction with current screening methods to improve early detection of all breast cancers, particularly aggressive cancers and those missed by mammography. Blood and tissue specimens for biomarker analysis are collected from women having annual mammograms and breast-related biopsies or surgery. This study utilizes the ongoing Mammography Tumor Registry for Breast Cancer Research to follow participants throughout the study and monitor their mammography data and breast cancer outcomes.
Her R01 awarded in 2002, "Modeling Ovarian Cancer Screening for CEA," allowed her to improve the accuracy of a previously developed microsimulation model of ovarian cancer screening by accounting for heterogeneity in the disease and in the population screened, in order to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of using a marker panel longitudinally to detect developing disease. The model now accommodates use of (1) a panel of serum markers for screening and (2) risk-based screening, incorporates QOL effects of both screening and disease, and incorporates updated screening and treatment costs. These efforts enable us to identify the potentially most efficient strategies for ovarian cancer screening and to report their cost-effectiveness.
American Public Health Association
American Society of Preventive Oncology
Association for Health Services Research
Society for Clinical Trials
Southwest Oncology Group
2001-2008, Program Head, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Gynecological Cancer Research Program
1998-2005, Member, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Public Health Sciences Division, Cancer Prevention Research Program
1996-2005, Scientific Director, Marsha Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer Research
Leveraging biospecimen resources for discovery or validation of markers for early cancer detection.. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 107(4). 2015.
Preclinical safety and efficacy studies with an affinity-enhanced epithelial junction opener and PEGylated liposomal doxorubicin.. Molecular therapy. Methods & clinical development. 2:15005.. 2015.
Validation of LRG1 as a potential biomarker for detection of epithelial ovarian cancer by a blinded study.. PloS one. 10(3):e0121112.. 2015.
Use of CA125 and HE4 serum markers to predict ovarian cancer in elevated-risk women.. Cancer epidemiology, biomarkers & prevention : a publication of the American Association for Cancer Research, cosponsored by the American Society of Preventive Oncology.. 2014.
Cancer risk awareness and concern among women with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer.. Behavioral medicine (Washington, D.C.).. 2014.
Longitudinal Screening Algorithm That Incorporates Change Over Time in CA125 Levels Identifies Ovarian Cancer Earlier Than a Single-Threshold Rule.. Journal of clinical oncology : official journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. 31(3):387-92.. 2013.
Genomic and functional characterizations of phosphodiesterase subtype 4D in human cancers.. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 110(15):6109-14.. 2013.
Interpretation of Single and Serial Measures of HE4 and CA125 in Asymptomatic Women at High Risk for Ovarian Cancer.. Cancer epidemiology, biomarkers & prevention : a publication of the American Association for Cancer Research, cosponsored by the American Society of Preventive Oncology. 21(11):2087-94.. 2012.
Impact of screening test performance and cost on mortality reduction and cost-effectiveness of multimodal ovarian cancer screening.. Cancer prevention research (Philadelphia, Pa.).. 2012.
An integrative genomic approach identifies p73 and p63 as activators of miR-200 microRNA family transcription.. Nucleic acids research. 40(2):499-510.. 2012.
Evaluation of ovarian cancer remission markers HE4, MMP7 and Mesothelin by comparison to the established marker CA125.. Gynecologic oncology. 125(1):65-69.. 2012.
Correlation of serum HE4 with tumor size and myometrial invasion in endometrial cancer.. Gynecologic oncology. 124(20):270-275.. 2011.
Potential Role of HE4 in Multimodal Screening for Epithelial Ovarian Cancer.. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 103(21):1630-4.. 2011.
Early diagnosis of ovarian carcinoma: is a solution in sight? Radiology. 259(2):329-45.. 2011.
A framework for evaluating biomarkers for early detection: validation of biomarker panels for ovarian cancer.. Cancer prevention research (Philadelphia, Pa.). 4(3):375-83.. 2011.
Ovarian cancer biomarker performance in prostate, lung, colorectal, and ovarian cancer screening trial specimens.. Cancer prevention research (Philadelphia, Pa.). 4(3):365-74.. 2011.
Cost-effectiveness analysis of a low-fat diet in the prevention of breast and ovarian cancer.. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 111(1):56-66.. 2011.
Desmoglein 2 is a receptor for adenovirus serotypes 3, 7, 11 and 14.. Nature medicine. 17(1):96-104.. 2011.
Designing early detection programs for ovarian cancer.. Annals of oncology : official journal of the European Society for Medical Oncology / ESMO. 22 Suppl 8:viii6-viii18.. 2011.
Quantitative comparison of erythropoietin receptor levels in the epithelial versus endothelial fractions of primary breast tumors.. Anticancer research. 31(4):1189-95.. 2011.
Breast cancer genomics: normal tissue and cancer markers.. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 1210:78-85.. 2010.
Use of a Symptom Index, CA125, and HE4 to predict ovarian cancer.. Gynecologic oncology. 116(3):378-83.. 2010.