Ross L. Prentice

Appointments and Affiliations

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Public Health Sciences
Full Member
University of Washington
School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Professional Headshot of Ross L. Prentice

Mailing Address

1100 Fairview Avenue N
P.O. Box 19024
Seattle, Washington 98109-1024
United States


Phone: (206) 667-6756
Fax: (206) 667-4142


Ph.D., University of Toronto, Statistics, 1970.
M.Sc., University of Toronto, Statistics, 1968.
B.Sc., University of Waterloo, Mathematics, 1967.

Research Interests

My statistical methods research, in conjunction with colleagues and students aims to improve the design and analysis of disease prevention trials, and observational studies. Recent efforts have brought attention to the profound role that measurement error in assessing individual dietary intakes may play in reducing the reliability of observational studies of food and nutrient consumption and the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. As a result an innovative research agenda has been advocated thatincludes a major emphasis on international comparisons of dietary habits and cancer incidence rates, the addition of objective biomarkers of nutrient intake to the conduct of cohort and case-control studies, and a major emphasis on dietary intervention development for subsequent testing in controlled intervention trials. Another emphasis has been the development of flexible methods for the analysis of multivariate failure time data. These methods are motivated by the challenges of assessing benefits versus risks in the context of disease prevention trials having multiple clinical outcomes that may be affected by a preventive intervention, and by emerging issues in the identification of cancer related genes and gene-environment interactions.

My applied research, in conjunction with a large group of colleagues and staff members, include coordination of the national Women's Health Initiative. This massive 15 year program randomized over 68,135 postmenopausal women into a clinical trial to evaluate therole of a low-fat eating pattern for the prevention of breast cancer, colorectal cancer and coronary heart disease; to evaluate the role of hormone replacement therapy for the prevention of coronary heart disease and fractures, with breast cancer as a potential adverse outcome; and to evaluate the role of calcium and vitamin D supplementation for the prevention of fractures and colorectal cancer. An additional 93,720 women have been enrolled in an observational study to identify risk factors for this same range of diseases. We operate the clinical coordinating center for this NIH-sponsored program, with clinical, nutritional, epidemiologic, statistical and data management coordination responsibilities. We expect to report the principal findings from the Women's Health Initiative Clinical Trial in 2005-2007.


American Association of Preventive Oncology
American Statistical Association
Institute of Medicine
International Biometric Society

Honors and Awards

2010, Visiting Scholor, National Cancer Intitute DCEG
2008, Member, Washington State Academy of Sciences, Washington State
2008, COPSS R.A. Fisher Lectureship (ASA, Biometric Society IMS and SSC), National Cancer Institute
2005, Award for Research Excellence in Epidemiology and Prevention, American Cancer Society
2005, Marvin Zelen Leadership Award for Outstanding Achievement in Statistical Science, Harvard University
2003, Mantel Award for Lifetime Contributions to Statistics in Epidemiology, American Statitical Association
2002, Alumni Achievement Medal, Faculty of Mathematics, University of Waterloo
1990, Elected Member, Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences
1986, COPSS President's Award, ASA, Biometric Society, IMS and SSC
1982, Fellow, American Statistical Association
1980, Mortimer Spiegelman Award, APHA
1978, Purdue Frederick Award, ACOG

Previous Positions

1980-1981, Biostatistician, Radiation Effects Research Foundation
1974-1977, Associate Professor, University of Washington, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Biostatistics
1971-1972, Visiting Assistant Professor, State University of New York at Buffalo, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Statistics
1970-1974, Assistant Professor, University of Waterloo, Statistics


Recent Publications

Phipps AI, Chlebowski RT, Prentice RL, McTiernan A, Stefanick ML, Wactawski-Wende J, Kuller LH, Adams-Campbell LL, Lane D, Vitolins M et al..  2011.  Body size, physical activity, and risk of triple-negative and estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer.. Cancer epidemiology, biomarkers & prevention : a publication of the American Association for Cancer Research, cosponsored by the American Society of Preventive Oncology. 20(3):454-63. Abstract
Takata Y, Kristal AR, King IB, Song X, Diamond AM, Foster CB, Hutter CM, Hsu L, Duggan DJ, Langer RD et al..  2011.  Serum Selenium, Genetic Variation in Selenoenzymes, and Risk of Colorectal Cancer: Primary Analysis from the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study and Meta-analysis.. Cancer epidemiology, biomarkers & prevention : a publication of the American Association for Cancer Research, cosponsored by the American Society of Preventive Oncology. 20(9):1822-30. Abstract
Prentice RL.  2011.  Invited Commentary on Pearl and Principal Stratification. The International Journal of Biostatistics. 7(1)
Prentice RL, Huang Y, Hinds DA, Peters U, Cox DR, Beilharz E, Chlebowski RT, Rossouw JE, Caan B, Ballinger DG.  2010.  Variation in the FGFR2 gene and the effect of a low-fat dietary pattern on invasive breast cancer.. Cancer epidemiology, biomarkers & prevention : a publication of the American Association for Cancer Research, cosponsored by the American Society of Preventive Oncology. 19(1):74-9. Abstract

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