Herbert Yu MD, PhD

Professor (Adjunct) of Epidemiology (Chronic Diseases)

Research Interests

Gene-environment interaction in cancer development and progression; Energy balance and mitogenic growth factors in cancer; Lifestyle's impact on epigenetic regulation in relation to cancer risk and prognosis; Molecular markers for cancer detection, prognosis and treatment

Current Projects

  • Role of Genetic and Lifestyle Interplay in Uterus Cancer
  • Molecular Characterization of the Insulin-like Growth Factor System in Breast Cancer and Ovarian Cancer and its Association with Tumor Progression
  • Case-control Study of Pancreatic Cancer Etiologic Factors
  • DNA Methylation in Cancer Risk and Progression
  • Case-control study of Liver Cancer
  • GWAS on Endometrial Cancer

Research Summary

Professor Yu's research interest is in molecular epidemiology of chronic diseases with focus on cancer etiology and tumor progression in relation to genetic variations, epigenetic changes, and gene-environment interaction. His recent work includes studies of molecular mechanisms underlying the connection of breast and endometrial cancers to lifestyle and energy balance, as well as DNA methylation in tumor suppressor genes and DNA repair genes and its role in aging and cancer prognosis. The effect of mitogenic growth factors on cancer development and the interplay of these growth factors with environment and lifestyle factors are also part of the research focus in Professor Yu's laboratory. Professor Yu also conducts clinical epidemiological studies to assess molecular and genetic markers for cancer diagnosis and prognosis. Professor Yu's laboratory serves as Molecular Epidemiology Shared Resource for the Yale Cancer Center.

Selected Publications

  • Ratner E, Lu L, Boeke M, Barnett R, Nallur S, Chin LJ, Pelletier C, Blitzblau R, Tassi R, Paranjape T, Hui P, Godwin AK, Yu H, Risch H, Rutherford T, Schwartz P, Santin A, Matloff E, Zelterman D, Slack FJ, Weidhaas JB. A KRAS-Variant in Ovarian Cancer Acts as a Genetic Marker of Cancer Risk. Cancer Res. 2010; 70(16):6509-15.
  • Petersen GM, Amundadottir L, Fuchs CS, Kraft P, Stolzenberg-Solomon RZ, Jacobs KB, Yu H, et al. A genome-wide association study identifies pancreatic cancer susceptibility loci on chromosomes 13q22.1, 1q32.1 and 5p15.33. Nat Genet 2010 Jan; 42(3):224-30.
  • Fowke JH, Matthews CE, Yu H, Cai Q, Cohen S, Buchowski MS, Zheng W, Blot WJ. Racial Differences in the Association between Body Mass Index (BMI) and Serum IGF-1, IGF-2, and IGFBP-3. Endocr Relat Cancer 2010 Jan; 17(1):51-60.
  • Risch H, Yu H, Lu L, Kidd MS. ABO blood group and the association between Helicobacter pylori seropositivity and risk of pancreas cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst 2010; 102:502-505.
  • Gunter MJ, Hoover DR, Yu H, Wassertheil-Smoller S, Rohan TE, Manson JE, Li J, Ho GYF, Xue X, Anderson GL, Kaplan RC, Harris TG, Howard BV, Wylie-Rosett J, Burk RD, Strickler HD. Insulin, Insulin-like Growth Factor-I, and risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women. J Natl Cancer Inst 2009; 101:48-60
  • Lu L, Katsaros D, Shaverdashvili K, Qian B, Wu Y, Rigault de la Longrais IA, Preti M, Menato G, Yu H. Associations of Lin-28 Homologs with Let-7a Processing and Insulin-like Growth Factor-II Expression in Epithelial Ovarian Cancer. Eur J Cancer 2009 Aug; 45(12):2212-2218
  • Amundadottir L, Kraft P, Stolzenberg-Solomon RZ, Fuchs CS, Petersen GM, Arslan AA, …, Yu H. et al. Genome-wide association study identifies variants in the ABO locus associated with susceptibility to pancreatic cancer. Nat Genet. 2009 Sep; 41(9):986-90
  • Irwin ML, Varma K, Alvarez-Reeves M, Cadmus L, Wiley A, Chung GG, DiPietro L, Mayne ST, Yu H. Randomized controlled trial of aerobic exercise on insulin and insulin-like growth factors in breast cancer survivors: The Yale Exercise and Survivorship Study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2009; 18(1):306-313
  • Qian B, Katsaros D, Lu L, Preti M, Durando A, Arisio R, Mu L, Yu H. High miR-21 expression in breast cancer associated with poor disease-free survival in early stage disease and high TGF-ß1. Breast Cancer Res Treat 2009; 117:131-140
  • Gunter MJ, Hoover DR, Yu H, Wassertheil-Smoller S, Rohan TE, Manson JE, Howard BV, Wylie-Rosett J, Anderson GL, Ho GYF, Kaplan RC, Li J, Xue X, Harris TG, Burk RD, Strickler HD. Insulin, Insulin-like Growth Factor-I, Endogenous Estradiol and Risk of Colorectal Cancer in Postmenopausal Women. Cancer Res 2008; 68(1):329–37


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