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Joanne F. Dorgan, PhD, MPH

Academic Title:


Primary Appointment:

Epidemiology & Public Health

Administrative Title:

Division Director Of Cancer Epidemiology

Additional Title:

Co-Leader, Population Science Program, University of Maryland Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center


HH 102E

Phone (Primary):

(410) 706-1602

Education and Training

  • Cornell University, BS, Biology, 1974
  • University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, MPH, Nutrition, 1976
  • Johns Hopkins University, PhD, Epidemiology, 1986
  • National Cancer Institute, Postdoctoral Fellow, Cancer Prevention, 1991


Dr. Dorgan is an epidemiologist with particular expertise in molecular and nutritional epidemiology. Her research focuses primarily on identifying hormonal determinants of cancer, particularly breast cancer, and hormonal mechanisms by which environmental and behavioral exposures, as well as genetics, affect cancer risk. While at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) she was the Principal Investigator of the Columbia, MO Serum Bank, which is a long-standing prospective cohort study of women. Dr. Dorgan continues to participate in research based on this cohort to identify hormonal and environmental influences on cancer risk. Some recent findings include a reduced risk of breast cancer among postmenopausal women who metabolize estrogens predominantly via the 2-hydroxyation pathway and an increased risk for those with elevated serum anti-Mullerian hormone levels. In ongoing research, she is collaborating on a prospective study to replicate her original findings on the association between AMH and risk of breast cancer and to determine whether addition of AMH, as well as testosterone, to the Gail model improves its prediction performance in younger women. In newer efforts focused on metabolomics, she is evaluating the association between metabolomic profiles and risk of ovarian and endometrial cancers.

Dr. Dorgan also conducts research on early life exposures and adult chronic disease risk. Early life exposures have long been hypothesized to influence breast cancer risk and her ongoing research in the Dietary Intervention Study in Children (DISC), in which childhood diet, adiposity and hormones were found to influence later breast density, supports this premise.

Dr. Dorgan is a Co-Leader of the Population Science Program, University of Maryland Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center and recently established the Maryland Cancer Survivorship Cohort (MCSC) to identify tumor, patient, treatment, and community level determinants of cancer risk and survivorship disparities. The MCSC provides the infrastructure to collect blood samples and demographic, lifestyle, and psychosocial data from UMGCCC and network hospital patients and a sample of non-cancer controls, and link these resources to pathology specimens and treatment data. Patients enrolled in the cohort are followed to ascertain clinical and quality of life outcomes. The MCSC will support investigator-initiated translational research that is responsive to NCI’s Precision Medicine Initiative as well as behavioral research aimed at improving cancer patients’ quality of life. 

Research/Clinical Keywords

Epidemiology, breast cancer, hormones, diet, lifecourse, etiology, survivorship

Highlighted Publications

Jung S, Goloubeva O, Klifa C, LeBlanc ES, Snetselaar LG, Van Horn L, Dorgan JF. Dietary fat intake during adolescence and breast density among young women. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2016; 25:918-26.
Bertrand KA, Baer HJ, Orav EJ, Klifa C, Kumar A, Hylton NM, LeBlanc ES, Snetselaar LG, Van Horn L, Dorgan JF. Early life body fatness, serum antimullerian hormone and breast density in young adult women: a prospective analysis. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2016; 25:1151-7.

Sampson JN, Falk RT, Schairer C, Moore SC, Fuhrman BJ, Dallal CM, Bauer DC, Dorgan JF, Shu XO, Zheng W, Brinton LA, Gail MH, Ziegler RG, Xu X, Hoover R, Gierach GL. Association of estrogen metabolism with breast cancer risk in different cohorts of postmenopausal women. Cancer Res. 2017; 77:918-25.

Fortner R, Schock H, Jung S, Allen N, Arslan A, Brinton L, Egleston B, Falk R, Gunter M, Helzlsouer K, Idahl A, Johnson T, Kaaks R, Krogh V, Lundin E, Merritt M, Navarro C, Onland-Moret NC, Palli D, Shu XO, Sluss P, Staats P, Trichopulou A, Vainio EW, Zeleniuch-Jacquotte A, Zheng W, Dorgan J. Anti-Mullerian hormone and endometrial cancer: a multi-cohort study. Br J Cancer 2017; 117:1412-18.

Jung S, Allen N, Arslan AA, Baglietto L, Barricarte A, Brinton LA, Egleston BL, Falk R, Fortner RT, Helzlsouer KJ, Gao Y, Idahl A, Kaaks R, Krogh V, Merritt M, Lundin E, Onland-Moret C, Rinaldi S, Schock H, Shu XO, Sluss P, Staats P, Sacerdote C, Travis RC, Tionneland A, Trichopulou A, Tworoger S, Visvanathan K, Weiderpass E, Zeleniuch-Jacquotte A, Dorgan JF. Anti-Müllerian hormone and risk of ovarian cancer in nine cohorts. Int J Cancer 2017; doi: 10.1002/ijc.31058 (epub ahead of print).   

Awards and Affiliations

Co-Leader, Population Science Program, University of Maryland Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center