Hawaiʻi Minority Health and Cancer Disparities SPORE


At the root of health disparities is the diversity that exists in the biological, behavioral, sociocultural, and environmental characteristics of individuals and populations. Hawai‘i offers exceptional opportunities for minority health research due to its uniquely diverse population with varying cancer burdens and its high-quality health care and cancer registration. This planning grant will establish a Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) to conduct translational research focusing on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (AANHPI), the fastest growing US minority, to address cancers of particular relevance to these populations.

Clinical Research Associate with a patient

Project 1 will address the excess lung cancer burden experienced by Native Hawaiians by developing a risk-based and culturally-informed lung cancer screening strategy, and investigate the mutation, methylation and transcriptomic profiles of lung tumors.

Project 2 will address the very high breast cancer burden of Native Hawaiians and the rising rates in Asian Americans by testing the adequacy of current radiomic risk prediction algorithms for predicting breast cancer in these populations and by investigating related molecular and histopathologic features of breast tumor environment which may be related to visceral adiposity and have prognostic significance.

The translational research conducted by the SPORE is supported by:

  1.  An Administrative Core with strategic planning, scientific and community advisory, and evaluation components;
  2.  An Outreach and Recruitment Core facilitating studies among minorities;
  3.  A Pathology & Biospecimen Core establishing a centralized biorepository of paired fresh-frozen tumor and blood samples, as well as archival tumor blocks;
  4.  A Biostatistics & Bioinformatics Core
  5.  A Developmental Research Program to fund innovative pilot studies;
  6.  A Career Enhancement Program to support promising investigators new to translational research.

This program will significantly advance UH Cancer Center’s ability to reduce the high cancer burden in AANHPI and to conduct innovative translational minority health research that will benefit Hawai‘i, the Pacific region and the rest of the US.

Principal Investigators

Loic Le Marchand
Loïc Le Marchand, MD, PhD (Contact PI)

Jeffrey Berenberg
Jeffrey Berenberg, MD, MACP

This program is supported by the Translational Research Program, Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis, National Cancer Institute through grant 1P20CA275734