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Research group

Cancer Epidemiology

About this group

Group information


Katja Fall

Research subject

We are interested in studying risk factors and prognostic indicators for cancer, primarily prostate cancer and other urologic malignancies. Our research questions include the role of inflammation, psychological stress, infections, the gut microbiome – and the potential interplay between these factors – in disease occurrence, pathogenesis, and outcomes. We use information from Swedish population registries as well as from longitudinal cohorts and a randomized intervention study.

The group collaborates closely with colleagues at the Urology department at Örebro University Hospital, the Integrative Epidemiology Unit and the Center for Translational microbiome research (CTMR) at Karolinska Institutet, as well as with other researchers in Sweden and abroad. Earlier studies indicate that stress associated with waiting for a diagnosis of cancer can confer severe health risks. In the ProSeSS study we aim to systematically characterize and quantify psychological and physiological stress responses in men undergoing diagnostic work-up for suspected prostate cancer, and to assess their potential links with patient outcomes. As critical exposures may occur early in life, we are studying cancer risks in a life-course perspective in register-based cohorts with follow-up from childhood and adolescence to later in life. We also perform observational drug repurposing studies in cancer patients with focus on stress-reducing medications including beta-blockers. Using well-characterized longitudinal cohort data, we further study the role of inflammation and anti-inflammatory diet in relation to risk and progression of cancer. In addition, we are currently exploring the role of the gut microbiome on subsequent cancer risks.