Anne McTiernan, MD, PhD

Research Professor


Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center


Dr. McTiernan's research focuses on identifying ways to prevent new or recurrent cancer with a particular focus on weight control, physical activity, and chemoprevention. She is Principal Investigator of the Seattle TREC Center investigating mechanisms of energy balance and cancer prevention. She leads over twenty five scientists in transdisciplinary reasearch to elucidate the pathways linking components of energy balance to the cancer process. The five projects and four cores incorporate several different study designs, with contributions of scientists from medicine, cell biology, animal models, immunology, biostatistics, mathematics, exercise physiology, and behavioral science. 

Dr. McTiernan is also Principal Investigator of a randomized controlled clinical trial of a one-year aerobic exercise intervention to compare the effects over one year of two lifestyle interventions in 503 postmenopausal women: (1) a moderate-intensity aerobic exercise intervention, and (2) a reduced-calorie diet plus moderate-intensity aerobic exercise intervention. She is Principal Investigator of the Seattle site of Health, Eating, Activity, and Lifestyle (HEAL) Study, which is assessing associations among anthropometrics, fat mass amount and distribution, endogenous sex and metabolic hormones, diet, and physical activity on prognostic factors in breast cancer patients. Dr. McTiernan is Principal Investigator of the Seattle site of the ExCel trial which is testing the effect of exemestane, an aromatase inhibitor, on breast cancer prevention, and she leads a randomized clinical trial testing aspirin effect on breast cancer biomarkers. 

Previously she has conducted a randomized controlled clinical trial of a one-year aerobic exercise intervention vs. stretch control in 173 postmenopausal women. The primary aim of this study was to assess the effect of exercise on endogenous sex hormones that have been associated with increased risk for breast cancer. Ongoing ancillary studies test the effect of aerobic exercise on immune function and other biomarkers of breast cancer risk. She is also been Principal Investigator of a randomized clinical trial to test the effect of a one-year aerobic exercise intervention vs. control on colorectal cell proliferation, apoptosis, and prostaglandin content, and on other biomarkers of colon cancer risk in 200 men and women with adenomatous colon polyps. 

Dr. McTiernan was a co-Investigator in the Women's Health Initiative (WHI), and directed clinical outcomes efforts at the WHI Clinical Coordinating Center. She has conducted an analysis of physical activity and breast cancer incidence in the WHI Observational Study cohort of over 90,000 women and has collaborated on many additional analyses.

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Anne McTiernan, MD, PhD