• Ruiyi Tian received AACR-Sanofi Scholar-In-Training Award for her abstract entitled “Rising accelerated aging in recent generations associated with elevated risk of early-onset cancers”. Congratulations to Ruiyi! She will be honored at the AACR Annual Meeting, San Diego!
  • At AACR 2024 in San Diego, our group is honored to share our work in:
    • Charting the path forward to combat early-onset cancers: Global trends and prevention (Yin Cao, Chair and invited talkApril 9th @10:15-11:45am PST, Early-onset Cancers: Challenges and Opportunities for Prevention; Advances in Population Sciences)
    • Accelerated aging in recent generations and elevated risk of early-onset cancers (Ruiyi Tian, posterApril 7th @1:30-5:00pm PST)
    • Circadian rhythm dysregulation with risk of gastrointestinal cancers (Yi Kang, posterApril 8th @1:30-5:00pm PST)
  • Our project entitled “Alcohol drinking without meals is associated with risk of gastrointestinal cancers, including early-onset cases” was published in Gastroenterology! Nice job, Mengyao, Nadia, and Xiaoyu!
  • Our invited commentary entitled “Charting the path forward to combat gastrointestinal cancers” was published in Lancet Gastroenterology Hepatology ! Congrats, Seye!


  • Our work on “Alcohol consumption among adults with a cancer diagnosis in the All of Us Research Program” was published in JAMA Network Open! In this cross-sectional study of the NIH All of US research program with over 15,000 adults diagnosed with cancer, a staggering 78% were found to be current drinkers. Of these individuals, 13% consumed alcohol beyond moderate levels, 24% engaged in binge drinking, and 38% demonstrated hazardous drinking habits—a comprehensive metric accounting for drinking frequency, quantity, and binge drinking. Most concerning is that those on cancer treatment are engaged in similar level of risky drinking. This study has received widespread media attention, featuring in HealthDayMedpage Today, and The Washington Times. Nice work, Mengyao and Dr. Luo! We are calling for additional research and implementation studies to address this emerging concern among cancer survivors!
  • Excited to see our work on early signs and symptoms of early-onset colorectal cancer being featured by CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians! “The overarching objective [of this study] is to improve the early detection of CRC at younger ages, which holds significant potential for improving patient outcomes.” Our mission continues!
  • Our project on “Red-flag signs and symptoms for earlier diagnosis of early-onset colorectal cancer” was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute and was selected as the Editor’s Choice! The study was also featured by the NCI Cancer Currents BlogWash U Records, ASCO Post, and over 90 media outlets including the NBC NewsDaily Mail, and Medscape. In this matched case-control study of 5075 incident early-onset CRC among US commercial insurance beneficiaries, we pinpointed four critical red-flag signs and symptoms: abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, diarrhea, and iron deficiency anemia. These symptoms were associated with risk of early-onset CRC, with odds ratios between 1.34 to 5.13. Significantly, the presence of multiple symptoms began to predict early-onset CRC as early as 18 months prior to diagnosis. Kudos to Cassie and Ebun for their exceptional contributions! We’re enthusiastic about advancing this research, aiming for improved early diagnosis of early-onset CRC across diverse contexts!
  • Our recent publication in eBioMedicine, entitled “Circulating markers of microbial translocation and host response to bacteria with risk of colorectal cancer: a prospective, nested case-control study in men“, was featured as the Editor’s pick! In this nested case–control study, we found that men in the highest quartile of plasma soluble CD14 levels had a 90% increased risk of incident colorectal cancer (CRC) compared to those in the lowest quartile, independent of CRC putative risk factors and several systemic inflammatory markers. Our findings lend support for the role of microbial translocation in colorectal carcinogenesis. 
  • Our project entitled “Sleep behaviors, genetic predispositions, and risk of esophageal cancer” was published in the Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention! Nice job, Xiaoyan and Ruiyi!
  • Dr. Cao has joined the editorial leadership of the Journal of National Cancer Institute as Associate Editor, serving a 3-year term.
  • Dr. Cao received “40 Under 40 in Cancer” Award! 40 Under 40 in Cancer is an awards initiative to identify and recognize the contributions being made across the field of cancer by rising stars and emerging leaders under the age of 40. The award recognizes the nation’s most promising young oncology professionals and celebrates their contributions to improve the lives of those affected by cancer.
  • Dr. Cao looks forward to joining the DNAnexus’s Oncology Research Roundtable: Working with large-scale datasets to enable discovery on May 25th@10am!
  • Dr. Cao will give a talk on “Why young-onset colorectal cancer: risk factors and causes” at the MD Anderson Cancer Center Young-Onset Colorectal Cancer Virtual Patient Conference on May 20th @9am.
  • Our invited commentary entitled “Obesity and Gastrointestinal Cancer: A Life Course Perspective” was published in JAMA Network Open!
  • At Digestive Disease Week 2023 in Chicago, our group is honored to share our work in:
    • NSAIDS and precursors of early-onset colorectal cancer (Cassandra Fritz, oral presentationMay 8th @10:15-10:30am, AGA new targets of chemoprevention of colorectal cancer )
    • Pregnancy and neonatal outcomes among women with early-onset colorectal cancer (Stephanie Zhao, oral presentationMay 8th @2-3:30pm, AGA Evolving Epidemiology of GI Cancers)
    • Cesarean delivery and early-onset colorectal cancer (Stefani Tica, posterMay 6th @12:30-1:30pm)
    • CRC epidemiology & diets (Yin Cao, invited talkMay 9th @8-8:30amAGA Diet Management in GI cancers
  • Our study linking birth by cesarean delivery with risk of early-onset colorectal cancer in females was published in JAMA Network Open! We will continue to follow up on these provocative findings!
  • Our manuscript on “Pregnancy and neonatal outcomes among women with early-onset colorectal cancer: a nationwide case-control study” was published in eClinicalMedicine! Grateful for the collaborations with Dr. Ludvigsson and colleagues from Karolinska Institutet! Kudos to our future star Stephanie Zhao!
  • Mengyao Shi received AACR Scholar-In-Training Award for her abstract entitled “Alcohol consumption patterns among US cancer survivors: A cross-sectional study of the All of Us Research Program”. Mengyao will be honored at the AACR Annual Meeting, Orlando! Congrats!
  • Dr. Cao has been awarded American Gastroenterological Association Young Investigator Award in Clinical Science for her contribution to the etiology of early-onset colorectal cancer! Established as an AGA recognition prize in 2015, the Young Investigator Awards honor two early-career investigators, one in basic science and one in clinical science, for outstanding research achievements. Thanks to the AGA for this important recognition. This esteemed award symbolizes the dedication of all who share the same passion and will inspire us to continue to develop stellar and creative work to address the rising burden of early-onset colorectal cancer!
  • Dr. Cao has been appointed to serve a two-year term on the Editorial Board of Gastroenterology.
  • Dr. Cao presented at Saint Louis Obesity Society on “Obesity and cancer: what do we know and where do we go?“. Great interactions with medical practitioners treating obesity!


  • Our work on “Metabolic syndrome, metabolic comorbidities, and early-onset colorectal cancer” was published in the Gut. Congratulations, Hanyu, Xiaobin, and Xiaoyu! Special thanks to Dr. Margaret Olsen’s team!
  • Dr. Cao was invited to give a talk at the NCI Early-Onset Colorectal Cancer (EO-CRC) Think Tank . The title of Dr. Cao’s talk was “Re-evaluation of putative risk factors and precursors of early-onset colorectal cancer”.
  • Dr. Cao was invited to speak in the Educational Session (“Why are cancer rates increasing among young adults?”) of AACR Virtual Annual Meeting II, 2020. In her talk entitled “Address the rising burden of early-onset colorectal cancer“, Dr. Cao reviewed the potential influence of environmental, behavioral, and genetic factors on the increasing prevalence of colorectal cancer in young adults. See session summary by the AACR


  • Our findings that sedentary behavior is associated with increased risk of early-onset colorectal cancer was highlighted by AGA President Dr. David Lieberman in his talk at the DDW 2019.
  • Dr. Cao presented on behalf of Xiaobin Zheng on “Comprehensive assessment of diet quality and risk of adenoma” at the Digestive Disease Week (DDW) 2019.
  • Dr. Cao was invited to give a talk on “Obesity, sedentary behaviors, and early-onset colorectal cancer” at the 5th Annual Early Age Colorectal Cancer Summit, New York, NY.
  • Our work on “Trends in sedentary behavior among the US population” was published in the JAMA today! Congratulations, Chao Cao! Thanks to our collaborators!
  • Dr. Cao was appointed as an Assistant Professor in Medicine (secondary), Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Washington University.
  • Dr. Cao was invited to give a talk on “Aspirin: the magic bullet for cardiovascular disease and cancer?” at the 25th Annual Cardiovascular Nursing Symposium, St. Paul, MN.
  • Dr. Cao presented on “Molecular characteristics of early- vs late-onset colorectal cancer” at the 2019 GECCO Investigator Meeting (The Genetics and Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer Consortium), Seattle, WA.
  • Dr. Cao was invited to give a talk on “Addressing the rising incidence of early-onset colorectal cancer: an integrated approach” in the GI Research Conference, Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Washington University.
  • Dr. Cao presented on “Life course antibiotic use and alterations in the gut microbiome” in the Microbiome Epidemiology Working Group, Department of Biostatistics, Harvard University.
  • Dr. Cao was invited to serve on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI) and JNCI Cancer Spectrum.
  • Dr. Cao received Siteman Investment Program (SIP) Award (2019) for her proposal on “Oral microbiome, virome and Barrett’s esophagus”.


  • Dr. Cao was invited to speak on “Studying human microbiome and health in prospective studies” in the seminar series offered by the Center for Clinical genomics for Microbial System (https://sites.wustl.edu/ccgems/), McDonnell Genome Institute, Washington University.
  • Dr. Cao received the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Young Investigator Award (2018-2020) for her proposal on “Disparities in young-onset colorectal cancer survival according to patients, treatment, and tumor molecular characteristics”.
  • Dr. Cao received career development award (K07) from the National Cancer Institute (2018-2022) on her proposal entitled “Optimizing the impact of aspirin in chemoprevention”.


  • 09/25/2017, Dr. Cao was selected as one of the finalists for the Emerging Investigator Award from the International Aspirin Foundation.
  • 07/01/2017, Dr. Cao formally joined the Division of Public Health Sciences as an Assistant Professor of Surgery!