Cheryl Thompson, PhD

Assistant Dean of Educational Initiatives
Graduate Education Office
School of Medicine
Associate Professor
Department of Nutrition
School of Medicine
Population and Cancer Prevention Program
Case Comprehensive Cancer Center

Dr. Thompson is a cancer genetic and molecular epidemiologist. Her research is in the area of identification of factors influencing risk of cancer, as well as factors and biomarkers associated with prognosis and treatment outcomes. One of her primary areas of interest is the role of inherited genetic variation in cancer, and how genetic variations interact with lifestyle or behavior to influence risk of or outcomes for cancer. An area of specialization that she has is in the association of obesity and energetics and genetic pathways related to metabolism and energetics with cancer. Dr. Thompson was recently the first scientist to report the association of short sleep with having more aggressive types of breast cancer.

Dr. Thompson also serves as the Assistant Dean of Educational Initiatives for the School of Medicine. In this role, she provides support for all master's programs and their students and works with faculty around the University to develop new and innovative educational initiatives. 

Follow Dr. Thompson on Twitter: @cancerepicheryl

View Dr. Thompson's CV

Teaching Information

Courses Taught

NTRN 529. Nutritional Epidemiology

Research Information

Research Interests

I am a cancer genetic and molecular epidemiologist in the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center at Case Western Reserve University.  My research is in the area of identification of factors influencing risk of cancer, as well as factors and biomarkers associated with early detection, prognosis and treatment outcomes, including miRNAs.  My current research focuses on breast cancer, but I’m also involved in numerous other cancers through collaborations.  One of my main research interests is in the discovery of clinical biomarkers in oncology.  I have experience in a variety of different types of biomarkers (for example, protein, RNA, DNA) for use across the cancer care spectrum, including a highly cited article on circulating miRNAs for breast cancer detection. 

My other main area of interest is the role of inherited genetic variation in cancer, and how genetic variations interact with lifestyle or behavior to influence risk of or outcomes for cancer.  An area of specialization that I have had is in the association of obesity and energetics and genetic pathways related to metabolism and energetics with cancer.  I was recently the first scientist to report the association of short sleep with having more aggressive types of breast cancer.  I am currently actively working on following up on this discovery as well as the identification of other genetic and lifestyle variants associated with cancer.

External Appointments

Executive Committee, American Society of Preventive Oncology (2012-)

Secretary/Treasurer, American Society of Preventive Oncology (2017-2020)


Recent Publications

Thompson CL, Owusu C, Nock NL, Li L, Berger NA.  Race, age and obesity disparities in adult physical activity levels in breast cancer patients and controls.   Front Public Health 2014;2:150.

Kenison TC†, Silverman P, Sustin M, Thompson CL.  Differences between Nurse Practitioner and Physician Care Providers on Rates of Secondary Cancer Screening and Discussion of Lifestyle Factors in Breast Cancer Survivors.  J Cancer Survivorship 2015; 9(2):223-9.

Qin A, Thompson CL*2, Silverman P.  Predictors of late onset heart failure in breast cancer patients treated with doxorubicin.  J Cancer Survivorship 2015;9(2):252-9.

Abola M, Thompson CL, Chen Z, Chak A, Berger NA, Kirwan JP, Li L.  Serum Levels of Retinol-Binding Protein 4 (RBP4) and Risk of Colon Adenoma.  Endocrine-Related Cancer 2015; 22(2):L1-4.

Bomeisl PE, Thompson CL*2, Harris LH, Gilmore HL.  Comparison of OncotypeDX Recurrence Score by Histologic Subtypes of Breast Carcinoma.  Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine 2015; 139 (12):1546-9.

Bai S†, Shenk R, Thompson C*2, Plecha D.  Improving Accuracy of Axillary Lymph Node Surgery in Breast Cancer with Ultrasound Guided Needle Localization of Previously Biopsied Lymph Nodes. Ann Surg Oncol 2015; 22(13):4241-6.

Merry CR, McMahon S, Thompson CL*3, Miskimen K, Harris L, Khalil AM.  Integrative transcriptome-wide analyses reveal critical HER2-regulated lincRNAs and mRNAs in HER2+ Breast Cancer.  Breast Cancer Res Treat 2015; 150 (2):321-34. 

Su K-H, Hu L Stehning C, Helle M, Qian P, Thompson CL*2, Periera GC, Jordon DW, Herrmann KA, Traughber M, Traughber BJ, Muzic RF.  Generation of brain pseudo-CTs using an undersampled, single-acquisition UTE-mDixon pulse sequence and unsupervised clustering.  Medical Physics 2015; 42(8):4974.

Zhang Y, Janyasupab M, Liu CW, Cai J, Popa A, Samia AC, Wang KW, Zu J, Schiemann W, Thompson CL*1, Liu CC.  Detection of lysyl oxidase-like 2 (LOXL2), a biomarker of breast cancer metastasis, using human blood and urine samples.  Recent Patents on Biosensors 2015; 5(2): 93-100.

Vyas R, Thompson CL*2,3, Zargar H, Selph J, Gerstenblith M.  Epidemiology of Genitourinary Melanoma in the United States: 1992-2012. JAAD 2016;75(1):144-50.

Wan T, Block NB, Plecha D, Thompson CL*1, Gilmore H, Jaffe C, Harris L, Madabhushi A.  A Radio-genomics Approach for Identifying High Risk Estrogen Receptor-positive Breast Cancers on DCE-MRI: Preliminary Results in Predicting OncotypeDX Risk Scores.  Nature Scientific Reports 2016; 6:21394.

Scott JF, Thompson CL*2,3, Vyas R, Honda K, Zender C, Rezaee R, Lavertu P, Koon H, Cooper KD, Gerstenblith M.  Parotid Melanoma of Unknown Primary. J Can Res Clin Oncol 2016; 142 (7):1529-37.

Okuku F, Orem J, Holoya G, De Boers C, Thompson CL*2,3, Cooney M.  Prostate Cancer Burden at the Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI). J Global Oncology 2016 (in press).

Tran D, Gotow E, Galvin J, Bordeaux JS, Thompson CL*2, Cooper KD, Gerstenblith MR.  Meta-Analyses of Associations between Cutaneous Melanoma and Thyroid Cancer.  J Clin Exp Derm 2016; 7:343.

Kibria G, Ramos E, Lee K, Bedoyan S, Huang S, Samaeekia R, Athman J, Harding C, Lotvall J, Harris L, Thompson CL*1, Liu H.  A rapid, automated surface protein profiling of single circulating exosomes in human blood.  Sci Rep 2016;6:36502.

Radhakrishnan A†, Silverman P, Pollack CD, Pfoh ER, Shenk R, Thompson CL.  Understanding Age and Race Disparities in the Application of Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy in Breast Cancer.  J Investig Med 2016;64(8):1241-1245.

Merry CR, McMahon S, Thompson CL*3, Khalil AM.  Transcriptome-wide identification of mRNAs and lincRNAs associated with Trastuzumab Resistance in HER2-positive breast cancer.  Oncotarget 2016; 7(33):53230-53244.

Morrison CD, Allington TM, Thompson CL*2, Gilmore HL, Chang JC, Keri RA, Schiemann WP.  c-Abl Inhibits Breast Cancer Tumorigenesis through Reactivation of p53-mediated p21 Expression. Oncotarget 2016; 7(45):72777-72794.

Garlick C, Thompson C*2, Dubchuck C, Constantinou N, Plecha D.  Comparing cancer detection rates of patients undergoing short term follow-up vs routine follow-up after benign breast biopsies, is follow-up needed?  Clin Imaging 2017; 42:37-42.

Somasegar S†, Li L, Thompson CL.  No Association of Reproductive Risk Factors with Breast Cancer Tumor Grade.  Eur J Can Prev 2017; 5(2).

Gupta N†, Li L, Thompson CL.  The Association of Inherited Variation in the CLOCK Gene with Breast Cancer Tumor Grade.  Fam Med and Comm Health 2017; 5(2): 103-8.

Soucise A, Vaughn C, Thompson CL, Millen AE, Freudenheim JL, Wactawski-Wende J, Phipps A, Hale L, Qi L, Ochs-Balcom HM. Sleep quality, duration and breast cancer aggressiveness. Breast Cancer Res Treat 2017; 164(1): 169-178.

Kaunitz GJ, Cottrell TR, Lilo M, Muthappan V, Esandrio J, Berry S, Xu H, Ogurtsova A, Anders RA, Fischer AH, Kraft S, Gerstenblith MR, Thompson CL*1, Hona K, Cuda JD, Eberhart CG, Handa JT, Lipson EJ, Taube JM.  Melanoma subtypes demonstrate distinct PD-L1 expression profiles.  Lab Invest 2017; 97(9):1063-71.

Tsung K, Thompson CL, Knight JM, Maximuk S, Sadri N, Gilmore H, Keri RA, Vinayak S, Harris L, Silverman P.  A Breast Multidiciplinary Genomic Tumor Board is Feasible and Can Provide Timely and Impactful Recommendations.  Breast J 2018; 24(4):676-7.

Allan K†, Berger NA, Li L, Thompson CL.  Short Sleep as a Contributor to Racial Disparities in Breast Cancer Tumor Grade.  Fam Med and Comm Health 2017; 5(2):149-54.

Arbesman J, Ravichandran S, Funchain P, Thompson CL.  Melanoma Cases demonstrate increased carrier frequency of Phenylketonuira/hyperphenylalenemia mutations.  Pig Cell Mel Res 2018; 31(4):529-33.

Obayo S, Orem J, Thompson CL*2, Cooney MM.  Clinical Presentation and Treatment Outcomes of Esophageal Cancer Patients at the Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI).  J Global Oncology 2018; (in press).

Scott JF, Conic R, Thompson CL*2, Gerstenblith MR, Bordeaux JS.  Stage IV Melanoma of Unknown Primary:  A Population-Based Study in the United States from 1973 to 2014.  J Am Acad Dermatol 2018; 79 (2):258-65.

Gorlov I, Orlow I, Ringelberg C, Hernando E, Ernstoff MS, Cheng C, Her S, Parker JS, Thompson CL*1, Gerstenblith MR, Berwick M, Amos C.  Identification of gene expression levels in primary melanoma associated with clinically meaningful characteristics.  Melanoma Res 2018; 58(5):380-9.

Bakshi S, Schmidt HM, Baskin AE, Croniger CM, Thompson CL*2, Bonfield T, Fletcher D, Berger NA.  Sexual Dimorphism in Developmental and Diet Dependent Circulating Retinol Binding Protein 4.  Obesity Science and Practice 2018; 4(6):526-34.

Stepanek T†, Constantinou N, Pham R, Marshall H, Thompson C*2,3 , Plecha D.  Changes in the utilization of the BI-RADS category 3 assessment in recalled patients before and after the implementation of screening digital breast tomosynthesis. Acad Radiol 2019; 26 (11):1515-25.

Alencherry E†, Goel, R, Gore S, Thompson C*2,3, Dubchuk C, Plecha D.  Clinical, imaging, and intervention factors associated with the upgrade of isolated flat epithelial atypia.  Clin Imaging 2019; 54:21-4.

Darrow CJ†, Bai-Tong SS, Kang EM, Thompson CL*2,3, Walsh MC.  Use of Acidified Versus Non-Acidified Liquid Human Milk Fortifier in Very Low Birth Weight Infants:  A Retrospective Comparison of Clinical Outcomes.  J Neonatal Perinatal Med 2020;13(1):71-79.

Zhao F, Heo JU, Jones R, Zheng J, Qian P, Baydoun A, Kuo J-W, al Helo R, Thompson C*2, Avril N, DeVincent D, Hunt H, Gupta A, Traughber B. Abdominal-Pelvis MR to CT registration using a synthetic CT intermediate.  Artificial Intelligence in Medicine 2020 (in press).

Scott JF, Brough KR, Grigoryan KV, Muzic JG, Kim GY, Conic R, Tsai S, Brewer JD, Baum CL, Litzow MR, Hogan WJ, Patnaik MS, Hashmi SK, Lazarus HM, Bordeaux JS, Thompson CL*2,3, Gerstenblith MR, Lehman JS.  Risk factors for keratinocyte carcinoma in recipients of allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation recipients.  JAMA Dermatol 2020;156(6):1-9.

Walsh RS†, Payne A, Cossler NJ, Thompson CL*2, Bhola M.  Safety of immediate skin-to-skin contact after vaginal birth in vigorous late preterm neonates – A pilot study.  Neonatal Perinatal Med 2020; (in press).

Okello CD, Mulumba Y, Omoding A, Ddungu H, Welch K, Thompson CL*2, Orem J, Cooney MM.  Characteristics and Outcomes of Patients with Multiple Myeloma at the Uganda Cancer Institute.  African Health Sciences 2020 (in press).

†Student or fellow mentees that published manuscripts from the project that I mentored them on

*Team Science Contributions:  On these manuscripts I served in a key role as the cancer translational researcher, lending my expertise in clinical/epidemiology study design and/or statistical analysis.  For these I have contributed one or more of the following:  1specific patient samples and/or data; 2biostatistical support; 3study design and/or epidemiology expertise.


Doctor of Philosophy
Genetic and Molecular Epidemiology
Case Western Reserve University
Master of Science
Computer Science
Case Western Reserve University
Bachelor of Science in Engineering
Computer Engineering
School: Case Western Reserve University