Associate Professor
Department of Nutrition
School of Medicine
Assistant Professor
Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences
School of Medicine
Assistant Dean of Educational Initiatives
Office of Graduate Education
School of Medicine
Cancer Prevention
Control & Population Research 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 Director of Master's Programs for the School of Medicine. In this role, she provides support for all master's programs and their students and works with faculty to develop new 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, Larkin EL, Patel S, Berger NA, Redline S, Li L.  Short duration of sleep increases risk of colorectal adenoma.  Cancer 2011;117(4):841-7.  (highly cited article)

Nock NL, Plummer SJ, Thompson CL, Casey G, Li L.  FTO Polymorphisms are Associated with Adult Body Mass Index (BMI) and Colorectal Adenomas in African-Americans.  Carcinogenesis 2011 32(5):748-56.

Ortiz AP, Thompson CL, Chak A, Berger N, Li L.  Insulin Resistance, Central Obesity and Colorectal Adenomas.  Cancer 2011; 118(7):1774-81.

Greer KB, Thompson CL, Brenner L, Bednarchik B, Dawson D, Willis J, Grady WM, Falk GW, Cooper GS, Li L, Chak A.  Association of Insulin and Insulin–Like Growth Factors with Barrett’s Oesophagus.  Gut 2012; 61(5):665-72.

Thompson CL, Berger NA, Chak A, Li L.  Racial Differences in Measures of Obesity and Risk of Colon Adenoma.  Obesity 2012; 20(3):673-7.

Blake-Gumbs L, Chen Z, Thompson CL, Berger NA, Tucker TC, Li L.  Adult BMI Change and Risk of Colon Cancer in Postmenopausal Women.  J. Obes 2012; 2012:857510.

Thompson CL, Li L.  Association of Sleep Duration and Breast Cancer OncotypeDX Recurrence Score.   Breast Cancer Res Treat 2012; 134(3):97-103.

Lin P-Y, Cheng K-L, McGuffin-Cawley JD, Shieu F-S, Samia AC, Gupta S, Cooney M, Thompson CL, Liu CC.  Detection of alpha-methylacyl-CoA racemase (AMACR), a biomarker of prostate cancer, in patient blood samples using a nanoparticle electrochemical biosensor.  Biosensors 2012; 2(4): 377-87.

Taylor MA, Sossey-Alaoui K, Thompson CL, Danielpour D, Schiemann WP.  TGF-β upregulates miR-181a expression to promote breast cancer metastasis.  J. Clin Invest. 2013; 123:150-63. (highly cited article)

Morton M, Thompson CL.  Decreasing 25-hydroxy-vitamin D Account for Portion of the Effect of Increasing Body Mass Index on Breast Cancer Mortality.  Molecular Nutrition and Food Res 2013; 57: 260-6.

Leidner R, Li L, Thompson CL.  Dampening Enthusiasm for Circulating microRNA in Breast Cancer.  Plos One 2013; 8(3):e57841. (highly cited article)

Ochs-Balcom HM, Preus L, Wactawski-Wende J, Nie J, Johnson N, Zakharia F, Tang H, Ambrosone C, Carlson C, Carty C, Chen Z, Hutter C, Jackson RD, Kaplan R, Kooperberg C, Li L, Liu S, Neuhouser M, Peters U, Risch N, Robbins J, Seldin M, Thompson CL, Sucheston LE.  Association of DXA-derived bone mineral density and fat mass with African ancestry.  J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2013; 98(4):E713-7.

Thompson CL, Fink S, Lutterbaugh  JD, Elston, RC, Veigl ML, Li L, Markowitz SM.  Genetic Variation in 15-Hydroxyprostaglandin Dehydrogenase and Colon Cancer Susceptibility.  Plos One 2013; 8(5):e64122.

Vaughn CM, Ochs-Balcom HM, Nie J, Chen Z, Thompson CL, Tracy R, Li L.  No Association between Circulating Levels and Genetic Variants of IL-6 and TNF-α and Colon Adenoma.  Gastroenterology Res 2013; 6(2):43-8.

Helmus D, Thompson CL, Zelenskiy S, Tucker TC, Li L.  Red meat-derived heterocyclic amines increase risk of colon cancer: a population-based case-control study.   Nutrition and Cancer 2013; 65(10).

Khawaja A, Rao S, Li L, Thompson CL.  Sleep Duration and Breast Cancer Phenotype.  Journal of Cancer Epidemiology 2013; 2013:467927.

Ochs-Balcom HM, Vaughn CB, Nie J, Chen Z, Thompson CL, Parekh N, Tracy R, Li L.  Racial differences in the association of insulin-like growth factor pathway and colon adenoma risk.  Cancer Causes and Control 2014; 25(2):161-70.

Elliot RM, Shenk RR, Thompson CL, Gilmore HL.  Touch preparations for the intraoperative evaluation of sentinel lymph nodes after neoadjuvant therapy have high false-negative rates in patients with breast cancer.  Arch Pathol Lab Med 2014; 138 (6): 814-8.

Zelenskiy S, Thompson CL, Tucker TC, Li L.  High Dietary Glycemic Load is Associated with Increased Risk of Colon Cancer.  Nutr Cancer 2014; 66(3):362-8.

Sossey-Alaoui K, Pluskota E, Davuluri R, Bialkowska, Das M, Szpak D, Lindner D, Downs-Kelly E, Thompson CL, Plow EF.  Kindlin-3 enhances breast cancer progression and metastasis by activating TWIST-mediated angiogenesis. FASEB J 2014; 28(5):2260-71.

Morton M, Bai X, Merry C, Khalil AM, Leidner R, Thompson CL.  Identification of mRNAs and lincRNAs associated with lung cancer progression using next-generation RNA sequencing from laser micro-dissected archival FFPE tissue specimens.  Lung Cancer 2014; 85(1):31-9.

Sizemore S, Sizemore GM, Booth CN, Thompson CL, Silverman P, Bebek G, Abdul-Karim FW, Avril S, Keri RA.  Hypomethylation of the MMP7 Promoter and Increased Expression of MMP7 Distinguishes the Basal-like Breast Cancer Subtype from other Triple Negative Tumors.  Breast Cancer Res Treat.  2014; 146(1):25-40.

Ochs-Balcom HM, Cannioto R, Nie J, Millen AE, Freudenheim JL, Chen Z, Thompson CL, Tracy R, Li L.  Adipokines do not mediate the association of obesity and colorectal adenoma.  J. Cancer Epidemiol. 2014; 2014:371254.

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, 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, 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, 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, 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, Periera GC, Jordon DW, Herrmann KA, Traughber M, Traughber BJ, Muzic RF.  Generation of brain pseudo-CTs using an undersampled, singlep-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, 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, 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, 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, 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, Cooney M.  Prostate Cancer Burden at the Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI). J Glob Oncol. 2016 Feb 17;2(4):181-185. doi: 10.1200/JGO.2015.001040. eCollection 2016 Aug.

Tran D, Gotow E, Galvin J, Bordeaux JS, Thompson CL, Cooper KD, Gerstenblith MR.  Meta-Analyses of Epidemiologic Associations between Cutaneous Melanoma and Thyroid Cancer.  J Clin Exp Derm 2016; (in press).

Somasegar S, Li L, Thompson CL.  No Association of Reproductive Risk Factors with Breast Cancer Tumor Grade.  Eur J Cancer Prev. 2018 Mar;27(2):140-143. doi: 10.1097/CEJ.0000000000000324.

Radhakrishnan A, Silverman P, Shenk R, Thompson CL.  Understanding Age and Race Disparities in the Application of Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy in Breast Cancer.  J Investig Med. 2016 Dec;64(8):1241-1245. Epub 2016 Jul 27.

Merry CR, McMahon S, Thompson CL, Khalil AM.  Transcriptome-wide identification of mRNAs and lincRNAs associated with Trastuzumab Resistance in HER2-positive breast cancer.  Oncotarget. 2016 Aug 16;7(33):53230-53244. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.10637.


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