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Discovering the causes of cancer and the means of prevention

Charles Rabkin, M.D.

Senior Investigator

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Charles Rabkin, M.D.

Charles Rabkin, M.D.

Organization:National Cancer Institute
Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics, Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch
Address:NCI Shady Grove
Room 6E110


Dr. Rabkin earned an Sc.B. and M.D. from Brown University and an M.Sc. in epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He received postgraduate training at the University of Colorado and is board certified in internal medicine and preventive medicine. Before coming to the NCI, he was an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer and a medical epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He has received PHS Commendation and Unit Commendation Medals for his studies of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and Kaposi sarcoma and the Outstanding Service Medal for the molecular epidemiology of Helicobacter pylori and HIV-related malignancies.

Research Interests

Chronic infection and inflammation are associated with increased risk of many types of cancer. My research is directed toward understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying these associations, particularly for gastric cancer and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Gastric cancer

My work in gastric cancer encompasses three sub-projects on the pathogenic microbes, modifying host factors and intermediate markers with potential for screening of gastric cancer and pre-neoplastic lesions. I have a particular focus on the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) as a co-factor with Helicobacter pylori, the established cause of most cancers of the noncardia stomach. Viral coinfection is present in 8-10% of gastric cancers worldwide, and I lead an international consortium studying EBV's etiologic and clinicopathologic significance. An increasing fraction of my research is directed toward Latin America, where gastric cancer has previously been relatively understudied despite some of the highest incidence rates in the world. The overarching objective of this research program is to increase etiologic understanding and diminish burden of disease.

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a neoplasm of the effector cells that mediate adaptive immunity.  I study the acquired and inherited abnormalities of immune cells that may contribute to their malignant transformation. This work has revealed important roles of chronic infection, immune dysregulation and chromosomal translocation as mechanisms for this disease. AIDS-related lymphoma represents a particularly informative model, given its high incidence in defined populations under close medical supervision. To advance research efforts in this area, we have launched AIDSLymph, a consortium investigating associations and risk factors for lymphoma in patients with advanced HIV infection, in collaboration with the North American AIDS Cohorts Collaboration on Research & Design (NA-ACCORD).