Philip E. Castle, Ph.D., M.P.H.
NCI Shady Grove | Room 5E410
Philip E. Castle is an internationally recognized expert in the field of cervical cancer prevention. He has led and contributed critical insights to the design and conduct of randomized trials and cohort studies of the effectiveness of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccinations, screening regimens, and the natural history of cervical precancer and cancer. Another focus of his research portfolio is the development and validation of new technologies for cervical cancer prevention, including HPV tests, many of which have been approved for clinical use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). His work has enhanced clinical practice and informed the U.S. screening and management guidelines, notably the implementation of primary HPV testing for cervical cancer screening.
Dr. Castle first joined the Division in 2000 as a Cancer Prevention Fellow under the mentorship of Dr. Mark Schiffman. He was appointed to tenure-track in 2003 and tenured in 2010. In 2011, he left NCI to serve as Executive Director and later Chief Scientific Officer of ASCCP (formerly the American Society for Colposcopy and Clinical Pathology). Prior to his return to NCI in 2021, Dr. Castle was a tenured professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Population Health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Global Coalition Against Cervical Cancer. He is a senior investigator in DCEG, and Director, NCI Division of Cancer Prevention.
Dr. Castle’s interests are the science and translation of cancer prevention strategies; global health disparities research; epidemiology of human papillomaviruses (HPV) and cervical/anogenital cancer.
HPV and Anogenital Cancer
HPV causes approximately five percent of cancers worldwide. HPV is the obligate cause of virtually all cervical cancer, most anal cancers, in addition to cancer of the penis, vagina, vulvar, and oropharynx. HPV-targeted approaches for primary prevention with prophylactic vaccines and secondary prevention with screening and treatment of chronic HPV infection and related abnormalities are the global strategy for prevention. However, there are significant gaps in our knowledge about their application and effectiveness, especially in people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
With colleagues at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Rwanda Military Hospital, he is leading a cohort study to look at the long-term effectiveness of prophylactic HPV vaccination in women living with and without HIV. Dr. Castle is collaborating with colleagues at MD Anderson, Maputo Central Hospital, and the Mozambique Ministry of Health to conduct a comparative effectiveness randomized control trial of methods for ablating cervical HPV and related abnormalities in women living with HIV.
Dr. Castle collaborates with DCEG colleagues on studying the impact of introducing HPV testing into routine cervical screening at Kaiser Permanente Northern California (KPNC), where he launched the HPV Persistence and Progression Cohort and the KPNC Guidelines Cohort in the mid-2000s, the latter of which he remains co-PI.
Using lessons learned from studies of HPV and anogenital cancer, Dr. Castle is embarking on two new research topics:
Breast cancer is emerging as the number one cancer in women living in low-income countries. Yet, screening with mammography is unlikely to be successfully applied in these settings because of the lack of resources, limited healthcare infrastructure, and scarcity of pathology services. Dr. Castle and colleagues will be evaluating methods that minimize the reliance on pathology for triage of women with palpable breast masses to quickly identify and classify women with breast cancer for treatment.
Oral cavity cancer (OCC), including cancer of the lip, is one of the most common malignancies and causes of cancer-related mortality globally. With Anil Chaturvedi, Ph.D., senior investigator, Dr. Castle is embarking on studies to evaluate interception strategies for the prevention of OCC in Taiwan.
Current and Former Fellows
Kathryn Kunrod, Ph.D. (2022-present), NCI Cancer Prevention Fellow