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National Cancer Institute

NCI Network on Biobehavioral Pathways in Cancer

National Cancer Institute - Network on Biobehavioral Pathways in Cancer

These projects have been funded in whole or in part with federal funds from the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, under Contract No. HHSN261200800001E.  This research was supported by the National Cancer Institute Network on Biobehavioral Pathways in Cancer.


September 16, 2016 – Capstone Meeting Held for the Network on Biobehavioral Pathways in Cancer

Five years ago, a handful of cancer researchers with training in cell biology, psychology, public health, and related fields, set out to study the pathways that link psychological, behavioral, and social factors to cancer. Of particular interest, was whether stress and other psychological phenomena caused tumors to grow larger – and whether behaviors such as exercise or social engagement improved outcomes. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) Basic Biobehavioral and Psychological Sciences Branch led the effort to explore how psychological phenomena might be affecting the biology of cancer and disease outcomes via the Network on Biobehavioral Pathways in Cancer. On September 16, Network-funded researchers gathered at NCI-Shady Grove to deliver their findings.


The National Cancer Institute Network on Biobehavioral Pathways in Cancer (NBBPC) accelerates the translation and communication of biobehavioral discoveries to advance clinical cancer care.

NBBPC is a consortium designed to support knowledge of the molecular and signaling pathways that link psychological, behavioral, and social factors to cancer biology and apply that knowledge toward the development of efficacious interventions to reduce cancer risk and improve clinical outcomes. NBBPC has specific interest in proof-of-concept basic and translational studies to control disease in cancer patients, prevent recurrence post-treatment, and augment disease-free survival.


The Network fosters research excellence through the integration and dissemination of relevant scientific discoveries and the identification, support, and communication of new research directions in the field of biobehavioral pathways in cancer.

  • Stimulate novel scientific concepts and paradigms
  • Foster innovative collaborations between diverse disciplines
  • Disseminate relevant discoveries through major scientific conferences and meetings
  • Accelerate the translation of discoveries to patient benefit
  • Synthesize the state of the science, analyze secondary data, and publish
  • Encourage established scientists to apply their expertise to this emerging area of research
  • Cultivate the education, training, and professional advancement of early career scientists
NBBPC Members

NBBPC members provide the following:

  1. Foster the discovery-to-translation continuum of research related to biobehavioral pathways in cancer;
  2. Focus on unmet, understudied, highly exploratory questions that can’t yet be addressed through the submission of a research project grant application to NCI; and
  3. Develop and conduct proof of concept/principal/feasibility studies in support of the near term submission of research project grant applications to NCI.

The Network leverages and integrates expertise in cancer, stress, and cell biology; neuroscience; health behavior; psychology; social science; and oncology to advance the understanding of biological pathways that link behavioral processes and cancer.

The Network supports research in brain pathways that underlie psychological and social experiences, and their neurobiological impact on cancer via the sympathetic nervous system.

Scientific Steering Committee

Linda Alexander, Ph.D.Linda Alexander, Ph.D. Exit Disclaimer
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Professor, Social and Behavioral Sciences
West Virginia University

Steve Cole, Ph.D.Steve Cole, Ph.D. Exit Disclaimer
Associate Professor
David Geffen School of Medicine
University of California, Los Angeles

Susan K. Lutgendorf, Ph.D.Susan K. Lutgendorf, Ph.D. Exit Disclaimer
Professor & Starch Faculty Fellow
Department of Psychology
University of Iowa

Paige Green, Ph.D., M.P.H. Paige Green, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Basic Biobehavioral and Psychological Sciences Branch
National Cancer Institute

Anil K. Sood, M.D.Anil K. Sood, MD Exit Disclaimer
Director, Professor
Dept. of Gynecologic Oncology and Cancer Biology
M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

Current Members

Michael H. Antoni, Ph.D.
Shamgar Ben-Eliyahu, Ph.D.
Nathan A. Berger, MD
Julienne Bower, Ph.D.
Erin Costanzo, Ph.D.
Naomi Eisenberger, Ph.D.
Wenwei Hu, Ph.D.
Jennifer M. Knight, MD
Don Lamkin, Ph.D.
Kelley S. Madden, Ph.D.
Tor Wager, Ph.D.

For inquiries about the Network mission and scientific scope, contact: Paige Green at 240-276-6899 and

Heuristic framework for research on biobehavioral risk factor influences on clinical cancer course.

Heuristic framework for research on biobehavioral risk factor influences on clinical cancer course.

Green, P., O’Connell, M., & Lutgendorf, S.K. (2013). Psychoneuroimmunology and cancer: A decade of discovery, paradigm shifts, and methodological innovations. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 30, S1-S9.

Pilot Project Descriptions

Scroll over each title for a description.


Julienne Bower, Ph.D. Tor Wager, Ph.D., University of Colorado, Boulder Jennifer M. Knight, MD, Medical College of WisconsinWenwei Hu, Ph.D., Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Kelley S. Madden, Ph.D., University of Rochester Nathan A. Berger, MD, Case Western Reserve UniversityTor Wager, Ph.D., University of Colorado, Boulder Naomi Eisenberger, Ph.D., University of California, Los AngelesErin Costanzo, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, MadisonMichael H. Antoni, Ph.D., University of Miami Cognitive Behavioral Stress Management Intervention Perioperative Use of Beta-blocker and COX2 Inhibitor Behavioral Pathways in Stem Cell Transplantation Neural Substrates of Social Support fMRI Probe Optimization Study of Social Support Stress and Tumorigenesis in Normal and p53 Knockout Models Beta-Adrenergic Regulation of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia Metabolic Fingerprint of Stress Influences in Cancer Interactive WiKi Page Biobehavioral Benefits of Mixed Gender Housing on Survival of Mice with Colon Neoplasia Dual Psychosocial Stressor Exposure and Spontaneous Breast Tumor Metastasis in MMTV-PyMT Mice Pilot Study Using Propranolol to Decrease Gene Expression of Stress-Mediated Beta-Adrenergic Pathways in Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant Recipients Shamgar Ben-Eliyahu, Ph.D., Tel Aviv University