Kristen Stevens Purrington (fn6868)
87 E. Canfield Ave.
Detroit, MI 48201
• Clinically relevant molecular and immune profiles of breast and colorectal tumors in AAs
• Heritable susceptibility to cancer among AAs
• Variability in estrogen receptor protein expression and racial disparities in ER+/HER2- breast cancer
My research focuses on the impact of tumor biology and microenvironment on racial disparities in clinical outcomes for African Americans with cancer. Specifically, I have three main areas of active research: (1) Characterizing clinically relevant molecular and immune profiles of breast and colorectal tumors in AAs, (2) understanding heritable susceptibility to breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer among AAs, particularly characterizing variants of uncertain significance in known cancer susceptibility genes, and (3) understanding the role of variability in estrogen receptor protein expression in racial disparities in ER+/HER2- breast cancer survival and treatment with endocrine therapy. I am also interested in the combination of genetic factors and traditional epidemiologic risk factors, such as hormonal exposures and mammographic density, and how these may explain risk, biological changes in tumors, and ultimately survival. Much of my research utilizes data and biospecimens from the Detroit Research on Cancer Survivors (ROCS) cohort study, an NCI-funded prospective cohort study of African Americans recently diagnosed with breast, prostate, colorectal, and lung cancers.
Watza D, Lusk CM, Dyson G, Purrington KS, Wenzlaff AS, Neslund-Dudas C, Soubani AO, Gadgeel SM, Schwartz AG. COPD-dependent effects of genetic variation in key inflammation pathway genes on lung cancer risk. Int J Cancer. 2020;147:747-56.
Purrington KS, Knight J 3rd, Dyson G, Ali-Fehmi R, Schwartz AG, Boerner JL, Bandyopadhyay S. CLCA2 expression is associated with survival among African American women with triple negative breast cancer. PLoS One. 2020;15:e0231712.
Purrington KS, Raychaudhuri S, Simon MS, Clark J, Ratliff V, Dyson G, Craig DB, Boerner JL, Beebe-Dimmer JL, Schwartz AG. Heritable Susceptibility to Breast Cancer among African-American Women in the Detroit Research on Cancer Survivors Study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2020;29:2369-75.
Duric N, Sak M, Fan S, Pfeiffer RM, Littrup PJ, Simon MS, Gorski DH, Ali H, Purrington KS, Brem RF, Sherman ME, Gierach GL. Using Whole Breast Ultrasound Tomography to Improve Breast Cancer Risk Assessment: A Novel Risk Factor Based on the Quantitative Tissue Property of Sound Speed. J Clin Med. 2020;9:367.
Purrington KS, Schwartz AG, Ruterbusch JJ, Manning MA, Nair M, Wenzlaff AS, Pandolfi SS, Simon MS, Beebe-Dimmer J. Patterns of cancer family history and genetic counseling eligibility among African Americans with breast, prostate, lung, and colorectal cancers: A Detroit Research on Cancer Survivors cohort study. Cancer. 2020;126:4744-52.
Purrington KS, Gorski D, Simon MS, Hastert TA, Kim S, Rosati R, Schwartz AG, Ratnam M. Racial differences in estrogen receptor staining levels and implications for treatment and survival among estrogen receptor positive, HER2-negative invasive breast cancers. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2020;181:145-54.
Teslow EA, Mitrea C, Bao B, Mohammad RM, Polin LA, Dyson G, Purrington KS, Bollig-Fischer A. Obesity-induced MBD2_v2 expression promotes tumor-initiating triple-negative breast cancer stem cells. Mol Oncol. 2019;13:894-908.
Manning M, Albrecht TL, Penner L, Purrington K. Ann Behav Between-Race Differences in Processes Predicting Physician Communication for African American and European American Recipients of Breast Density Notifications. Med. 2019;53:721-31.
Lusk CM, Watza D, Dyson G, Craig D, Ratliff V, Wenzlaff AS, Lonardo F, Bollig-Fischer A, Bepler G, Purrington K, Gadgeel S, Schwartz AG. Profiling the Mutational Landscape in Known Driver Genes and Novel Genes in African American Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Patients. Clin Cancer Res. 2019;25:4300-8.
Manning M, Albrecht TL, O'Neill S, Purrington K. Between-Race Differences in Supplemental Breast Cancer Screening Before and After Breast Density Notification Law. J Am Coll Radiol. 2019;16:797-803.
Teslow E, Mitrea C, Bao B, Mohammad RM, Polin LA, Dyson G, Purrington KS, Bollig-Fischer A. The SRSF2–MBD2_v2 signaling axis links obesity and tumor-initiating triple negative breast cancer stem cells. Mol Oncol. 2019;13:894-908.
Holowatyj AN, Cote ML, Ruterbusch JJ, Ghanem K, Schwartz AG, Vigneau FD, Gorski DH, Purrington KS.Racial Differences in 21-Gene Recurrence Scores Among Patients With Hormone Receptor-Positive, Node-Negative Breast Cancer. J Clin Oncol. 2018;36:652-8.
Watza D, Purrington KS, Chen K, Schwartz AG. Transcriptional programs of tumor infiltrating T-cells provide insight into mechanisms of immune response and new targets for immunotherapy. J Thorac Dis. 2017;9):4162-4
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, (2010-2013) Department of Health Sciences Research, Mayo Clinic - Rochester, MN
Ph.D. Epidemiology, 2010 University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, Rackham Graduate School
M.A. Statistics, 2010 University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, Rackham Graduate School
M.P.H. Epidemiology, 2007 University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, School of Public Health
B.S. Cellular and Molecular Biology, 2005 University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, College of Literature, Arts and Sciences
CB7430 Cancer Epidemiology
CB7210 Fundamentals of Cancer Biology (lecturer)
CB7300 Biomarkers in Cancer (lecturer)
CB7800 Rigor and Reproducibility in Cancer Biology (lecturer)
87 E Canfield
Detroit, MI 48201
Karmanos Cancer Institute
4100 John R.
Mail Code: MM03EP
Detroit, MI 48201
(2010) Ph.D. Epidemiology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, Rackham Graduate School
(2010) M.A. Statistics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, Rackham Graduate School
(2007) M.P.H. Epidemiology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, School of Public Health
(2005) B.S. Cellular and Molecular Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, College of Literature, Arts and Sciences
(2010-2013) Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Health Sciences Research, Mayo Clinic - Rochester, MN
(2022 - Present) Associate Professor, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI
(2013 - 2022) Assistant Professor, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI
American Society of Human Genetics
American Association for Cancer Research
CB 7210: Fundamentals of Cancer Biology
My research focuses on the genetic epidemiology of triple negative breast cancer with respect to risk, clinical outcomes, and health disparities between African American and European American women. I also have a strong interest in understanding molecular signatures of triple negative breast tumors related to gene expression profiling and underlying genetic variation. Further, my work seeks to understand how these large omics data sets may be integrated to better understand triple negative breast cancer etiology, survival, and response to therapy. I am also interested in the combination of genetic factors and traditional epidemiologic risk factors, such as hormonal exposures and mammographic density, and how these may explain risk, biological changes in tumors, and ultimately survival. I am also involved in the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC) and the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Consortium (TNBCC), two international consortia with primary roles in delineating genetic risk factors for breast cancer risk.
- Stevens KN, Vachon CM, Couch FJ. Genetic susceptibility to triple negative breast cancer. Cancer Res. 2013 Apr 1;73(7):2025-30. PMID: 23536562
- Nickels S, Truong T, Hein R, Stevens KN, Buck K, Behrens S, et al. Evidence of Gene-Environment Interactions between Common Breast Cancer Susceptibility Loci and Established Environmental Risk Factors. PLoS Genet. 2013 Mar;9(3) PMCID: PMC3609648
- , Wang X, Fredericksen Z, Pankratz VS, Greene MH, Andrulis IL, et al. Evaluation of chromosome 6p22 as a breast cancer risk modifier locus in a follow-up study of BRCA2 mutation carriers. . 2012 Nov;136(1):295-302. PMCID: PMC3482828
- Stevens KN, Lindstrom S, Scott CG, Thompson D, Sellers T, Wang X, et al. Identification of a novel percent mammographic density locus at 12q24. . 2012 Jul 15;21(14):3299-305. PMCID: PMC3384385
- Stevens KN, Fredericksen Z, Vachon CM, Wang X, Margolin S, Lindblom A, et al. 19p13.1 is a triple negative-specific breast cancer susceptibility locus. . 2012 Sep 1;21(17):3926-39. PMCID: PMC3319792
- Stevens KN, Kelemen LE, Wang X, Fridley BL, Vierkant RA, Fredericksen Z, et al. Common variation in Nemo-like kinase is associated with risk of ovarian cancer. C. 2012 Mar;21(3):523-528. PMCID: PMC3297683
- Stevens KN, Garcia-Closas M, Fredericksen Z, Kosel M, Pankratz VS, Hopper JL, et al. Evaluation of variation in the phosphoinositide-3-kinase catalytic subunit alpha (PIK3CA) oncogene and breast cancer risk. Br J Cancer 105(12):1934-9 (2011). PMCID: PMC3251877
- Stevens KN, Vachon CM, Lee AM, Slager S, Lesnick T, Olswold C, et al. Common breast cancer susceptibility loci are associated with triple negative breast cancer. Cancer Research 71(19):6240-6249 (2011). PMCID: PMC3327299
- Stevens KN, Wang X, Fredericksen Z, Pankratz VS, Vachon CM, Olson JE, Couch FJ. Evaluation of associations between common variation in mitotic regulatory pathways and risk of overall and high grade breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 129(2):617-22 (2011). PMCID: PMC3508696
- Pujana MA, Han JJ, Starita LM, Stevens KN, Tewari M, Ahn JS , Rennert G, Moreno V, Assmann V, ElShamy WM, Rual JF, Rozek LS, Gelman RS, Gunsalus KC, Greenberg RA, Sobhian B, Bertin N, Venkatesan K, Ayivi-Guedehoussou N, Lázaro C, Nathanson KL, Weber BL, Cusick ME, Hill DE, Livingston DM, Gruber SB, Parvin JD, Vidal M. Network modeling links breast cancer susceptibility and centrosome dysfunction. Nature Genet. 39, 1338-1349 (2007). PMID: 17922014
PubMed Database Link:
Courses taught by Kristen Stevens Purrington
Winter Term 2023
- CB7210 - Fundamentals of Cancer Biology
- CB7430 - Cancer Epidemiology
- CB7800 - Rigor and Reproducibility in Cancer Biology
Fall Term 2022
Spring-Summer Term 2022
Winter Term 2022
Fall Term 2021
Recent university news spotlights
- Cancer Biology student and advisor win Wayne State’s first spot in Howard Hughes Medical Institute fellowship program