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Elizabeth A. Platz, ScD

  • Deputy Chair, Department of Epidemiology
  • Professor

Departmental Affiliations

  • Epidemiology (Primary)
    • Division: Cancer Epidemiology
  • School of Medicine (Joint)

Center & Institute Affiliations

Contact Information

615 N. Wolfe Street
Room E6132
Baltimore, Maryland 21205

(410) 614-2632

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ScD, Harvard University, 1995
MPH, Yale University, 1989


Dr. Platz is a cancer epidemiologist, whose research on prostate and colon cancers sits at the interface between epidemiology and basic science. Within prospective cohorts, she studies the association of genetic and epigenetic factors as well as circulating markers of androgenicity, inflammation, and oxidation with prostate cancer incidence and recurrence. For colorectal neoplasia, her work focuses on the metabolic syndrome, growth factors, and inflammation as sequelae of adiposity. She also studies the role of modifiable factors that influence these pathways, such as diet and lifestyle, in relation to the incidence of these diseases and other men’s health concerns. In addition, she studies these factors in association with benign conditions of the prostate and colon, including benign prostatic hyperplasia and adenomatous polyps. She has a long-standing interest uncovering explanations for the notably higher rate of prostate cancer in African-American compared to white men, including racial variation in sex steroid hormones in the in utero milieu and throughout life. Dr. Platz conducts her multidisciplinary work with an eye toward translation; that is, identifying strategies to prevent the development or progression of cancer. These goals have led to her recent research interest in the possible benefits of drugs for other indications, including statin drugs, as well as their underlying mechanisms of action in the prevention of the development and recurrence of prostate cancer. Finally, she dabbles in research that identifies and solves methodologic issues in study design germane to epidemiologic and translational studies on prostate cancer detection, incidence, prognosis, and recurrence.

Since 2008, she has co-led the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center (SKCCC) at Johns Hopkins. Since 2005, she has directed the NCI-supported T32 Cancer Epidemiology, Prevention, and Control Training Program at JHSPH. Since 2014, she has served as the Chair of the Maryland Cancer Collaborative, the group responsible for prioritizing and implementing the state’s comprehensive cancer control plan.

Honors and Awards

2000 Faculty Innovation Fund

2000 Bernstein Young Investigator's Award

2003 Delta Omega Honorary Society in the Public Health Alpha Chapter

2003 and 2007 AMTRA Award (recognition for advising, mentoring and teaching)

2010 Martin D. Abeloff, MD Scholar in Cancer Prevention (First), Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center (honoring the memory of Dr. Abeloff, late Director of the Cancer Center)

2013 Prostate Cancer Foundation Mentor of Excellence Award (First), Prostate Cancer Foundation 20th Annual Scientific Retreat

2014 Teaching Award for Faculty Outside of the Department, Department of Urology and the James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

  • Epidemiology
  • prostate cancer incidence and recurrence
  • benign prostatic hyperplasia
  • colorectal cancer
  • adenomatous polyps
  • diet
  • lifestyle
  • race
  • genetics
  • epigenetics
  • telomeres
  • inflammation
  • insulin
  • obesity
  • sex steroid hormones
  • vitamin D

Selected publications

  • Platz EA, Kulac I, Barber JR, Drake CG, Joshu CE, Nelson WG, Lucia MS, Klein EA, Lippman SM, Parnes HL, Thompson IM, Goodman PJ, Tangen CM, De Marzo AM. A Prospective Study of Chronic Inflammation in Benign Prostate Tissue and Risk of Prostate Cancer: Linked PCPT and SELECT Cohorts. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2017 Oct;26(10):1549-1557. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-17-0503. Epub 2017 Jul 28. PubMed PMID: 28754796; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5626618.
  • Gurel B, Lucia MS, Thompson IM Jr, Goodman PJ, Tangen CM, Kristal AR, Parnes HL, Hoque A, Lippman SM, Sutcliffe S, Peskoe SB, Drake CG, Nelson WG, De Marzo AM, Platz EA. Chronic inflammation in benign prostate tissue is associated with high-grade prostate cancer in the placebo arm of the prostate cancer prevention trial. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2014 May;23(5):847-56. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-13-1126. Epub 2014 Apr 18. PubMed PMID: 24748218; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4012292.
  • Heaphy CM, Yoon GS, Peskoe SB, Joshu CE, Lee TK, Giovannucci E, Mucci LA, Kenfield SA, Stampfer MJ, Hicks JL, De Marzo AM, Platz EA, Meeker AK. Prostate cancer cell telomere length variability and stromal cell telomere length as prognostic markers for metastasis and death. Cancer Discov. 2013 Oct;3(10):1130-41. PMID: 23779129; PMCID: PMC3797255.
  • Joshu CE, Peskoe SB, Heaphy CM, Kenfield SA, Van Blarigan EL, Mucci LA, Giovannucci EL, Stampfer MJ, Yoon G, Lee TK, Hicks JL, De Marzo AM, Meeker AK, Platz EA. Prediagnostic Obesity and Physical Inactivity Are Associated with Shorter Telomere Length in Prostate Stromal Cells. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2015 Aug;8(8):737-42. doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-15-0097. Epub 2015 May 19. PubMed PMID: 25990087; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4526348.
  • Platz EA, Yegnasubramanian S, Liu JO, Chong CR, Shim JS, Kenfield SA, Stampfer MJ, Willett WC, Giovannucci E, Nelson WG. A novel two-stage, transdisciplinary study identifies digoxin as a possible drug for prostate cancer treatment. Cancer Discov. 2011 Jun;1(1):68-77. PMID: 22140654; PMCID: PMC3227223.
  • ARIC Cancer