University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI)

Biobehavioral Factors in Cancer Prevention

CigaretteCigarette smoking continues to be the most preventable cause of cancer world-wide. Therefore, biobehavioral investigations of smoking behavior continue to be a major focus of research in the Program. These efforts include studies using animal models, experimental studies with humans under controlled laboratory conditions, naturalistic studies of smokers using ecological momentary sampling approaches to investigate smoking triggers in the course of an individual's normal daily routine, as well as clinical trials of new interventions to help smokers succeed in their cessation efforts.

Selected Publications

  • Exposure to smoking in movies has been linked to adolescent smoking uptake. However, beyond linking amount of exposure to smoking in movies with adolescent smoking, whether the way that smoking is portrayed in movies matters for influencing adolescent smoking has not been investigated. Results show that, compared with participants exposed to movie scenes depicting characters smoking with no clear motive, adolescents exposed to movie scenes depicting characters smoking for social motives or for relaxation motives had significant increases in their future smoking risk (Shadel WG et.al.. 2011 Nov 8. Epub ahead of print).
  • Non-daily intermittent smokers (ITS) are common, but their cessation behavior remains elusive. A BOP study shows that the ITS group was more likely to make a quit attempt than were DS (daily smokers), and to quit smoking, but ITS had low cessation rates, which challenges their widely assumed non-addicted status (Tindle HA, Shiffman S. Am J Public Health 101:e1-3, 2011).
  • The double-blind, prospective, National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP) Breast Cancer Prevention Trial (BCPT) showed a 50% reduction in the risk of breast cancer for patients receiving tamoxifen versus those taking a placebo, yet many women at risk of developing breast cancer do not adhere to the 5-year course. In a recent study, alcohol use was associated with reduced full adherence at 1 month. Smoking, age, college education, tamoxifen assignment, and breast cancer risk predicted adequate adherence at 36 months. There were no significant associations with obesity or physical activity (Land SR, et. al., Breast Cancer Prevention Trial. Cancer Prev Res (Phila) 4:1393-400, 2011).
Conklin, Cynthia, PhD
Psychiatry
Sayette, Michael, PhD
Psychology
Donny, Eric, PhD
Psychology
Schmidt, John, PhD, LP
Medicine
Levine, Michele, PhD
Psychiatry
Shadel, William, PhD
Psychology
Perkins, Kenneth, PhD
Psychiatry
Shiffman, Saul, PhD
Psychology
Primack, Brian, MD, EdM
Medicine