Cancer Prevention Program
Fred Hutchinson's Public Health Sciences Division houses the Clinical Coordinating Center for the Women's Health Initiative, or WHI, one of the largest National Institutes of Health-funded studies ever conducted in women. This 15-year, multimillion-dollar study, established in 1991, involves more than 160,000 women nationwide, including some 3,500 in Washington.
The Clinical Coordinating Center coordinates the statistical, epidemiologic, nutritional and clinical aspects of the WHI and is responsible for data collection, management and analysis. The Clinical Coordinating Center also plays a key role in clinical, nutritional, laboratory and data quality-assurance activities. Half of the Clinical Coordinating Center resides in the division's Program in Biostatistics, while half resides in the division's Cancer Prevention Research Program.
The WHI has two components: a clinical trial and an observational study. The clinical-trial component, which involves 67,000 postmenopausal women ages 50-79, rigorously compares the benefits and risks of interventions that might help prevent the diseases responsible for most of the mortality and morbidity in older women: cardiovascular disease, breast and colorectal cancers, and fractures. These interventions are hormone-replacement therapy, both estrogen alone and combined estrogen and progestin (to prevent cardiovascular disease/fractures); a low-fat diet (to prevent breast and colorectal cancers); and calcium and vitamin D supplementation (to prevent fractures). The observational-study component of the WHI, which involves 93,000 postmenopausal women ages 50-79, is designed to identify predictors of disease and to minimize disease occurrence.
The WHI is conducted through 40 clinical sites nationwide, including a study clinic in Seattle that is run jointly by Fred Hutchinson and the University of Washington. Each month, about 120 women come into the WHI Seattle Clinical Center for a follow-up appointment and an additional 175 are contacted by phone or mail. These contacts monitor the health and safety of the study participants.
For more information about the Women's Health Initiative, see: www.whi.org