Elizabeth A. Platz, Sc.D., M.P.H.

Headshot of Elizabeth A. Platz
  • Co-Leader, Cancer Prevention and Control, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Joint Appointment in Oncology

Research Interests

Epidemiology; Prostate cancer epidemiology; modifiable factors that influence risk and prognosis; circulating and tissue-based biomarkers of risk and prognosis. ...read more


Elizabeth A. Platz, ScD, MPH is a Professor and the Martin D. Abeloff, MD Scholar in Cancer Prevention in the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she directs the NCI-funded (T32) training program in Cancer Epidemiology, Prevention, and Control. She also co-leads the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins and holds joint appointments in the Department of Oncology, and the Department of Urology and the James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She received her doctorate in epidemiology from and was a post-doctoral fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health. A major focus of her work is the use of molecular and genetic epidemiology approaches to understand the mechanisms underlying prostate incidence and progression. She conducts her work with an eye toward translation of findings into prevention and treatment strategies. Known for her leadership of multidisciplinary prostate cancer research teams, she is at the forefront of epidemiologic research on the role of inflammation, a target for prevention, in the development of prostate cancer, and on telomere length as a prognostic marker for poor outcome after treatment for prostate cancer. She is the editor-in-chief of the American Association for Cancer Research’s Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention. She is an elected (2019) Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) “For distinguished contributions to our understanding of the roles of genetics, epigenetics, and environmental factors in cancer epidemiology.” In addition to her academic efforts, she is appointed by the governor to the Maryland State Council on Cancer Control, and is a Steering Committee member and former chair of the Maryland Cancer Collaborative.

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  • Co-Leader, Cancer Prevention and Control, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Joint Appointment in Oncology
  • Joint Appointment in Urology

Departments / Divisions

Centers & Institutes

Research & Publications

Research Summary

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.

Clinical Trials

Learn more about clinical trials at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center.

Selected Publications

View all on PubMed

Michaud DS, Lu J, Peacock-Villada AY, Barber JR, Joshu CE, Prizment AE, Beck JD, Offenbacher S, Platz EA. Periodontal Disease Assessed Using Clinical Dental Measurements and Cancer Risk in the ARIC Study. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2018 Aug 1;110(8):843-854. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djx278. PubMed PMID: 29342298; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6093423

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

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

Contact for Research Inquiries

Email me Phone: 410-614-9674

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