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Kala Visvanathan, M.B.B.S., M.H.S.

Photo of Dr. Kala Visvanathan, M.B.B.S., M.H.S.

Director of Clinical Cancer Genetics and Prevention Service, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center

Joint Appointment in Oncology


Expertise: Breast Cancer, Medical Oncology, Ovarian Cancer

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Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center


401 N. Broadway Baltimore, MD 21231 map

Phone: 410-614-1112 | Fax: 410-614-2632



  • Director of Clinical Cancer Genetics and Prevention Service, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center
  • Joint Appointment in Oncology



  • MBBS, Faculty of Medicine University of Sydney (1989)


  • Royal Prince Alfred Hospital / Medical Oncology & Hematology (1996)


  • Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine / Oncology (2003)

Research & Publications

Clinical Trial Keywords

high risk for breast cancer and ovarian cancer

Selected Publications

Gallicchio, L.; Miller, S.R.; Visvanathan, K.; Lewis, L.M.; Babus, J.; Zacur, H.; Flaws, J.A. Cigarette smoking, estrogen levels, and hot flashes in midlife women. Maturitas. 2006 Jan 20;53(2):133-143.

Platz, E.A.; Leitzmann, M.F.; Visvanathan, K.; Rimm, E.B.; Stampfer, M.J.; Willett, W.C.; Giovannucci, E. Statin drugs and risk of advanced prostate cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2006 Dec 20;98(24):1819-1825.

Visvanathan, K.; Santor, D.; Ali, S.Z.; Hong, I.S.; Davidson, N.E.; Helzlsouer, K.J. The importance of cytologic intrarater and interrater reproducibility: the case of ductal lavage. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2006 Dec;15(12):2553-2556.

Visvanathan, K.; Sukumar, S.; Davidson, N.E. Epigenetic biomarkers and breast cancer: cause for optimism. Clin Cancer Res. 2006 Nov 15;12(22):6591-6593.

Visvanathan, K.; Warren, J. Retrograde stenting of transplant ureters using a ureteral access sheath. The Canadian journal of urology. 2006 Jun;13(3):3156-3157.

Chang, J.J.; Thompson, A.J.; Visvanathan, K.; Kent, S.J.; Cameron, P.U.; Wightman, F.; Desmond, P.; Locarnini, S.A.; Lewin, S.R. The phenotype of hepatitis B virus-specific T cells differ in the liver and blood in chronic hepatitis B virus infection. Hepatology. 2007 Nov;46(5):1332-1340.

Cornblatt, B.S.; Ye, L.; Dinkova-Kostova, A.T.; Erb, M.; Fahey, J.W.; Singh, N.K.; Chen, M.S.; Stierer, T.; Garrett-Mayer, E.; Argani, P.; Davidson, N.E.; Talalay, P.; Kensler, T.W.; Visvanathan, K. Preclinical and clinical evaluation of sulforaphane for chemoprevention in the breast. Carcinogenesis. 2007 Jul;28(7):1485-1490.

Gallicchio, L.; Visvanathan, K.; Burke, A.; Hoffman, S.C.; Helzlsouer, K.J. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and the risk of developing breast cancer in a population-based prospective cohort study in Washington County, MD. Int J Cancer. 2007 Jul 1;121(1):211-215.

Jorgensen, T.J.; Visvanathan, K.; Ruczinski, I.; Thuita, L.; Hoffman, S.; Helzlsouer, K.J. Breast cancer risk is not associated with polymorphic forms of xeroderma pigmentosum genes in a cohort of women from Washington County, Maryland. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2007 Jan;101(1):65-71.

Pathirana, R.D.; O''Brien-Simpson, N.M.; Visvanathan, K.; Hamilton, J.A.; Reynolds, E.C. Flow cytometric analysis of adherence of Porphyromonas gingivalis to oral epithelial cells. Infect Immun. 2007 May;75(5):2484-2492.

Thompson, A.; Locarnini, S.; Visvanathan, K. The natural history and the staging of chronic hepatitis B: time for reevaluation of the virus-host relationship based on molecular virology and immunopathogenesis considerations? Gastroenterology. 2007 Sep;133(3):1031-1035.

Visvanathan, K.; Crum, R.M.; Strickland, P.T.; You, X.; Ruczinski, I.; Berndt, S.I.; Alberg, A.J.; Hoffman, S.C.; Comstock, G.W.; Bell, D.A.; Helzlsouer, K.J. Alcohol dehydrogenase genetic polymorphisms, low-to-moderate alcohol consumption, and risk of breast cancer. Alcoholism, clinical and experimental research. 2007 Mar;31(3):467-476.

Visvanathan, K.; Santor, D.; Ali, S.Z.; Brewster, A.; Arnold, A.; Armstrong, D.K.; Davidson, N.E.; Helzlsouer, K.J. The reliability of nipple aspirate and ductal lavage in women at increased risk for breast cancer-a potential tool for breast cancer risk assessment and biomarker evaluation. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2007 May;16(5):950-955.

Bransfield, L.A.; Rennie, A.; Visvanathan, K.; Odwin, S.A.; Kensler, T.W.; Yager, J.D.; Friesen, M.D.; Groopman, J.D. Formation of two novel estrogen guanine adducts and HPLC/MS detection of 4-hydroxyestradiol-N7-guanine in human urine. Chemical research in toxicology. 2008 Aug;21(8):1622-1630.
Kurman, R.J.; Visvanathan, K.; Roden, R.; Wu, T.C.; Shih Ie, M. Early detection and treatment of ovarian cancer: shifting from early stage to minimal volume of disease based on a new model of carcinogenesis. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Apr;198(4):351-356.

Sutcliffe, S.; Visvanathan, K.; Platz, E.A. Use of Epidemiology in Oncology. In: Abeloff, M.D.; Armitage, J.O.; Niederhuber, J.E.; Kastan, M.B.; McKenna, G., editors. 4th ed, Clinical Oncology. Philadelphia: Elsevier Inc.; 2008.

van Bemmel, D.M.; Visvanathan, K.; Beane Freeman, L.E.; Coble, J.; Hoppin, J.A.; Alavanja, M.C. S-ethyl-N,N-dipropylthiocarbamate exposure and cancer incidence among male pesticide applicators in the agricultural health study: a prospective cohort. Environ Health Perspect. 2008 Nov;116(11):1541-1546.

Bergeron-Sawitzke, J.; Gold, B.; Olsh, A.; Schlotterbeck, S.; Lemon, K.; Visvanathan, K.; Allikmets, R.; Dean, M. Multilocus analysis of age-related macular degeneration. Eur J Hum Genet. 2009 Sep;17(9):1190-1199.

Berrington de Gonzalez, A.; Berg, C.D.; Visvanathan, K.; Robson, M. Estimated risk of radiation-induced breast cancer from mammographic screening for young BRCA mutation carriers. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2009 Feb 4;101(3):205-209.

Horne, K.C.; Li, X.; Jacobson, L.P.; Palella, F.; Jamieson, B.D.; Margolick, J.B.; Martinson, J.; Turkozu, V.; Visvanathan, K.; Woolley, I.J. Duffy antigen polymorphisms do not alter progression of HIV in African Americans in the MACS cohort. Cell Host Microbe. 2009 May 8;5(5):415-417; author reply 418-419.

Jorgensen, T.J.; Helzlsouer, K.J.; Clipp, S.C.; Bolton, J.H.; Crum, R.M.; Visvanathan, K. DNA repair gene variants associated with benign breast disease in high cancer risk women. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2009 Jan;18(1):346-350.

Nassar, H.; Sharafaldeen, B.; Visvanathan, K.; Visscher, D. Ductal carcinoma in situ in African American versus Caucasian American women: analysis of clinicopathologic features and outcome. Cancer. 2009 Jul 15;115(14):3181-3188.

Tsilidis, K.K.; Helzlsouer, K.J.; Smith, M.W.; Grinberg, V.; Hoffman-Bolton, J.; Clipp, S.L.; Visvanathan, K.; Platz, E.A. Association of common polymorphisms in IL10, and in other genes related to inflammatory response and obesity with colorectal cancer. Cancer Causes Control. 2009 Nov;20(9):1739-1751.

Visvanathan, K.; Chlebowski, R.T.; Hurley, P.; Col, N.F.; Ropka, M.; Collyar, D.; Morrow, M.; Runowicz, C.; Pritchard, K.I.; Hagerty, K.; Arun, B.; Garber, J.; Vogel, V.G.; Wade, J.L.; Brown, P.; Cuzick, J.; Kramer, B.S.; Lippman, S.M. American society of clinical oncology clinical practice guideline update on the use of pharmacologic interventions including tamoxifen, raloxifene, and aromatase inhibition for breast cancer risk reduction. J Clin Oncol. 2009 Jul 1;27(19):3235-3258.

Wang, L.; Brune, K.A.; Visvanathan, K.; Laheru, D.; Herman, J.; Wolfgang, C.; Schulick, R.; Cameron, J.L.; Goggins, M.; Hruban, R.H.; Klein, A.P. Elevated cancer mortality in the relatives of patients with pancreatic cancer. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2009 Nov;18(11):2829-2834.

Gross, A.L.; Kurman, R.J.; Vang, R.; Shih Ie, M.; Visvanathan, K. Precursor lesions of high-grade serous ovarian carcinoma: morphological and molecular characteristics. J Oncol. 2010;2010:126295.

Moorman, P.G.; Iversen, E.S.; Marcom, P.K.; Marks, J.R.; Wang, F.; Lee, E.; Ursin, G.; Rebbeck, T.R.; Domchek, S.M.; Arun, B.; Susswein, L.; Isaacs, C.; Garber, J.E.; Visvanathan, K.; Griffin, C.A.; Sutphen, R.; Brzosowicz, J.; Gruber, S.; Finkelstein, D.M.; Schildkraut, J.M. Evaluation of established breast cancer risk factors as modifiers of BRCA1 or BRCA2: a multi-center case-only analysis. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2010 Nov;124(2):441-451.

Schonfeld, S.J.; Pee, D.; Greenlee, R.T.; Hartge, P.; Lacey, J.V., Jr.; Park, Y.; Schatzkin, A.; Visvanathan, K.; Pfeiffer, R.M. Effect of changing breast cancer incidence rates on the calibration of the Gail model. J Clin Oncol. 2010 May 10;28(14):2411-2417.

Ueda, S.M.; Yap, K.L.; Davidson, B.; Tian, Y.; Murthy, V.; Wang, T.L.; Visvanathan, K.; Kuhajda, F.P.; Bristow, R.E.; Zhang, H.; Shih Ie, M. Expression of Fatty Acid Synthase Depends on NAC1 and Is Associated with Recurrent Ovarian Serous Carcinomas. J Oncol. 2010;2010:285191.

Wolpin, B.M.; Kraft, P.; Xu, M.; Steplowski, E.; Olsson, M.L.; Arslan, A.A.; Bueno-de-Mesquita, H.B.; Gross, M.; Helzlsouer, K.; Jacobs, E.J.; LaCroix, A.; Petersen, G.; Stolzenberg-Solomon, R.Z.; Zheng, W.; Albanes, D.; Allen, N.E.; Amundadottir, L.; Austin, M.A.; Boutron-Ruault, M.C.; Buring, J.E.; Canzian, F.; Chanock, S.J.; Gaziano, J.M.; Giovannucci, E.L.; Hallmans, G.; Hankinson, S.E.; Hoover, R.N.; Hunter, D.J.; Hutchinson, A.; Jacobs, K.B.; Kooperberg, C.; Mendelsohn, J.B.; Michaud, D.S.; Overvad, K.; Patel, A.V.; Sanchez, M.J.; Sansbury, L.; Shu, X.O.; Slimani, N.; Tobias, G.S.; Trichopoulos, D.; Vineis, P.; Visvanathan, K.; Virtamo, J.; Wactawski-Wende, J.; Watters, J.; Yu, K.; Zeleniuch-Jacquotte, A.; Hartge, P.; Fuchs, C.S. Variant ABO blood group alleles, secretor status, and risk of pancreatic cancer: results from the pancreatic cancer cohort consortium. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2010 Dec;19(12):3140-3149.

Zheng, W.; Danforth, K.N.; Tworoger, S.S.; Goodman, M.T.; Arslan, A.A.; Patel, A.V.; McCullough, M.L.; Weinstein, S.J.; Kolonel, L.N.; Purdue, M.P.; Shu, X.O.; Snyder, K.; Steplowski, E.; Visvanathan, K.; Yu, K.; Zeleniuch-Jacquotte, A.; Gao, Y.T.; Hankinson, S.E.; Harvey, C.; Hayes, R.B.; Henderson, B.E.; Horst, R.L.; Helzlsouer, K.J. Circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D and risk of epithelial ovarian cancer: Cohort Consortium Vitamin D Pooling Project of Rarer Cancers. Am J Epidemiol. 2010 Jul 1;172(1):70-80.
Heaphy, C.M.; Subhawong, A.P.; Gross, A.L.; Konishi, Y.; Kouprina, N.; Argani, P.; Visvanathan, K.; Meeker, A.K. Shorter telomeres in luminal B, HER-2 and triple-negative breast cancer subtypes. Mod Pathol. 2011 Nov 5;24(2):194-200.

Patient Ratings & Comments

The Patient Rating score is an average of all responses to physician related questions on the national CG-CAHPS Medical Practice patient experience survey through Press Ganey. Responses are measured on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best score. Comments are also gathered from our CG-CAHPS Medical Practice Survey through Press Ganey and displayed in their entirety. Patients are de-identified for confidentiality and patient privacy.

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