Francesmary Modugno, MS, PhD, MPH
Professor, Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, Director, Gynecologic Cancer Biospecimen and Data Bank Site Co-Leader, RPCI/UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Ovarian Cancer SPORE
My work focuses on ways that women can reduce their risk of developing cancer through the lifestyle and behavioral choices they make. I aim to empower women with researched-backed data to so that they can work together with their clinicians to optimize their health.
Francesmary Modugno, MS, PhD, MPH
Research in Brief
Dr Modugno is a molecular epidemiologist focused on women’s cancers, especially ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer is a highly fatal disease. It is the leading cause of death from a gynecologic malignancy. Over the last thirty years there has been little advancement in understanding the underlying causes of the disease. Beyond bearing children and using oral contraceptives (OCs), few protective factors against the disease have emerged. Moreover, beyond carriage of a mutated BRCA1/2 gene, there are few well-established risk factors for the disease. Through a series of NIH and DOD grants, Dr Modugno’s early work examined the underlying epidemiology of ovarian cancer with a focus on genetic and hormonal factors. Dr Modugno was among the first to show a link between endometriosis and ovarian cancer and that OCs may afford substantial protection for these women, although OC use is less in this population. Although there are several subtypes of ovarian cancer, in general there are no differences in conventional risk factors among the various subtypes. However, pathologically and clinically, we know that the different subtypes have different origins and outcomes. Dr Modugno’s early work began to identify factors differentiating the various subtypes epidemiologically.
As the Principal Investigator of the HOPE study, one of the largest studies of ovarian cancer risk and prognosis ever conducted in the US (2003-2008), Dr Modugno was one of the first members of the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium (OCAC), a multinational consortium of ovarian cancer investigators that pools data and resources to investigate ovarian cancer risk and prognostic factors. After returning from family leave, Dr Modugno has resumed her research questions as an active member in OCAC. More recently, Dr Modugno’s research has focused on immunological factors in ovarian cancer risk and survival.
Dr. Modugno’s major peer and community outreach effort has been as the founder and Course Director of the Ovarian Cancer Symposium series, which brought together scientists, policy makers, funding agencies, and advocates to address the key question: What are the barriers to improving ovarian cancer prevention and outcome?
Dr. Modugno directs the Women's Cancer Biome Program, which is focused on identifying the relationship between the microbiome and cancer/cancer prevention in women. Her research is also exploring the role of both humoral and cellular immunity in ovarian cancer outcomes.
Dr Modugno oversees the Gynecologic Oncology Biospecimen and Data Bank. The repository collects fresh tissue and biospecimens (blood, urine, ascites, etc) on women with suspected gynecologic malignancies as well as on healthy women per investigator protocols. The repository also banks specimens for retrospective studies. Resources of the repository are available to researchers interested in gynecologic oncology or related research.
Dr. Modugno is an active member of the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium (OCAC). She serves as a member of both the Epidemiology Working Group and Steering Committee and is Chair of the Data Access Committee. The consortium makes available to members and their colleagues the data and biospecimens from dozens of ovarian cancer studies throughout the world. https://ocac.ccge.medschl.cam.ac.uk/
Dr. Modugno is also an active member of the Ovarian Tumor Tissue Association, where serves as the chair of the Data Access Committee. OTTA is a forum for the study of ovarian tumors and especially the relationship between tumor biology and prognosis. https://ottaconsortium.org/
Dr Modugno co-led the Pittsburgh site for the RPCI/HCC Ovarian Cancer SPORE (http://upci.upmc.edu/spore/ovarian/). In addition, she developed the Pathology and Biospecimen Core, which supported dozens of federal, state, foundation, and internal projects. She also oversaw the Developmental and Career Enhancement Programs, which provide seed funding for new project development and led to a return on investment of over $20 for each dollar invested in the program. The resources and infrastructure developed by Dr. Modugno during her tenure as a RPCI/HCC SPORE co-leader were leveraged to support the subsequent independent HCC Ovarian SPORE submission.
- Cunningham JM, Winham SJ, Wang C, Weiglt B, Fu Z, Armasu SM, McCauley BM, Brand AH, Chiew YE, Elishaev E, Gourley C, Kennedy CJ, Laslavic A, Lester J, Piskorz A, Sekowska M, Brenton JD, Churchman M, DeFazio A, Drapkin R, Elias KM, Huntsman DG, Karlan BY, Köbel M, Konner J, Lawrenson K, Papaemmanuil E, Bolton KL, Modugno F^, Goode EL^. DNA Methylation Profiles of Ovarian Clear Cell Carcinoma. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2022 Jan;31(1):132-141. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-21-0677. ^co-senior authors
- Fu Z, Kelley JL, Odunsi K, Edwards RP, Moysich K, Modugno F. Gestational weight gain and risk of epithelial ovarian cancer. Cancer Causes Control. 2021 May;32(5):537- 545. doi: 10.1007/s10552-021-01405-5. PMID: 33616777.
- Stenzel AE, Abrams SI, Joseph JM, Goode EL, Tario JD Jr, Wallace PK, Kaur D, Adamson AK, Buas MF, Lugade AA, Laslavic A, Taylor SE, Orr B, Edwards RP, Elishaev E, Odunsi K, Mongiovi JM, Etter JL, Winham SJ, Kaufmann SH,Modugno F^, Moysich KB^. Circulating CD14+ HLA-DRlo/- monocytic cells as a biomarker for epithelial ovarian cancer progression. Am J Reprod Immunol. 2021 Mar;85(3):e13343. doi: 10.1111/aji.13343. PMID: 32905653. ^co-senior authors
- Modugno F, Fu Z, Jordan SJ, Group A, Chang-Claude J, Fortner RT, Goodman MT, Moysich KB, Schildkraut JM, Berchuck A, Bandera EV, Qin B, Sutphen R, McLaughlin JR, Menon U, Ramus SJ, Gayther SA, Gentry-Maharaj A, Karpinskyj C, Pearce CL, Wu AH, Risch HA, Webb PM. Offspring sex and risk of epithelial ovarian cancer: a multinational pooled analysis of 12 case-control studies. Eur J Epidemiol. 2020 Nov;35(11):1025-1042. doi: 10.1007/s10654-020-00682-9. PMID: 32959149.
- Babic A, Sasamoto N, Rosner BA, Tworoger SS, Jordan SJ, Risch HA, Harris HR, Rossing MA, Doherty JA, Fortner RT, Chang-Claude J, Goodman MT, Thompson PJ, Moysich KB, Ness RB, Kjaer SK, Jensen A, Schildkraut JM, Titus LJ, Cramer DW, Bandera EV, Qin B, Sieh W, McGuire V, Sutphen R, Pearce CL, Wu AH, Pike M, Webb PM, Modugno F^, Terry KL^. Association Between Breastfeeding and Ovarian Cancer Risk. JAMA Oncol. 2020 Jun 1;6(6):e200421. doi: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2020.0421. PMID: 32239218. ^co-senior authors
- Fu Z, Moysich K, Ness RB, Modugno F. Gender of offspring and risk of ovarian cancer: the HOPE study. Cancer Epidemiology. 2020 Feb;64:101646. doi:10.1016/j.canep.2019.101646. PMID: 31835157.
- Minlikeeva AN, Cannioto R, Jensen A, Kjaer SK, Jordan SJ, Diergaarde B, Szender JB, Odunsi K, Almohanna H, Mayor P, Starbuck K, Zsiros E, Bandera EV, Cramer DW, Doherty JA, DeFazio A; Australian Ovarian Cancer Study Group, Edwards R, Goode EL, Goodman MT, Høgdall E, Matsuo K, Mizuno M, Nagle CM, Ness RB, Paddock LE, Pearce CL, Risch HA, Rossing MA, Terry KL, Wu AH, Modugno F, Webb PM, Moysich KB; Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium. Joint exposure to smoking, excessive weight, and physical inactivity and survival of ovarian cancer patients, evidence from the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium. Cancer Causes Control. 2019 May;30(5):537-547.
- Modugno F, Goughnour S, Wallack D, Edwards RP, Odunsi K, Kelley JL, Moysich K, Ness R, Brooks M. Breastfeeding factors and risk of epithelial ovarian cancer. Gynecologic Oncology. 2019. April 153(1);116-122.
- Melnov S, Murphy P, Foley T, Nadyrov E, Kipen V, Leushev B,Modugno F. Somatic hematopoietic TP53 mosaicism in women with breast cancer exposed to ionizing radiation. Breast J. 2018 May;24(5):852-854.
- Minlikeeva AN, Moysich KB, Mayor PC, Etter JL, Cannioto RA, Ness RB, Starbuck K, Edwards RP, Segal BH, Lele S, Odunsi K, Diergaarde B, Modugno F. Anthropometric characteristics and ovarian cancer risk and survival. Cancer Causes and Control. 2018 Feb;29(2):201-212.
- Wang J, Heng YJ, Eliassen AH, Tamimi RM, Hazra A, Carey VJ, Ambrosone CB, de Andrade VP, Brufsky A, Couch FJ, King TA, Modugno F, Vachon CM, Hunter DJ, Beck AH, Hankinson SE. Alcohol consumption and breast tumor gene expression. Breast Cancer Res. 2017 Sep 12;19(1):108.
- Liao S, Hartmaier RJ, McGuire KP, Puhalla SL, Luthra S, Chandran UR, Ma T, Bhargava R, Modugno F, Davidson NE, Benz S, Lee AV, Tseng GC, Oesterreich S. The molecular landscape of premenopausal breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res. 2015 Aug 7;17:104.
- Collaborative Group On Epidemiological Studies Of Ovarian Cancer, Beral V, Gaitskell K, Hermon C, Modugno F, Moser K, Reeves G, Peto R. Menopausal hormone use and ovarian cancer risk: individual participant meta-analysis of 52 epidemiological studies. Lancet. 2015 May 9;385(9980):1835-42.
- Pearce CL, Stram DO, Ness RB…Modugno F, et al. Population distribution of lifetime risk of ovarian cancer in the United States. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2015 Apr;24(4):671-6.
- Lee AW, Tyrer JP, Doherty JA…Modugno F, et al. Evaluating the ovarian cancer gonadotropin hypothesis: a candidate gene study. Gynecol Oncol. 2015 Mar;136(3):542-8.
- Lee AW, Templeman C, Stram DA, Beesley J, Tyrer J, Berchuck A, Pharoah PP, Chenevix-Trench G, Pearce CL; Modugno F, Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium. Evidence of a genetic link between endometriosis and ovarian cancer. Fertil Steril. 2015 Feb;105(1):35-43.
- Lu Y, Cuellar G, Painter JN,Modugno F, et al. Shared genetics underlying epidemiological association between endometriosis and ovarian cancer. Hum Mol Genet. 2015 Jan;24(20):5955-64.
- Modugno F, Laskey R, Smith AL, Andersen CL, Haluska P, Oesterreich S. Hormone response in ovarian cancer: time to reconsider as a clinical target? Endocr Relat Cancer. 2012 Nov 9;19(6):R255-79.
- Modugno F, Edwards RP. Ovarian cancer: prevention, detection, and treatment of the disease and its recurrence. Molecular mechanisms and personalized medicine meeting report. Int J Gynecol Cancer. 2012 Oct;22(8):S45-57.
- Modugno F, Ness RB, Chen C, Weiss NS. Inflammation and endometrial cancer: a hypothesis. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2005 Dec;14(12):2840-7.
- Modugno F, Ness RB, Allen GO, Schildkraut JM, Davis FG, Goodman MT. Oral contraceptive use, reproductive history, and risk of epithelial ovarian cancer in women with and without endometriosis. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2004 Sep;191(3):733-40.
- Modugno F, Knoll C, Kanbour-Shakir A, Romkes M. A potential role for the estrogen-metabolizing cytochrome P450 enzymes in human breast carcinogenesis. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2003 Dec;82(3):191-7.
- Modugno F, Moslehi R, Ness RB, Nelson DB, Belle S, Kant JA, Wheeler JE, Wonderlick A, Fishman D, Karlan B, Risch H, Cramer DW, Dube MP, Narod SA. Reproductive factors and ovarian cancer risk in Jewish BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers (United States). Cancer Causes Control. 2003 Jun;14(5):439-46.
- For additional publications, visit Pubmed.