Ying Liu, MD, PhD, MPH

Assistant Professor, Division of Public Health Sciences
Department of Surgery
(314) 747-5601

Research Overview
Dr. Liu is an epidemiologist whose primary research interests are in the areas of breast cancer prevention and prognosis. Specifically, Dr. Liu’s current research involves (1) identifying early life factors (e.g., growth and developmental factors, dietary factors) in childhood and adolescence that are associated with risk of breast cancer and its intermediate risk markers, (2) identifying biomarkers expressed in epithelial and stromal cells that predict the prognosis of benign and premalignant breast diseases including DCIS and benign breast disease, and (3) characterizing the pathology of invasive breast cancer in women with a prior history of benign breast disease. Using the biological markers to optimize the AJCC staging system for predicting breast cancer prognosis is also part of Dr. Liu’s research focus. Dr. Liu is collaborating with pathologists to evaluate how histological and biological diversity within individual cases of benign and premalignant breast diseases including DCIS and columnar cell hyperplasia influences subsequent breast cancer risk. In addition, Dr. Liu participated in a longitudinal quality of life study in women with DCIS and early invasive breast cancer in which she evaluated patients’ perceived risk of recurrence and fear of recurrence and their relations to health behaviors and psychological outcomes.

Research Support
3380-80323A  (Liu, Y)                                        3/1/11 ―  6/31/12
BJH Foundation Cancer Frontier Fund
Characterization of the stroma from ductal carcinoma in situ and clinical outcome
The specific aim of this study is to evaluate a novel set of the proteins expressed in the DCIS-associated stroma in relation to the risk of invasive progression. 
Role: Principal Investigator 
3380-80323  (Colditz, GA)                                  3/1/11 ― 6/31/12
BJH Foundation Cancer Frontier Fund
Adolescent diet and risk of proliferative benign breast disease
This study is to investigate the relationship between adolescent alcohol and fiber consumption and the risk of proliferative benign breast disease.
Role: Co-Investigator

Recent Publications
Liu Y, Tamimi RM, Berkey CS, Willett WC, Collins LC, Schnitt SJ, Connolly JL,Colditz GA. Intakes of alcohol and folate during adolescence and risk of proliferative benign breast disease. Pediatrics. 2012; 129(5):e1192-8. PubMed PMID: 22492774, PMCID: PMC3866773.

Jeffe DB, Pérez M, Liu Y, Collins KK, Aft RL, Schootman M. Quality of life over time in women diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ, early-stage invasive breast cancer, and age-matched controls. Breast cancer research and treatment. 2012; 134(1):379-91. NIHMSID: NIHMS405138 PubMed PMID: 22484800, PMCID: PMC3448489.

Liu Y
, Colditz GA, Rosner B, Berkey CS, Collins LC, Schnitt SJ, Connolly JL, Chen WY, Willett WC, Tamimi RM. Alcohol intake between menarche and first pregnancy: a prospective study of breast cancer risk. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2013; 105(20):1571-8. PubMed PMID: 23985142, PMCID: PMC3797023.

Liu Y
, Colditz GA, Cotterchio M, Boucher BA, Kreiger N. Adolescent dietary fiber, vegetable fat, vegetable protein, and nut intakes and breast cancer risk. Breast cancer research and treatment. 2014; 145(2):461-70. NIHMSID: NIHMS586813 PubMed PMID: 24737167, PMCID: PMC4079116.

Liu Y, Colditz GA, Gehlert S, Goodman M. Racial disparities in risk of second breast tumors after ductal carcinoma in situ. Breast cancer research and treatment. 2014; 148(1):163-73. NIHMSID: NIHMS674772 PubMed PMID: 25261293, PMCID: PMC4386599.

Islami F, Liu Y, Jemal A, Zhou J, Weiderpass E, Colditz G, Boffetta P, Weiss M. Breastfeeding and breast cancer risk by receptor status--a systematic review and meta-analysis. Annals of oncology : official journal of the European Society for Medical Oncology / ESMO. 2015; 26(12):2398-407. PubMed PMID: 26504151, PMCID: PMC4855244.

Liu Y, Tobias DK, Sturgeon KM, Rosner B, Malik V, Cespedes E, Joshi AD, Eliassen AH, Colditz GA. Physical activity from menarche to first pregnancy and risk of breast cancer. International journal of cancer. 2016; PubMed PMID: 27130486.

Liu Y, Tamimi RM, Collins LC, Schnitt SJ, Gilmore HL, Connolly JL, Colditz GA. The association between vascular endothelial growth factor expression in invasive breast cancer and survival varies with intrinsic subtypes and use of adjuvant systemic therapy: results from the Nurses' Health Study. Breast cancer research and treatment. 2011; 129(1):175-84. NIHMSID: NIHMS458239 PubMed PMID: 21390493, PMCID: PMC3640508.

Liu Y, Pérez M, Schootman M, Aft RL, Gillanders WE, Jeffe DB. Correlates of fear of cancer recurrence in women with ductal carcinoma in situ and early invasive breast cancer. Breast cancer research and treatment. 2011; 130(1):165-73. NIHMSID: NIHMS338434 PubMed PMID: 21553295, PMCID: PMC3227390.

Liu Y, Schloemann DT, Lian M, Colditz GA. Accelerated partial breast irradiation through brachytherapy for ductal carcinoma in situ: factors influencing utilization and risks of second breast tumors. Breast cancer research and treatment. 2015; 151(1):199-208. NIHMSID: NIHMS682969 PubMed PMID: 25893591, PMCID: PMC4437586.


  • Reviewer, Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, 2011-
  • Reviewer, Psycho-Oncology, 2011-
  • Reviewer, International Journal of Public Health, 2012-