Image of Dr. Cerhan in his Lymphoma Epidemiology Lab at Mayo Clinic. Epidemiologic research to improve lymphoma outcomes

Our lab aims to improve outcomes for people with cancers of the blood and lymph nodes, including Hodgkin's lymphoma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Our research focuses on using epidemiologic methods and clinical studies to better understand the causes of lymphoma and leukemia.


Under the direction of principal investigator James R. Cerhan, M.D., Ph.D., the Lymphoma Epidemiology Laboratory at Mayo Clinic uses epidemiologic methods to advance scientific understanding about causes and treatments for cancers of the lymphatic system and bone marrow.

In particular, our lab focuses its research efforts on these cancers:

Although researchers have made progress in understanding what causes these cancers and how to treat them, rates have increased, and there is still much to learn about prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Research goals

One of our lab's major research goals is to learn more about the environmental, lifestyle, genetic and biologic factors that might contribute to causing Hodgkin's lymphoma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia. We use large epidemiologic studies (both cohort and case-control studies) combined with state-of-the-art technology to investigate these factors and understand their underlying mechanisms, with the goal of improved cancer prevention.

Our other major goal is to identify lifestyle, genetic, tumor and treatment factors that are associated with better cancer outcomes and survivorship among patients with lymphoma.

Our lab also maintains an epidemiology data resource that researchers at Mayo Clinic and around the world use to investigate factors that impact lymphoma outcomes and survivorship.

Ongoing studies using this data include:

  • A case-control study analyzing possible causes of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia, such as medical history, pesticide and farming exposures, diet and early-life factors, and genetic susceptibility
  • A cohort study following people with lymphoma over both the long and short term with the goal of improving survival, overall health and quality of life
  • Scientific leadership of a National Cancer Institute study that investigates genes associated with survival of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

About Dr. Cerhan

In addition to directing the Lymphoma Epidemiology Lab at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, Dr. Cerhan is a professor of epidemiology at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science. He also is the Ralph S. and Beverley E. Caulkins Professor of Cancer Research and is a director of the Genetic Epidemiology and Risk Assessment Program of Mayo Clinic Cancer Center.

Dr. Cerhan focuses on epidemiologic lymphoma research and on building and sustaining infrastructure to facilitate lymphoma research, including the Mayo Clinic Biobank and the Mayo Clinic Cancer Registry.