Regina Santella

Regina Santella

Regina Santella

Understanding environmental and genetic factors influencing cancer risk will lead to prevention.
Environmental Health Sciences


630 West 168th St Room 16-410
New York NY 10032
Email: CV:


Dr. Regina Santella's research involves the use of biomarkers for the detection of human exposure to environmental and occupational carcinogens in molecular epidemiology studies to identify causative factors, susceptible populations, and preventive interventions. Her work has allowed the determination of exposure to carcinogens by the measurement of their binding to DNA with highly specific and sensitive immunoassays using monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies that her laboratory has developed. These studies have demonstrated higher levels of DNA damage in those with environmental or occupational exposures and in subjects with breast, lung, and liver cancer compared to controls. The role of genetic susceptibility in cancer risk is also being investigated with an emphasis on DNA repair capacity. Current studies seek to understand the role of environmental/lifestyle factors on epigenetic changes in DNA methylation and microRNA expression, how they impact cancer risk as well as whether epigenetic changes can be used for early diagnosis of cancer. Dr. Santella teaches "Biomarkers in Environmental Health Science".



PhD, 1976, City University of New York
MS, 1971, University of Massachusetts
BS, 1969, Brooklyn College

Mailman Affiliations

Facility Core Director, Columbia Center for Environmental Health and Justice in Northern Manhattan

Editorial Boards

Environmental Health Perspectives

Columbia Affiliations

Co-leader Cancer Population Science Programrkers Shared Resource, Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center
Director Biomarkers Shared Resources, Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center

Other Affiliations

Member, American Association for Cancer Research
Member, Society of Toxicology
Member, American Chemical Society
Member, Sigma Xi

Areas of Expertise

Cancer, Oncogenes, Chemical Hazards, Environmental Risk Factors, Molecular Epidemiology, Epigenetics, Gene-Environment Interactions, Genetic Susceptibility

Select Publications

Wu HC, Shen J, Siegel A, Santella RM. Environmental exposure and clinical correlates of hepatocellular carcinoma in New York City: a case only study. Cancer Causes Control. 2022 Jan;33(1):153-159. doi: 10.1007/s10552-021-01494-2. Epub 2021 Sep 8. PMID: 34498221; PMCID: PMC8786455.
Yoon AJ, Santella RM, Wang S, Kutler DI, Carvajal RD, Philipone E, Wang T, Peters SM, Stewart CR, Momen-Heravi F, Troob S, Levin M, AkhavanAghdam Z, Shackelford AJ, Canterbury CR, Shimonosono M, Hernandez BY, McDowell BD, Nakagawa H. MicroRNA-based cancer mortality risk scoring system and hTERT expression in early-stage oral squamous cell carcinoma. J Oncol 2021.
Yoon AJ, Wang S, Kutler DI, Carvajal RD, Philipone E, Wang T, Peters SM, LaRoche D, Hernandez BY, McDowell BD, Stewart CR, Momen-Heravi F, Santella RM MicroRNA-based risk scoring system to identify early-stage oral squamous cell carcinoma patients at high-risk for cancer-specific mortality. Head Neck. 2020; 42:1699-1712.1002/hed.26089. doi:10.1002/hed. PMID: 31981257
Wu HC, Do C, Andrulis IL, John EM, Daly MB, Buys SS, Chung WK, Knight JA, Bradbury AR, Keegan THM, Schwartz L, Krupska I, Miller RL, Santella RM, Tycko B, Terry MB. Breast Cancer Family History and Allele-Specific DNA Methylation in the Legacy Girls Study. Epigenetics. 2018 Feb 13:1-23. doi: 10.1080/15592294.2018.1435243. [Epub ahead of print] PMID:29436922
Chu YJ, Yang HI, Wu HC, Liu J, Wang LY, Lu SN, Lee MH, Jen CL, You SL, Santella RM, Chen CJ. Aflatoxin B1 exposure increases the risk of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma in chronic hepatitis B virus carriers. Int J Cancer. 2017 Aug 15;141(4):711-720. doi: 10.1002/ijc.30782. Epub 2017 May 26. PMID:28509392
Shen J, LeFave C, Sirosh I, Siegel AB, Tycko B, Santella RM. Integrative epigenomic and genomic filtering for methylation markers in hepatocellular carcinomas. BMC Med Genomics. 2015 Jun 10;8(1):28. doi: 10.1186/s12920-015-0105-1. PMCID:PMC4460673
Shen J, Wang S, Zhang YJ, Kappil M, Wu HC, Kibriya MG, Wang Q, Jasmine F, Ahsan H, Lee PH, Yu MW, Chen CJ, Santella RM Genome-wide DNA methylation profiles in hepatocellular carcinoma Hepatology 55 1799-1808 2012
Zhang, Y-J., Wu, H-C., Shen, J., Ahsan, H., Tsai, W.Y., Yang, H.I., Wang, L.Y., Chen, S.Y., Chen, C.J. and Santella, R.M. Predicting hepatocellular carcinoma by detection of aberrant promoter methylation in serum DNA. Clinical Cancer Research 13 2378-2384 2007
Rossner, P., Gammon, M.D., Terry, M.B., Agrawal, M., Zhang, F.F., Teitelbaum, S.L., Eng, S.M., Gaudet, M.M., Neugut, A. I., and Santella, R.M. Relationship between urinary 15-F2t-isoprostane and 8-oxodeoxyguanosine levels and breast cancer risk Cancer Epi. Biomarkers & Prevention 15 639-44 2006
Kennedy, D.O., Agrawal, M., Shen, J., Terry, M.B., Zhang, F.F., Senie, R.T., Motykiewicz, G., and Santella, R.M. DNA repair capacity of lymphoblastoid cell lines from sisters discordant for breast cancer Journal of the National Cancer Institute 97 127-132 2005

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