Dr. Cruz-Correa leads a Gastrointestinal Oncology Program at the UPR Cancer Center, which is integrated by a multidisciplinary team of clinicians, basic and clinical scientists, and epidemiologists with an expertise in gastrointestinal cancer. The main focus of the program is to elucidate genetic and epigenetic pathways for colorectal carcinogenesis among Hispanic patients. Evaluation of environmental and nutritional factors as effect-modifiers and gene-environmental interactions is an active investigative priority. Dr. Cruz-Correa and her team developed the first population-based familial colorectal cancer registry in Puerto Rico that currently has more than 500 colorectal cancer patients with detailed epidemiological and environmental information. A second research area is chemoprevention, and Dr. Cruz-Correa leads an NCI-sponsored clinical trial evaluating the role of bioflavinoids (curcumin) as a chemopreventive agent in adult patients with Familial Adenomatous polyposis (FAP) and is a co-investigator evaluating the use of celecoxib in pediatric patients with FAP.
In addition, her group is a member of the Polyp Prevention Study Group (11-site national consortia, lead by Dr. John Baron, Dartmouth University) participating in several clinical trials aimed at evaluating different compounds for chemoprevention of sporadic colorectal adenomas. Dr. Cruz-Correa’s research is sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and other private foundations including Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Cancer Research Prevention Foundation.