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About me

Shaohua Xie is an Assistant Professor in Cancer Epidemiology working in the research group of Upper Gastrointestinal Surgery, Department of Molecular medicine and Surgery. 

Shaohua Xie is a member of the Reference Group for International Affairs of Karolinska Institutet and has been mainly involved in alumni activities.

Research description

My research interests focus on cancer epidemiology. I am currently working on the epidemiology of esophageal carncer, particularly that of esophageal adenocarcinoma. 

I am also interested in the epidemiology of other types of cancers, such as nasopharyngeal carcinoma and thyroid cancer, as well as environmental health issues.


The Mysterious Male Predominance in Esophageal Adenocarcinoma

Esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) is characterized by a marked and enigmatic male predominance in incidence. Our recent analysis shows that the male-to-female ratio in EAC incidence is as high as 7.6 in Northern America and 6 in Europe. Such a striking sex difference does not seem to be explained by established risk factors, given that the prevalence of the etiological factors and the strengths of associations between these factors and EAC risk are similar between the sexes. Sex hormonal factors may play a role in the development of EAC; estrogenic exposures may prevent such development, while androgens might increase the risk of EAC. My research has been focused on disentangling this mystery of the male predominance in EAC and the role of sex hormonal exposures in the development of EAC, with different epidemiological approaches, i.e., descriptive, case-control, and cohort designs. Particularly, we are now establishing a nationwide population-based cohort consisting of users of various medications with sex hormonal effects. This study will allow us to examine the associations between these medications and cancer risks, particularly the risk of male-predominant cancers including EAC.


Precision Prevention of Esophageal Adenocarcinoma

Esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) is characterized by a poor prognosis with an overall 5-year survival below 15-20%, which is even worse in patients diagnosed at late stages. Upper endoscopy is increasingly utilized for detection of the premalignant condition of EAC, i.e., Barrett’s esophagus with dysplasia. However, a universal screening strategy, even in patients with reflux, is infeasible given the considerable costs and risk of complications, and the low incidence. Identifying a limited group of individuals at high absolute risk of EAC for endoscopic screening is a more feasible strategy. We have been developing, validating, and assessing risk prediction models for EAC based on information on a panel of readily identifiable risk factors, which could identify high-risk individuals who may benefit from tailored endoscopic screening or future prevention strategies.

"Oesophageal Adenocarcinoma Risk Assessment Tool" available through the link on the left.

Teaching portfolio


I am currently the main supervisor of one PhD student, Mr. Sirus Rabbani, and co-supervisor of two PhD students, Qiaoli Wang and Jiaojiao Zheng, in our research group. 

I also warmly welcome medical students to carry out their degree projects with me. Medical students who worked with me have authored publications in scientific journals, including Am J Gastroenterol and Am J Epidemiol.


Study design in clinical research (KI PhD course 2980, previously 1794)


2013    PhD in Public Health, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China

Thesis title: Domestic Incense Burning and the Risk of Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma: A Case-Referent Study among Hong Kong Chinese

Supervisors: Prof. Ignatius Tak-sun Yu (main supervisor) & Prof. Shelly Lap-Ah Tse

2007    Bachelor of Medicine in Preventive Medicine (major), Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China

2007    Bachelor of Arts in English (minor), Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China


Other trainings

2012.03 - 2012.06       Visiting Scientist at Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, USA (Hosted by Prof. Alex Chensheng Lu)

2009.04                       Yale - China CDC Workshop on Environmental Epidemiology, Suzhou, China

Academic honours, awards and prizes


Clinical Scientist Training Programme (CSTP), 2018-2022, 1 280 000 SEK (Main applicant as a PhD supervisor) 

Ihred Fund, the Swedish Society of Medicine, 2016-2017, 305 000 SEK (Principle investigator)

Ruth and Richard Julin Foundation, 2016-2018, 420 000 SEK (Principle investigator)

KI Research Foundation Grant, 2016-2020, 132 200 SEK (Principle investigator)

Cancer Research UK, 2018 - 2019, 105,722 GBP (Co-investigator)

China - Sweden Network Grant for Research Collaboration, the Swedish Research Council, 2016 - 2017, 700 000 SEK (Co-investigator)

National Natural Science Foundation of China, 2011 - 2013, 370,000 CNY; 2012 - 2013, 160,000 CNY; 2014 - 2017, 700,000 CNY (Co-investigator)

Other Awards

Global Scholarship Program for Research Excellence - CNOOC Grants and trained at Harvard School of Public Health in 2012, 30 000 HKD

Research Postgraduate Students' Research / Conference Grant, The Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2009-2013 , 40 000 HKD

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