Charles S. Rabkin, M.D.

Senior Investigator

Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch


9615 Medical Center Drive
Room SG/3206
Rockville, MD 20850

+1 240 276 7105

Research Topics

Chronic infection and inflammation are associated with increased risk of many types of cancer. Dr. Charles Rabkin's research is directed toward understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying these associations, particularly for gastric cancer and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The overarching objective is to increase etiologic understanding and diminish burden of disease.

Gastric Cancer

My work in gastric cancer encompasses four sub-projects on the pathogenic microbes, modifying host factors, molecular pathologic features, and intermediate markers with potential for screening of gastric cancer and pre-neoplastic lesions. I have a particular focus on the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) as a co-factor with Helicobacter pylori, the established cause of most cancers of the noncardia stomach. Viral coinfection is present in 8-10 percent of gastric cancers worldwide, and I lead an international consortium studying EBV's etiologic and clinicopathologic significance.

Another major effort is the H. pylori Genome Project (HpGP), a collaboration with the Metabolic Epidemiology Branch and an international team of experts to comprehensively catalog genetic and epigenetic variation of this important pathogen. Our goal is to identify bacterial characteristics associated with long-term outcome by comparing isolates from patients with gastric cancer or advanced premalignant lesions with isolates from controls with benign infection (superficial gastritis) from high- and low-incidence populations in multiple countries. In other studies, I have implicated autoimmune gastritis as an emerging etiology underlying changing trends in cancer incidence. I am currently pursuing this novel hypothesis using multiple approaches, including examinations of administrative databases and testing for autoantibodies in prospective cohort studies.

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a neoplasm of the effector cells that mediate adaptive immunity. I study the acquired and inherited abnormalities of immune cells that may contribute to their malignant transformation. AIDS-related lymphoma represents a particularly informative model, given its high incidence in defined populations under close medical supervision. To advance research efforts in this area, we have launched AIDSLymph, a consortium investigating associations and risk factors for lymphoma in patients with advanced HIV infection, in collaboration with the North American AIDS Cohorts Collaboration on Research & Design (NA-ACCORD).


Dr. Rabkin earned an Sc.B. and M.D. from Brown University and an M.Sc. in epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He received postgraduate training at the University of Colorado and is board certified in internal medicine and preventive medicine. Before coming to the NCI, he was an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer and a medical epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He has received Public Health Service (PHS) Commendation and Unit Commendation Medals for his studies of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and Kaposi sarcoma and the Outstanding Service Medal for the molecular epidemiology of Helicobacter pylori and HIV-related malignancies.

Selected Publications

  1. Camargo MC, Kim WH, Chiaravalli AM, Kim KM, Corvalan AH, Matsuo K, Yu J, Sung JJ, Herrera-Goepfert R, Meneses-Gonzalez F, Kijima Y, Natsugoe S, Liao LM, Lissowska J, Kim S, Hu N, Gonzalez CA, Yatabe Y, Koriyama C, Hewitt SM, Akiba S, Gulley ML, Taylor PR, Rabkin CS. Improved survival of gastric cancer with tumour Epstein-Barr virus positivity: an international pooled analysis. Gut. 2014;63(2):236-43.
  2. Sung H, Camargo MC, Yu K, Weinstein SJ, Morgan DR, Albanes D, Rabkin CS. Association of 4p14 TLR locus with antibodies to Helicobacter pylori. Genes Immun. 2015;16(8):567-70.
  3. Hirt C, Camargo MC, Yu KJ, Hewitt SM, Dölken G, Rabkin CS. Risk of follicular lymphoma associated with BCL2 translocations in peripheral blood. Leuk Lymphoma. 2015;56(9):2625-9.
  4. Camargo MC, Bowlby R, Chu A, Pedamallu CS, Thorsson V, Elmore S, Mungall AJ, Bass AJ, Gulley ML, Rabkin CS. Validation and calibration of next-generation sequencing to identify Epstein-Barr virus-positive gastric cancer in The Cancer Genome Atlas. Gastric Cancer. 2016;19(2):676-81.

Related Scientific Focus Areas

This page was last updated on Thursday, April 4, 2024