Kim Robien

Kim Robien

Kim Robien


Associate Professor

School: Milken Institute School of Public Health

Department: Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Epidemiology


Email: Kim Robien
Office Phone: 202-994-2574
950 New Hampshire Avenue, 207

Dr. Robien is a cancer epidemiologist and nutrition scientist. She is also a Registered Dietitian and a Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition (CSO), and practiced as an oncology dietitian for more than 10 years prior to beginning her research career. 

The two overarching goals of Dr. Robien's research are to: 1) better understand how changes in diet and body composition could be used to minimize treatment-related toxicity and maximize effectiveness of existing cancer treatment regimens, and 2) identify and eliminate sources of disparities in cancer treatment outcomes. Diet-chemotherapy interactions have been a consistent theme of Dr. Robien's research. She has led a series of pharmacogenetic studies among patients receiving anti-folate chemotherapy (methotrexate, 5-FU, bactrim) for chronic myelogenous leukemia.  Her research has also evaluated the effect of vitamin D supplementation on treatment-related outcomes during blood and marrow transplantation for hematologic malignancies and aromatase inhibitor treatment for breast cancer. 

Dr. Robien is currently leading an NIH/NCI funded study to evaluate the effect of body composition on chemotherapy toxicity and treatment completion rates among patients undergoing treatment for breast cancer. She is also co-leader of the Exercise and Nutrition Interventions to Improve Cancer Treatment-Related Outcomes (ENICTO) Coordinating Center.  In addition to her clinical oncology research, Dr. Robien has extensive experience with large prospective cohort studies of diet and cancer prevention as an investigator and PI with the Iowa Women's Health Study.

Dr. Robien received her PhD in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Washington, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in molecular epidemiology at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. Prior to joining the GW faculty in 2012, Dr. Robien was a member of the faculty of the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health (with tenure), and an active member of the University of Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center

Dr. Robien has authored more than 140 peer-reviewed research publications, and serves on the Editorial Board for Nutrition in Clinical Practice.  She is also a member of the GW Cancer Center, and a fellow with the Sumner M. Redstone Global Center for Prevention and Wellness.


Chronic Disease



Food and Drug Safety

Environmental and Occupational Health


Cancer Policy

Bachelor of Science, Dietetics, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1989

Masters of Science, Dietetics, Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions, 1991

Doctorate, Nutritional Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, 2003

PUBH 6612, Food Systems in Public Health

PUBH 6620, Designing Healthy Communities

EXNS 2122, Food Systems in Public Health

The two overarching goals of Dr. Robien's research are to: 1) better understand how changes in diet and body composition could be used to minimize treatment-related toxicity and maximize effectiveness of existing cancer treatment regimens, and 2) identify and eliminate sources of disparities in cancer treatment outcomes. Dr. Robien's previous research has found that dietary and supplemental folate intake during anti-folate chemotherapy (methotrexate, 5-FU) is not associated with adverse outcomes among patients being treated with blood and marrow transplantation for chronic myelogenous leukemia, although treatment outcomes did vary by methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) genotype. Her group has also reported that vitamin D supplementation did not improve musculoskeletal symptoms related to aromatase inhibitor treatment among women being treated for breast cancer.

Dr. Robien currently has several NIH/NCI funded research projects underway, including:

In addition to her clinical oncology research, Dr. Robien has extensive experience working with cancer epidemiology cohorts and pooled data analysis projects. She is an investigator with the Iowa Women's Health Study, a prospective longitudinal cohort study of 40,000 Iowa women who were post-menopausal at the initiation of the study in 1986.  The primary aims of the study are to investigate the association of dietary and other lifestyle factors with risk for cancer .  She has also served as a member of the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Cohort Consortium and as a collaborator in the Pooling Project of Prospective Studies of Diet and Cancer since 2010.

Selected recent publications - View Dr. Robien's full publication list

Rock CL, Thomson CA, Sullivan KR, Howe CL, Kushi LH, Caan BJ, Neuhouser ML, Bandera EV, Wang Y, Robien K, Basen-Engquist KM, Brown JC, Courneya KS, Crane TE, Garcia DO, Grant BL, Hamilton KK, Hartman SJ, Kenfield SA, Martinez ME, Meyerhardt JA, Nekhlyudov L, Overholser L, Patel AV, Pinto BM, Platek ME, Rees-Punia E, Spees CK, Gapstur SM, McCullough ML. American Cancer Society nutrition and physical activity guideline for cancer survivors. CA Cancer J Clin 2022;72(3):230-262. PMID: 35294043

Rock CL, Thomson C, Gansler T, Gapstur SM, McCullough ML, Patel AV, Andrews KS, Bandera EV, Spees CK, Robien K, Hartman S, Sullivan K, Grant BL, Hamilton KK, Kushi LH, Caan BJ, Kibbe D, Black JD, Wiedt TL, McMahon C, Sloan K, Doyle C. American Cancer Society guideline for diet and physical activity for cancer prevention. CA Cancer J Clin 2020;70(4):245-271. PMID: 32515498.

Robien K, Clausen M, Sullo E, Ford YR, Griffith KA, Le D, Wickersham KE, Wallington SF. Prevalence of food insecurity among cancer survivors in the United States: a scoping review.  Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 2023;123(2):330-346. PMID: 35840079

Onyeaghala G, Lintelmann AK, Joshu CE, Lutsey PL, Folsom AR, Robien K, Platz EA, Prizment AE. Adherence to the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research cancer prevention guidelines and colorectal cancer incidence among African Americans and whites: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study. Cancer 2020;126(5):1041-1050. PMID: 31873947.

Teras LR, Patel AV, Wang M, Yaun SS, Anderson K, Brathwaite R, Caan BJ, Chen Y, Connor AE, Eliassen AH, Gapstur SM, Gaudet MM, Genkinger JM, Giles GG, Lee IM, Milne RL, Robien K, Sawada N, Sesso HD, Stampfer MJ, Tamimi RM, Thomson CA, Tsugane S, Visvanathan K, Willett WC, Zeleniuch-Jacquotte A, Smith-Warner SA. Sustained weight loss and risk of breast cancer in women 50 years and older: A pooled analysis of prospective data. J Natl Cancer Inst 2020;112(9):929-937. PMID: 31845728.

Sweeney MR, Applebaum KM, Arem H, Braffett BH, Poynter JN, Robien K. Medical conditions and modifiable risk factors for myelodysplastic syndrome: A systematic review. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2019;28(9):1502-1517. PMID: 31213463.

Blair CK, Jacobs DR Jr, Demark-Wahnefried W, Cohen HJ, Morey MC, Robien K, Lazovich D. Effects of cancer history on functional age and mortality. Cancer 2019;125(23):4303-4309. PMID: 31418826.

Merrigan K, Griffin T, Robien K, Wilde P, Dietz W, Goldberg J.  Designing a sustainable diet.  Science  2015; 350(6257):165-166. PMID: 26429883

Nomura SO, Harnack L, Robien K.  Estimating BPA exposure levels using a questionnaire targeting known sources of exposure.  Public Health Nutrition  2016;19(4):593-606.  PMID: 26136114

Shapiro AC, Adlis SA, Robien K, Kirstein MN, Liang S, Richter SA, Lerner RE. Randomized, blinded trial of vitamin D3 for treating aromatase inhibitor-associated musculoskeletal symptoms (AIMSS). Breast Cancer Res Treat 2016;155(3):501-12. PMID: 26868123.

Blair CK, Robien K, Inoue-Choi M, Rahn W, Lazovich D.  Physical inactivity and risk of poor quality of life among elderly cancer survivors compared to women without cancer: The Iowa Women’s Health Study.  Journal of Cancer Survivorship  2016;10(1):103-12.  PMID: 26008207

Inoue-Choi M, Jones RR, Anderson KE, Cantor KP, Cerhan JR, Krasner S, Robien K, Weyer PJ, Ward MH. Nitrate and nitrite ingestion and risk of ovarian cancer among postmenopausal women in Iowa. Int J Cancer. 2015;137(1):173-82.  PMID: 25430487

Oppeneer SJ, Robien K. Bisphenol A exposure and associations with obesity among adults: a critical review. Public Health Nutrition 2015;18(10):1847-63.  PMID: 25311796

Inoue-Choi M, Robien K, Lazovich D. Adherence to the WCRF/AICR guidelines for cancer prevention is associated with lower mortality among older female cancer survivors. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2013;22(5):792-802. PMID: 23462914

Inoue-Choi M, Oppeneer SJ, Robien K. Reality check: there is no such thing as a miracle food. Nutr Cancer  2013;65(2):165-8. PMID: 23441603

Robien K, Oppeneer SJ, Kelly JA, Hamilton-Reeves JM. Drug-vitamin D interactions: a systematic review of the literature. Nutr Clin Pract 2013 Apr;28(2):194-208.  PMID: 23307906

Tonorezos ES, Robien K, Eshelman-Kent D, Moskowitz CS, Church TS, Ross R, Oeffinger KC. Contribution of diet and physical activity to metabolic parameters among survivors of childhood leukemia. Cancer Causes Control  2013;24(2):313-21. PMID: 23187859