Hans-Olov Adami

Professor of Epidemiology, Emeritus

Department of Epidemiology

With a long background as a practicing surgeon with a focus on oncology, I have always conducted clinical and epidemiologic research in parallel. My clinical research includes randomized trials, prognostic studies, and studies of clinical issues using an observational study design. Over the years, however, my focus has been on cancer epidemiology, and I have worked on a large number of cancer sites and types. Currently, I am working predominantly on prostate cancer, (with research ranging from genetic association studies to randomized trials of radical surgical treatment, and prediction of outcome using molecular and genetic markers), malignant lymphomas, cervical cancer (with a focus on viral load as a possible determinant of progression from precursors to invasive cancer), and breast cancer. I am also involved in planning a large prospective cohort study in Sweden, and integrating this with other similar initiatives around the globe.

Other Affiliations


My research is devoted chiefly, but not entirely to cancer epidemiology. Within that area, I have been interested in a large number of cancer sites and types and carried out both prospective and case-control studies often on a large-scale within Sweden. Hence, we have conducted nation-wide case-control studies in Sweden on cancers of the breast, cervix, endometrium, ovary, anus, esophagus, non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas, Hodgkin’s lymphomas, kidney cancer and prostate cancer. Much of my research over the last decade has been carried out in close collaboration with professor Trichopoulos at the Harvard School of Public Health and also with other researchers, post docs and graduate students at the SPH. Presently, this work is expanding also into realm of prostate cancer in collaboration with the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Beside etiologic research into the causes of cancer, I have also a long-standing interest in clinical research including randomized trials, cancer screening and analysis of prognostic factors.

A large part of the research carried out at Harvard and at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm takes advantage of unique prerequisites for epidemiologic research in Sweden, including nation-wide cancer registration, a public health care system that allows retrieval of information, hospital records, tissue specimens etc., and an expanding number of national health data bases that can be cross-linked using the individually unique national registration number assigned to all residents in Sweden. This registration number also enables complete follow-up long-term of virtually all individuals included in epidemiologic and clinical studies.

In recent years, collaboration and exchange of Junior Faculty, post docs and graduate students has become an important ingredient in the research carried out collaboratively between Karolinska Institutet and the Harvard School of Public Health. Given the enormous prerequisites for epidemiologic research in Sweden, this is an untapped resource and we have a keen interest in both recruiting post docs from the School of Public Health and in offering graduate students at Harvard opportunities to use Swedish data sources and on-going studies for their thesis work. More information about these opportunities can be obtained for example from Dr. Lorelei Mucci and from Dr. Ellen Chang.


  • M.D., Medicine, Uppsala Univesity, Sweden
  • Ph.D., Surgery, UppsalaUniversity, Sweden