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Deborah Wood Neklason

Deborah Wood Neklason, PhD

Languages spoken: English

Academic Information

Departments Primary - Internal Medicine , Adjunct - Oncological Sciences

Divisions: Epidemiology

Academic Office Information

Research Interests

  • Genetics Colon Cancer

Deborah Neklason, PhD, is a member of Huntsman Cancer Institute's gastrointestinal cancer research team and research associate professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Utah School of Medicine. She is also a member of the Cancer Control and Population Sciences Program and the Program Director of Utah Genome Project.

Neklason's work focuses characterizing the clinical phenotype and the genetic and environmental risk factors underlying familial cancers with a focus on gastrointestinal cancers. This work has led to multiple successful clinical studies targeting the prevention of cancer in these high risk families. Currently efforts are directed at preventing cancer in individuals with Lynch syndrome and familial adenomatous polyposis. She also uses data managed by the Utah Population Database (state-wide genealogy overlaid with statewide cancer records, electronic medical records, and environmental exposures) and Utah Cancer Registry to define genetic and environmental exposures underlying the rise in small intestinal carcinoid (neuroendocrine) cancer incidence. She leads lead the Hereditary Gastrointestinal Cancer Registry at Huntsman Cancer Institute which is a longitudinal research registry of over 4000 research participants dating back 20 years. Many productive collaborations have come from this research registry.

Prior to joining Huntsman Cancer Institute, Neklason was manager for biochemical assay products at Echelon Biosciences in Salt Lake City. She received her PhD in human genetics from the University of Utah in 1999.

Research Statement

I am a genetic epidemiologist with a focus on the familial risk and molecular genetics underlying cancer. My primary objective is to translate knowledge to improved clinical care. Over the past 20 years, my research focus has been to characterize the clinical phenotype and the genetic and environmental risk factors underlying hereditary cancer syndromes with an emphasis on gastrointestinal cancers. Over this period, I have made a large impact on how familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) is managed and treated. I hope to do this with Lynch syndrome and small intestinal neuroendocrine tumors (SINET). My work has resulted in preventing cancer in 100’s of mutation positive individuals (Lynch syndrome and FAP) through genetic diagnosis and screening recommendations. We maintain longitudinal research relationships with these high-risk cancer families (~3000 participants) through the Hereditary Gastrointestinal Cancer Registry at Huntsman Cancer Institute of which I serve as Principal Investigator.

I am also the Program Director of the Utah Genome Project at University of Utah. This is an aggressive institutional initiative to bring University of Utah clinicians and researchers together to understand genetics of human health across all medical disciplines and use this knowledge to transform healthcare. Through this, I have helped develop of a network of resources and collaborations (human subject research protocols, analysis, clinical testing, computation, biobanking, genetic counseling, etc).

With the current access and affordability of high throughput genetic sequencing and analysis, universal genetic testing in cancer cases and their families can be a realty. My research and leadership experience in working with these families to prevent future cancers is central to my primary career objective. With this experience, I can successfully implement and contribute to this project.

Education History

Other Training University of Utah
University of Utah
Undergraduate University of Washington

Selected Publications

Journal Article

  1. Kanth P, Yu Z, Keener MB, Koptiuch C, Kohlmann WK, Neklason DW, Westover M, Curtin K (2021). Cancer Risk in Patients With and Relatives of Serrated Polyposis Syndrome and Sporadic Sessile Serrated Lesions. Am J Gastroenterol, 117(2), 336-342. (Read full article)
  2. International Mismatch Repair Consortium (2021). Variation in the risk of colorectal cancer in families with Lynch syndrome: a retrospective cohort study. Lancet Oncol, 22(7), 1014-1022. (Read full article)
  3. Byun S, Affolter KE, Snow AK, Curtin K, Cannon AR, Cannon-Albright LA, Thota R, Neklason DW (2021). Differential methylation of G-protein coupled receptor signaling genes in gastrointestinal neuroendocrine tumors. Sci Rep, 11(1), 12303. (Read full article)
  4. Cannon AR, Keener M, Neklason D, Pickron TB (2019). Surgical Interventions, Malignancies, and Causes of Death in a FAP Patient Registry. J Gastrointest Surg, 25(2), 452-456. (Read full article)
  5. Cannon-Albright LA, Teerlink CC, Stevens J, Snow AK, Thompson BA, Bell R, Nguyen KN, Sargent NR, Kohlmann WK, Neklason DW, Tavtigian SV (2020). FANCM c5791C>T stopgain mutation (rs144567652) is a familial colorectal cancer risk factor. Mol Genet Genomic Med, 8(12), e1532. (Read full article)
  6. Donovan LN, Kohlmann W, Snow AK, Neklason DW, Schiffman JD, Maese L (2020). Germ Cell Mosaicism: A Rare Cause of Li-Fraumeni Recurrence Among Siblings. JCO Precis Oncol, 4. (Read full article)
  7. VanDerslice J, Taddie MC, Curtin K, Miller C, Yu Z, Hemmert R, Cannon-Albright LA, Neklason DW (2020). Early life exposures associated with risk of small intestinal neuroendocrine tumors. PLoS One, 15(4), e0231991. (Read full article)
  8. Samadder NJ, Neklason D, Snow A, Samowitz W, Cessna MH, Rowe K, Sandhu I, Boucher K, Pappas L, Smith KR, Wong J, Curtin K, Provenzale D, Burt RW (2019). Clinical and Molecular Features of Post-Colonoscopy Colorectal Cancers. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol, 17(13), 2731-2739.e2. (Read full article)
  9. Curtin K, Cannon-Albright LA, VanDerslice J, Yu Z, Herget KA, Thota R, Neklason DW (2019). Associations of Tobacco and Alcohol Use with Risk of Neuroendocrine Tumors of the Small Intestine in Utah. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev, 28(12), 1998-2004. (Read full article)
  10. Millar MM, Kinney AY, Camp NJ, Cannon-Albright LA, Hashibe M, Penson DF, Kirchhoff AC, Neklason DW, Gilsenan AW, Dieck GS, Stroup AM, Edwards SL, Bateman C, Carter ME, Sweeney C (2019). Predictors of Response Outcomes for Research Recruitment Through a Central Cancer Registry: Evidence From 17 Recruitment Efforts for Population-Based Studies. Am J Epidemiol, 188(5), 928-939. (Read full article)
  11. Sample DC, Samadder NJ, Pappas LM, Boucher KM, Samowitz WS, Berry T, Westover M, Nathan D, Kanth P, Byrne KR, Burt RW, Neklason DW (2018). Variables affecting penetrance of gastric and duodenal phenotype in familial adenomatous polyposis patients. BMC Gastroenterol, 18(1), 115. (Read full article)
  12. Young EL, Thompson BA, Neklason DW, Firpo MA, Werner T, Bell R, Berger J, Fraser A, Gammon A, Koptiuch C, Kohlmann WK, Neumayer L, Goldgar DE, Mulvihill SJ, Cannon-Albright LA, Tavtigian SV (2018). Pancreatic cancer as a sentinel for hereditary cancer predisposition. BMC Cancer, 18(1), 697. (Read full article)
  13. Samadder NJ, Kuwada SK, Boucher KM, Byrne K, Kanth P, Samowitz W, Jones D, Tavtigian SV, Westover M, Berry T, Jasperson K, Pappas L, Smith L, Sample D, Burt RW, Neklason DW (2018). Association of Sulindac and Erlotinib vs Placebo With Colorectal Neoplasia in Familial Adenomatous Polyposis: Secondary Analysis of a Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Oncol, 4(5), 671-677. (Read full article)
  14. Delker DA, Wood AC, Snow AK, Samadder NJ, Samowitz WS, Affolter KE, Boucher KM, Pappas LM, Stijleman IJ, Kanth P, Byrne KR, Burt RW, Bernard PS, Neklason DW (2018). Chemoprevention with Cyclooxygenase and Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Inhibitors in Familial Adenomatous Polyposis Patients: mRNA Signatures of Duodenal Neoplasia. Cancer Prev Res (Phila), 11(1), 4-15. (Read full article)
  15. Bong YS, Assefnia S, Tuohy T, Neklason DW, Burt RW, Ahn J, Bueno De Mesquita PJ, Byers SW (2016). A role for the vitamin D pathway in non-intestinal lesions in genetic and carcinogen models of colorectal cancer and in familial adenomatous polyposis. Oncotarget, 7(49), 80508-80520. (Read full article)
  16. Kanth P, Bronner MP, Boucher KM, Burt RW, Neklason DW, Hagedorn CH, Delker DA (2016). Gene Signature in Sessile Serrated Polyps Identifies Colon Cancer Subtype. Cancer Prev Res (Phila), 9(6), 456-65. (Read full article)
  17. Li J, Woods SL, Healey S, Beesley J, Chen X, Lee JS, Sivakumaran H, Wayte N, Nones K, Waterfall JJ, Pearson J, Patch AM, Senz J, Ferreira MA, Kaurah P, Mackenzie R, Heravi-Moussavi A, Hansford S, Lannagan TRM, Spurdle AB, Simpson PT, da Silva L, Lakhani SR, Clouston AD, Bettington M, Grimpen F, Busuttil RA, Di Costanzo N, Boussioutas A, Jeanjean M, Chong G, Fabre A, Olschwang S, Faulkner GJ, Bellos E, Coin L, Rioux K, Bathe OF, Wen X, Martin HC, Neklason DW, Davis SR, Walker RL, Calzone KA, Avital I, Heller T, Koh C, Pineda M, Rudloff U, Quezado M, Pichurin PN, Hulick PJ, Weissman SM, Newlin A, Rubinstein WS, Sampson JE, Hamman K, Goldgar D, Poplawski N, Phillips K, Schofield L, Armstrong J, Kiraly-Borri C, Suthers GK, Huntsman DG, Foulkes WD, Carneiro F, Lindor NM, Edwards SL, French JD, Waddell N, Meltzer PS, Worthley DL, Schrader KA, Chenevix-Trench G (2016). Point Mutations in Exon 1B of APC Reveal Gastric Adenocarcinoma and Proximal Polyposis of the Stomach as a Familial Adenomatous Polyposis Variant. Am J Hum Genet, 98(5), 830-842. (Read full article)
  18. Samadder NJ, Neklason DW, Boucher KM, Byrne KR, Kanth P, Samowitz W, Jones D, Tavtigian SV, Done MW, Berry T, Jasperson K, Pappas L, Smith L, Sample D, Davis R, Topham MK, Lynch P, Strait E, McKinnon W, Burt RW, Kuwada SK (2016). Effect of Sulindac and Erlotinib vs Placebo on Duodenal Neoplasia in Familial Adenomatous Polyposis: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA, 315(12), 1266-75. (Read full article)
  19. Neklason DW, VanDerslice J, Curtin K, Cannon-Albright LA (2016). Evidence for a heritable contribution to neuroendocrine tumors of the small intestine. Endocr Relat Cancer, 23(2), 93-100. (Read full article)
  20. Snow AK, Tuohy TM, Sargent NR, Smith LJ, Burt RW, Neklason DW (2015). APC promoter 1B deletion in seven American families with familial adenomatous polyposis. Clin Genet, 88(4), 360-5. (Read full article)
  21. Knight S, Abo RP, Abel HJ, Neklason DW, Tuohy TM, Burt RW, Thomas A, Camp NJ (2012). Shared genomic segment analysis: the power to find rare disease variants. Ann Hum Genet, 76(6), 500-9. (Read full article)
  22. Neklason DW, Done MW, Sargent NR, Schwartz AG, Anton-Culver H, Griffin CA, Ahnen DJ, Schildkraut JM, Tomlinson GE, Strong LC, Miller AR, Stopfer JE, Burt RW (2011). Activating mutation in MET oncogene in familial colorectal cancer. BMC Cancer, 11, 424. (Read full article)
  23. Jasperson KW, Tuohy TM, Neklason DW, Burt RW (2010). Hereditary and familial colon cancer. Gastroenterology, 138(6), 2044-58. (Read full article)
  24. Condie MW, Tuohy TMF, Shires P, Burt RW, Neklason DW (2010). 13th annual meeting of the collaborative group of the americas on inherited colorectal cancer honolulu, hawaii, USA. 16-17 october 2009. Abstracts. Hered Cancer Clin Pract, 8 Suppl 1(Suppl 1), O1-P24. (Read full article)
  25. Neklason DW, Kerber RA, Nilson DB, Anton-Culver H, Schwartz AG, Griffin CA, Lowery JT, Schildkraut JM, Evans JP, Tomlinson GE, Strong LC, Miller AR, Stopfer JE, Finkelstein DM, Nadkarni PM, Kasten CH, Mineau GP, Burt RW (2008). Common familial colorectal cancer linked to chromosome 7q31: a genome-wide analysis. Cancer Res, 68(21), 8993-7. (Read full article)
  26. Neklason DW, Thorpe BL, Ferrandez A, Tumbapura A, Boucher K, Garibotti G, Kerber RA, Solomon CH, Samowitz WS, Fang JC, Mineau GP, Leppert MF, Burt RW, Kuwada SK (2008). Colonic adenoma risk in familial colorectal cancer--a study of six extended kindreds. Am J Gastroenterol, 103(10), 2577-84. (Read full article)
  27. Neklason DW, Stevens J, Boucher KM, Kerber RA, Matsunami N, Barlow J, Mineau G, Leppert MF, Burt RW (2008). American founder mutation for attenuated familial adenomatous polyposis. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol, 6(1), 46-52. (Read full article)
  28. Kerber RA, Neklason DW, Samowitz WS, Burt RW (2005). Frequency of familial colon cancer and hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (Lynch syndrome) in a large population database. Fam Cancer, 4(3), 239-44. (Read full article)
  29. Burt RW, Leppert MF, Slattery ML, Samowitz WS, Spirio LN, Kerber RA, Kuwada SK, Neklason DW, Disario JA, Lyon E, Hughes JP, Chey WY, White RL (2004). Genetic testing and phenotype in a large kindred with attenuated familial adenomatous polyposis. Gastroenterology, 127(2), 444-51. (Read full article)


  1. Prestwich GD, Chen R, Feng L, Ozaki S, Ferguson CG, Drees BE, Neklason DA, Mostert MJ, Porter-Gill PA, Kang VH, Shope JC, Neilsen PO, Dewald DB (2002). In situ detection of phospholipid and phosphoinositide metabolism. [Review]. Adv Enzyme Regul, 42, 19-38. (Read full article)


  1. Thompson BA, Snow AK, Koptiuch C, Kohlmann WK, Mooney R, Johnson S, Huff CD, Yu Y, Teerlink CC, Feng BJ, Neklason DW, Cannon-Albright LA, Tavtigian SV (2019). A novel ribosomal protein S20 variant in a family with unexplained colorectal cancer and polyposis. [Letter to the editor]. Clin Genet, 97(6), 943-944. (Read full article)


  1. Deborah Neklason, Kim Herget, Austin Wood, Angela Snow, Lisa Cannon-Albright, James VanDerslice, Carol Sweeney, Rachael Hemmert, Marissa Taddie, Karen Curtin (10/20/2017). Incidence and Familial Etiology of Small Intestinal Neuroendocrine Tumors from Utah Population [Abstract]. Collaborative Group of Americas on Inherited Colorectal Cancer, Orlando, FL.
  2. Neklason, DW, Kerber, R, Nilson, D, Mineau, G, Burt, RW (2006). Common familial colorectal cancer linked to chromosome 7q32.33: a sibpair study [Abstract]. Hered Cancer Clin Pract.


  1. Neklason DW, Burt RW (2011). Methods of detecting hereditary cancer predisposition. U.S. Patent No. 61/505,926. Washington, D.C.:U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

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