Nutrition and Biomarkers

Group leader: Anja Olsen

Our overall aim is to study health effects of diet and dietary related items – often using biomarkers for exposure assessment. A large part of our research is based on the Diet, Cancer and Health and the Diet, Cancer and Health – Next Generations cohorts, but we are also strongly involved in data collection for other projects.

Examples of our ongoing research projects:

  • The Dagmar trial: Effects of phytoestrogens on markers of disease progression and gene expression
  • StatusD: Vitamin D status in Denmark – do we have a problem?
  • Polly: Prevention of polyps and colorectal cancer
  • Biomarkers of selenium status and risk of advanced stage prostate cancer
  • Is organic food consumption associated with the risk of cancer?
  • Source-dependent nitrate and nitrite intake and risk of colorectal cancer, stomach cancer and bladder cancer
Nutrition and Biomarkers test

We conduct epidemiological research based on existing population-based cohorts but also have a strong focus on data collection for specific research purposes. We combine questionnaire data with biomarkers and clinical data to get as detailed insight into exposure-outcome associations as possible.

We seek collaborations with national and international experts within various areas including clinical research, system biology, nutrition, food sciences, epidemiology and genetics.

It is our aim that the research we conduct has direct societal impact.

Often our research projects originate from questions raised by cancer patients or other societal stakeholders like: I have a breast cancer diagnosis, is it safe for me to use dietary supplements containing phytoestrogens? Does it have a health impact if I choose to eat organically produced foods? Is vitamin D deficiency a public health problem in Denmark?   

Selected publications

Outzen M, Tjønneland A, Hughes D, Jenab M, Frederiksen K, Schomburg L, Morris S, Overvad K, Olsen A: Toenail selenium, plasma selenoprotein P and risk of advanced prostate cancer: A nested case-control study. Int J Cancer 2020: doi: 10.1002/ijc.33267 online ahead of print

Andersen JLM, Hansen L, Thomsen BLR, Christiansen LR, Dragsted LO,Olsen A: Pre- and post-diagnostic intake of whole grain and dairy products and breast cancer prognosis: the Danish Diet, Cancer and Health cohort. Breast Cancer Res Treat 2020;179(3), 743-753

Kyrø C, Hansen L, Frederiksen K, Nørskov NP, Bach Knudsen KE, Eriksen AK, Holm M, Tjønneland A, Olsen A: Pre-diagnostic plasma enterolactone concentrations and breast cancer prognosis among postmenopausal women – The Danish Diet, Cancer and Health cohort. Clin Nutr 2018;37(6):2217-2225

Eriksen AK, Kyrø C, Nørskov N, Bolvig AK, Christensen J, Tjønneland A, Overvad K, Landberg R, Olsen A: Prediagnostic enterolactone concentrations and mortality among Danish men diagnosed with prostate cancer. Eur J Clin Nutr 2017;71(10):1235-1240

Kyrø C, Olsen A, Bueno-De-Mesquita HB, Skeie G, Loft S, Åman P, Leenders M, Dik VK, Siersema PD, Pischon T, Christensen J, Overvad K, Boutron-Ruault MC, Fagherazzi G, Cottet V, Kühn T, Chang-Claude J, Boeing H, Trichopoulou A, Naska A, Oikonomidou D, Masala G, Pala V, Tumino R, Vineis P, Mattiello A, Peeters PH, Bakken T, Weiderpass E, Åsli LA, Sánchez S, Jakszyn P, Sánchez MJ, Amiano P, Huerta JM, Barricarte A, Ljuslinder I, Palmqvist R, Khaw KT, Wareham N, Key TJ, Travis RC, Slimani N, Freisling H, Ferrari P, Gunter MJ, Murphy N, Riboli E, Tjonneland A, Landberg R: Plasma alkylresorcinol concentrations, biomarkers of whole-grain wheat and rye intake, in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort. Br J Nutr 2014;111(10):1881-1890


Group leader Anja Olsen
Research profile

Nutrition and Biomarkers
Staff Members

Key Funding

Tryg Fonden

The Independent Research Fund of Denmark

The Danish Cancer Society Scientific Committee

The Danish Council for Strategic Research