Keck School Faculty

Caryn Lerman
Caryn Lerman
Professor of Psychiatry & the Behavioral Sciences;H. Leslie Hoffman and Elaine S. Hoffman Chair in Cancer Research;Director, USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center;Associate Dean for Cancer Programs
Cancer Center
1441 Eastlake Avenue Health Sciences Campus Los Angeles
Dr. Lerman is the H. Leslie and Elaine S. Hoffman Professor in Cancer Research and Director of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. Previously, she served as the John H. Glick Professor for Cancer Research and Vice Dean for Strategic Initiatives in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to her Vice Dean appointment, she served as Senior Deputy Director of the Abramson Cancer Center for 10 years.

Dr. Lerman is nationally recognized for her cancer prevention research that bridges the fields of neuroscience, pharmacology, genetics and behavioral science. She produced the first empirical data on the outcomes of genetic testing for cancer susceptibility, and was among the first to publish evidence for the genetic basis of cancer risk behaviors. Her pioneering work identifying genetic influences on tobacco use culminated in the first prospective stratified pharmacogenomic trial in the field of tobacco dependence, which has had a considerable impact on the application of precision medicine for tobacco dependence treatment. Supported by her National Cancer Institute (NCI) Outstanding Investigator Award (R35), Dr. Lerman now also leads a highly novel research program that harnesses advances in cognitive neuroscience to promote cancer risk behavior change. She has published over 380 peer reviewed publications, which have been cited over >20,000 times.

An elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, Dr. Lerman has served as a member of the NCI Board of Scientific Advisors, the National Human Genome Research Advisory Council, and the National Institutes on Drug Abuse Advisory Council. She is also past president of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco.

Impact of early nausea on varenicline adherence and smoking cessation Addiction. 2020 Jan; 115(1):134-144. . View in PubMed

Evaluation of a weighted genetic risk score for the prediction of biomarkers of CYP2A6 activity Addict Biol. 2020 Jan; 25(1):e12741. . View in PubMed

Genome-Wide Meta-Analyses of FTND and TTFC Phenotypes Nicotine Tob Res. 2019 Jul 11. . View in PubMed

Evaluating the temporal relationships between withdrawal symptoms and smoking relapse Psychol Addict Behav. 2019 Mar; 33(2):105-116. . View in PubMed

Differences in the rate of nicotine metabolism among smokers with and without HIV AIDS. 2019 05 01; 33(6):1083-1088. . View in PubMed

Association of Reduced Nicotine Content Cigarettes With Smoking Behaviors and Biomarkers of Exposure Among Slow and Fast Nicotine Metabolizers: A Nonrandomized Clinical Trial JAMA Netw Open. 2018 08; 1(4):e181346. . View in PubMed

A Comparison of Direct and Indirect Analytical Approaches to Measuring Total Nicotine Equivalents in Urine Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2018 08; 27(8):882-891. . View in PubMed

Improvement of the association between self-reported pill count and varenicline levels following exclusion of participants with misreported pill count: A commentary on Peng et al(2017). Addict Behav. 2018 04; 79:14-16. . View in PubMed

Genome-wide association study of a nicotine metabolism biomarker in African American smokers: impact of chromosome 19 genetic influences Addiction. 2018 03; 113(3):509-523. . View in PubMed

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2016 Nov 01; 168:112-118. . View in PubMed

Am J Addict. 2016 06; 25(4):291-6. . View in PubMed

Brain Responses to Smoking Cues Differ Based on Nicotine Metabolism Rate Biol Psychiatry. 2016 08 01; 80(3):190-7. . View in PubMed

Decreased Nicotinic Receptor Availability in Smokers with Slow Rates of Nicotine Metabolism J Nucl Med. 2015 Nov; 56(11):1724-9. . View in PubMed

Drug Metabolizing Enzyme and Transporter Gene Variation, Nicotine Metabolism, Prospective Abstinence, and Cigarette Consumption PLoS One. 2015; 10(7):e0126113. . View in PubMed

Age-related differences in working memory deficits during nicotine withdrawal Addict Biol. 2014 Sep; 19(5):907-17. . View in PubMed

Evidence from mouse and man for a role of neuregulin 3 in nicotine dependence Mol Psychiatry. 2014 Jul; 19(7):801-10. . View in PubMed

Effects of tolcapone on working memory and brain activity in abstinent smokers: a proof-of-concept study Drug Alcohol Depend. 2013 Dec 15; 133(3):852-6. . View in PubMed

Pharmacogenomics J. 2013 Dec; 13(6):538-43. . View in PubMed

Effects of bupropion on cognitive performance during initial tobacco abstinence Drug Alcohol Depend. 2013 Nov 01; 133(1):283-6. . View in PubMed

Brain activity and emotional processing in smokers treated with varenicline Addict Biol. 2013 Jul; 18(4):732-8. . View in PubMed

Biomarkers for smoking cessation Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2013 Jun; 93(6):526-38. . View in PubMed

Content matters: neuroimaging investigation of brain and behavioral impact of televised anti-tobacco public service announcements J Neurosci. 2013 Apr 24; 33(17):7420-7. . View in PubMed

Effects of smoking cues and argument strength of antismoking advertisements on former smokers' self-efficacy, attitude, and intention to refrain from smoking Nicotine Tob Res. 2013 Feb; 15(2):527-33. . View in PubMed

Gender-stratified gene and gene-treatment interactions in smoking cessation Pharmacogenomics J. 2012 Dec; 12(6):521-32. . View in PubMed

Cognitive effects of the acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, donepezil, in healthy, non-treatment seeking smokers: a pilot feasibility study Drug Alcohol Depend. 2012 Nov 01; 126(1-2):263-7. . View in PubMed

µ-Opioid receptor availability in the amygdala is associated with smoking for negative affect relief Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2012 Aug; 222(4):701-8. . View in PubMed

Comparative dynamics of four smoking withdrawal symptom scales Addiction. 2012 Aug; 107(8):1501-11. . View in PubMed

DRD1 associations with smoking abstinence across slow and normal nicotine metabolizers Pharmacogenet Genomics. 2012 Jul; 22(7):551-4. . View in PubMed

Extended duration therapy with transdermal nicotine may attenuate weight gain following smoking cessation Addict Behav. 2012 Apr; 37(4):565-8. . View in PubMed

A novel recruitment message to increase enrollment into a smoking cessation treatment program: preliminary results from a randomized trial Health Commun. 2011 Dec; 26(8):735-42. . View in PubMed

Association of BDNF and COMT genotypes with cognitive processing of anti-smoking PSAs Genes Brain Behav. 2011 Nov; 10(8):862-7. . View in PubMed

Association of the nicotine metabolite ratio and CHRNA5/CHRNA3 polymorphisms with smoking rate among treatment-seeking smokers Nicotine Tob Res. 2011 Jun; 13(6):498-503. . View in PubMed

Human Mu Opioid Receptor (OPRM1 A118G) polymorphism is associated with brain mu-opioid receptor binding potential in smokers Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 May 31; 108(22):9268-73. . View in PubMed

Cross-validation of a new procedure for early screening of smoking cessation medications in humans Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2010 Jul; 88(1):109-14. . View in PubMed

Genetic variation in nicotine metabolism predicts the efficacy of extended-duration transdermal nicotine therapy Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2010 May; 87(5):553-7. . View in PubMed

Convergent evidence that choline acetyltransferase gene variation is associated with prospective smoking cessation and nicotine dependence Neuropsychopharmacology. 2010 May; 35(6):1374-82. . View in PubMed

Effects of the alpha4beta2 partial agonist varenicline on brain activity and working memory in abstinent smokers Biol Psychiatry. 2010 Apr 15; 67(8):715-21. . View in PubMed

Effectiveness of extended-duration transdermal nicotine therapy: a randomized trial Ann Intern Med. 2010 Feb 02; 152(3):144-51. . View in PubMed

Dopamine genes and nicotine dependence in treatment-seeking and community smokers Neuropsychopharmacology. 2009 Sep; 34(10):2252-64. . View in PubMed

Effect of abstinence challenge on brain function and cognition in smokers differs by COMT genotype Mol Psychiatry. 2009 Aug; 14(8):820-6. . View in PubMed

A systems biology network model for genetic association studies of nicotine addiction and treatment Pharmacogenet Genomics. 2009 Jul; 19(7):538-51. . View in PubMed

Dosimetry of 11C-carfentanil, a micro-opioid receptor imaging agent Nucl Med Commun. 2009 Apr; 30(4):314-8. . View in PubMed

Effects of atomoxetine on subjective and neurocognitive symptoms of nicotine abstinence J Psychopharmacol. 2009 Mar; 23(2):168-76. . View in PubMed

Evidence for endogenous formation of N'-nitrosonornicotine in some long-term nicotine patch users Nicotine Tob Res. 2009 Jan; 11(1):99-105. . View in PubMed

Cost-effectiveness of pharmacogenetic testing to tailor smoking-cessation treatment Pharmacogenomics J. 2008 Dec; 8(6):391-9. . View in PubMed

Genetic variation in the serotonin pathway and smoking cessation with nicotine replacement therapy: new data from the Patch in Practice trial and pooled analyses Drug Alcohol Depend. 2008 Nov 01; 98(1-2):77-85. . View in PubMed

A placebo-controlled trial of modafinil for nicotine dependence Drug Alcohol Depend. 2008 Nov 01; 98(1-2):86-93. . View in PubMed

Identification of pharmacogenetic markers in smoking cessation therapy Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet. 2008 Sep 05; 147B(6):712-9. . View in PubMed

Gene and gene by sex associations with initial sensitivity to nicotine in nonsmokers Behav Pharmacol. 2008 Sep; 19(5-6):630-40. . View in PubMed

Dopamine and opioid gene variants are associated with increased smoking reward and reinforcement owing to negative mood Behav Pharmacol. 2008 Sep; 19(5-6):641-9. . View in PubMed

Development of procedures for early screening of smoking cessation medications in humans Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2008 Aug; 84(2):216-21. . View in PubMed

Association of retrospective early smoking experiences with prospective sensitivity to nicotine via nasal spray in nonsmokers Nicotine Tob Res. 2008 Aug; 10(8):1335-45. . View in PubMed

Genomics of smoking exposure and cessation: lessons for cancer prevention and treatment Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2008 Jul; 1(2):80-3. . View in PubMed

Assessing dimensions of nicotine dependence: an evaluation of the Nicotine Dependence Syndrome Scale (NDSS) and the Wisconsin Inventory of Smoking Dependence Motives (WISDM) Nicotine Tob Res. 2008 Jun; 10(6):1009-20. . View in PubMed

Increase in anger symptoms after smoking cessation predicts relapse Drug Alcohol Depend. 2008 May 01; 95(1-2):173-6. . View in PubMed

J Subst Abuse Treat. 2008 Mar; 34(2):234-41. . View in PubMed

Enhanced identification of smoking-related words during the attentional blink in smokers Addict Behav. 2007 Dec; 32(12):3077-82. . View in PubMed

Associations between Cloninger's temperament dimensions and acute tobacco withdrawal Addict Behav. 2007 Dec; 32(12):2976-89. . View in PubMed

Genetics and smoking cessation improving outcomes in smokers at risk Am J Prev Med. 2007 Dec; 33(6 Suppl):S398-405. . View in PubMed

Genetic variation in mu-opioid-receptor-interacting proteins and smoking cessation in a nicotine replacement therapy trial Nicotine Tob Res. 2007 Nov; 9(11):1237-41. . View in PubMed

Genetics and smoking behavior Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2007 Oct; 9(5):349-57. . View in PubMed

CYP2B6 genotype alters abstinence rates in a bupropion smoking cessation trial Biol Psychiatry. 2007 Sep 15; 62(6):635-41. . View in PubMed

CHRNA4 and tobacco dependence: from gene regulation to treatment outcome Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2007 Sep; 64(9):1078-86. . View in PubMed

CREB1 haplotypes and the relative reinforcing value of nicotine Mol Psychiatry. 2007 Jul; 12(7):615-7. . View in PubMed

CYP2B6 genotype does not alter nicotine metabolism, plasma levels, or abstinence with nicotine replacement therapy Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2007 Jun; 16(6):1312-4. . View in PubMed

An association of CYP2A6 genotype and smoking topography Nicotine Tob Res. 2007 Apr; 9(4):511-8. . View in PubMed

Gender differences in acute tobacco withdrawal: effects on subjective, cognitive, and physiological measures Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2007 Feb; 15(1):21-36. . View in PubMed

Bupropion efficacy for smoking cessation is influenced by the DRD2 Taq1A polymorphism: analysis of pooled data from two clinical trials Nicotine Tob Res. 2007 12; 9(12):1251-7. . View in PubMed

Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene variants predict response to bupropion therapy for tobacco dependence Biol Psychiatry. 2007 Jan 01; 61(1):111-8. . View in PubMed

Can pharmacogenetics help smokers quit? Pharmacogenomics. 2006 Dec; 7(8):1137-40.. View in PubMed

Association of OPRM1 A118G variant with the relative reinforcing value of nicotine Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2006 Oct; 188(3):355-63. . View in PubMed

Current and emerging pharmacotherapies for treating tobacco dependence Expert Opin Emerg Drugs. 2006 Sep; 11(3):429-44. . View in PubMed

Helping smokers quit through pharmacogenetics LDI Issue Brief. 2006 May-Jun; 11(6):1-4. . View in PubMed

Impact of CYP2A6 genotype on pretreatment smoking behaviour and nicotine levels from and usage of nicotine replacement therapy Mol Psychiatry. 2006 Apr; 11(4):400-9. . View in PubMed

Evaluating smokers' reactions to advertising for new lower nicotine quest cigarettes Psychol Addict Behav. 2006 Mar; 20(1):80-4. . View in PubMed

A randomized pilot study of cognitive-behavioral therapy versus basic health education for smoking cessation among cancer patients Ann Behav Med. 2005 Aug; 30(1):1-11. . View in PubMed

Association of catechol-O-methyltransferase with smoking cessation in two independent studies of women Pharmacogenet Genomics. 2005 Jun; 15(6):393-8. . View in PubMed

Increases in hyperactive-impulsive symptoms predict relapse among smokers in nicotine replacement therapy J Subst Abuse Treat. 2005 Jun; 28(4):297-304. . View in PubMed

Barriers to translating emerging genetic research on smoking into clinical practicePerspectives of primary care physicians. J Gen Intern Med. 2005 Feb; 20(2):131-8. . View in PubMed

Effects of different nicotine replacement therapies on postcessation psychological responses Addict Behav. 2005 Jan; 30(1):9-17. . View in PubMed

Effect of bupropion on depression symptoms in a smoking cessation clinical trial Psychol Addict Behav. 2004 Dec; 18(4):362-6. . View in PubMed

Changes in food reward following smoking cessation: a pharmacogenetic investigation Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2004 Aug; 174(4):571-7. . View in PubMed

Food hedonics and reinforcement as determinants of laboratory food intake in smokers Physiol Behav. 2004 May; 81(3):511-7. . View in PubMed

Do small lapses predict relapse to smoking behavior under bupropion treatment? Nicotine Tob Res. 2004 Apr; 6(2):357-66.. View in PubMed

Comparing cancer patients who enroll in a smoking cessation program at a comprehensive cancer center with those who decline enrollment Head Neck. 2004 Mar; 26(3):278-86. . View in PubMed

Gender differences in smoking cessation in a placebo-controlled trial of bupropion with behavioral counseling Nicotine Tob Res. 2004 Feb; 6(1):27-37. . View in PubMed

Genetics and drug use as a complex phenotype Subst Use Misuse. 2004; 39(10-12):1515-69. . View in PubMed

Genes, smoking, and treatment response Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2003 Sep 15; 60(18):1911. . View in PubMed

Effects of dopamine transporter and receptor polymorphisms on smoking cessation in a bupropion clinical trial Health Psychol. 2003 Sep; 22(5):541-8. . View in PubMed

Individual differences in nicotine intake per cigarette Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2003 May; 12(5):468-71. . View in PubMed

Elucidating the role of genetic factors in smoking behavior and nicotine dependence Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet. 2003 Apr 01; 118B(1):48-54. . View in PubMed

Applying genetic approaches to the treatment of nicotine dependence Oncogene. 2002 Oct 21; 21(48):7412-20. . View in PubMed

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms and smoking patterns among participants in a smoking-cessation program Nicotine Tob Res. 2001 Nov; 3(4):353-9. . View in PubMed

Evidence suggesting the role of specific genetic factors in cigarette smoking Health Psychol. 1999 Jan; 18(1):14-20. . View in PubMed

Dopamine D4 receptors and the risk of cigarette smoking in African-Americans and Caucasians Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 1998 Jun; 7(6):453-8. . View in PubMed

Depression and self-medication with nicotine: the modifying influence of the dopamine D4 receptor gene Health Psychol. 1998 Jan; 17(1):56-62. . View in PubMed

Genetic susceptibility testing in smoking-cessation treatment: one-year outcomes of a randomized trial Addict Behav. 1997 Nov-Dec; 22(6):741-51. . View in PubMed

Gender and ethnic differences in readiness to change smoking behavior Womens Health. 1997; 3(2):139-50. . View in PubMed

Incorporating biomarkers of exposure and genetic susceptibility into smoking cessation treatment: effects on smoking-related cognitions, emotions, and behavior change Health Psychol. 1997 Jan; 16(1):87-99. . View in PubMed

Biological markers in smoking cessation treatment Semin Oncol. 1993 Aug; 20(4):359-67. . View in PubMed

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