Steering Committee Member – Dennis Ahnen, MD

Dennis Ahnen, MD

University of Colorado Cancer Center

Dr. Ahnen  completed his Medical School Training at Wayne State University in Detroit Michigan and completed a Medical Residency and Chief Residency at Hutzel Hospital in Detroit before going to the University of Colorado as a Fellow in Gastroenterology in 1977.  After completing his Fellowship, he completed a Membrane Pathobiology Research Fellowship at Stanford University before returning to join the faculty of the University of Colorado School of Medicine in 1982 where he is currently a Professor of Medicine. In 2014, he retired from his long-standing (32 years) faculty position at The Department of Veterans Affairs Eastern Colorado Health Care System and joined the staff of Gastroenterology of the Rockies.Dr. Ahnen is an active clinician and investigator.  He is the Co-Director of the University of Colorado Hereditary Cancer Clinic and founded the GI Clinic at Gastroenterology of the Rockies; he provides consultative service to GI cancer families in both settings. His laboratory has conducted both basic and clinical investigations related to CRC prevention. At the basic level Dr. Ahnen’s laboratory has examined the biologic and biochemical mechanisms of the chemopreventive effects of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).  Dr. Ahnen’s clinical laboratory group conducts chemoprevention and colorectal screening trials as well as behavioral intervention trials designed to promote colorectal screening in high-risk family members.  The clinical laboratory group has conducted trials of screening colonoscopy, stool DNA testing, and participated in a series of adenoma prevention trials with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, folate supplementation and calcium and is currently conducting adenoma prevention trials testing selenium and  Vitamin D/Calcium as chemo-preventive agents.In collaboration with Dr. Jan Lowery, the behavioral laboratory group conducts trials designed to improve colorectal cancer screening rates in high risk populations such as first degree relatives of patients with colorectal cancer or those have stronger family histories including those that meet the Amsterdam criteria for HNPCC. Drs. Ahnen and Lowery direct the Colorado site of the Colorectal Cancer Family Registry Cohort.Dr. Ahnen joined the National Colorectal Cancer Round Table in 2009, has co-chaired the Family History Task Force with Dr. Paul Schroy since 2012 and joined the NCCRT Steering Committee in November of 2014. Dr. Ahnen is currently working to implement CRC prevention interventions that have been shown to be effective in clinical trials into a community-based practice of Gastroenterology.

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