Dr. Oxana Palesh's Research at Stanford University

Current and past research studies

COVID-19 Update:

At this time, we are resuming our human subject research with increased safety precautions, in accordance with guidelines set forth by Stanford University. The safety of out participants is our number one priority in the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Join a Research Study!

We are recruiting participants for exciting new research studies!

These studies aim to better understand chemotherapy related cognitive deficits (CRCI) through the use of MRI technology. 


Seeks to recruit 1. patients who are newly diagnosed with breast cancer, and who have not yet begun any chemotherapy or radiation treatment related to their cancer. 2. patients with a history of breast cancer who have completed chemotherapy treatment at least one month ago and 3. healthy controls


Is a continuation of our hugely successful original ProBC study, and seeks to recruit women who participated in ProBC for long-term follow-up of their brain health.

New Multicenter Study Open

A Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial of BBT-CI vs. HEAL has been reviewed by the NCI and is open for enrollment.

Secondary Outcomes from the Phase II MOSAIC Sleep Study

New Paper with Secondary Outcomes from the Phase II MOSAIC Sleep Study

Nearly 80% of cancer patients struggle with insomnia, which is associated with decreased heart rate variability (HRV) and quality of life (QOL). The aim of this secondary analysis was to evaluate the possible effects of Brief Behavioral Therapy for Cancer-Related Insomnia (BBT-CI), delivered during chemotherapy visits, on QOL and HRV in patients with breast cancer (BC).QOL and HRV data were obtained during a pilot clinical trial assessing the feasibility and effects of BBT-CI on insomnia. A total of 71 BC patients were randomly assigned to either BBT-CI or a healthy-eating control intervention (HEAL). BBT-CI and HEAL were delivered over 6 weeks by trained staff at 4 National Cancer Institute-funded Community Oncology Research Program clinics.

Patients randomized to BBT-CI showed improvements in QOL and HRV, providing support for BBT-CI's possible benefit when delivered in the community oncology setting by trained staff. A more definitive efficacy trial of BBT-CI is currently being planned with sufficient statistical power to evaluate the intervention's clinical utility.


Authors: Palesh, O., Scheiber, C., Kesler, S., Gevirtz, R., Heckler, C., Guido, J. J., Janelsins, M., Cases, M. G., Tong, B., Miller, J. M., Chrysson, N. G., Mustian, K.

(PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).

Sleep Research Findings Presented at the Society of Behavioral Medicine Annual Meeting

Cancer related cognitive impairments and sleep disruptions are some of the most common issues for breast cancer patients and survivors. Although we have evidence that sleep problems can disrupt simple cognitive tasks, there are mixed results on how lack of sleep or disrupted circadian rhythm impact higher level cognitive function.

In this analysis, we found that our population of breast cancer patients from our MOSAIC study had worse cognitive functioning associated with higher levels of depressed mood, higher levels of insomnia, and worse circadian function. These findings point to a relationship between cognitive outcomes and sleep in breast cancer patients, and more research is needed to determine the exact nature of these relationships.

We had the opportunity to share these exciting results at the Society of Behavioral Medicine Annual Meeting in Washington DC in March, 2019! 

Recruitment is Complete for the Breast and Gynecologic Cancer Survivorship Database Pilot

Photo Courtesy of the National Cancer Institute 

The Cancer Survivorship Database Pilot is finished with recruitment of breast and gynecologic cancer survivors. This study is a collaboration between clinicians at the Women's Cancer Program and the Cancer Survivorship Research Team.  Begun with a seed grant from the Stanford Cancer Institute, the research project has several aims: to establish a database that will allow investigators to track cancer survivor’s concerns over time, and to learn more about their ongoing concerns and needs.

Participants who enrolled in this study had the opportunity to complete a survey in their own homes at a convenient time. Questions addressed the personal, emotional, physical and financial impact of cancer on their lives and that of their families. Researchers hope to understand the frequency and intensity of treatment side-effects and to identify the needs for additional supportive interventions. Learning directly from patients will allow the team to identify the types of resources and services that are needed, and that will be helpful to the community of Stanford patients as well as those treated at other institutions around the country and the world.

We thank our many participants who helped to contribute to our understanding of cancer patients' needs!