Canhua Xiao, PhD, RN, FAAN

Associate Professor of Nursing
Associate Professor of Psychiatry

Yale School of Nursing - Room 20102

phone: 203-737-3865
fax: 203-785-6455


Dr. Xiao is an Associate Professor at Yale School of Nursing. She obtained her PhD from University of Pennsylvania and finished her postdoctoral training at Emory University.  Prior to joining YSN, she was an Assistant Professor at Emory University.  The focus of her scholarship has been cancer-related symptoms/symptom clusters, their biological mechanisms, and patient-reported outcomes including quality of life.  She is currently studying cancer-related fatigue and its inflammatory signaling pathways.  Her goal is to improve the quality of life and long-term survival of patients with cancer through multidisciplinary research and the development of evidence-based interventions.  Dr. Xiao’s work has been funded by multiple sources including NIH/NINR and Oncology Nursing Society.  She is the recipient of the Victoria Mock New Investigator Award from the Oncology Nursing Society and the Protégée Award from the Friends of National Institute of Nursing Research.  Her work has been published at journals, such as the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Cancer, Brain Behavior and Immunity, International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics, Psychological Medicine and Research in Nursing & Health.  

Research Interests

Dr. Xiao’s research focuses on cancer-related symptoms/symptom clusters, their biological mechanisms, and patient-reported outcomes including quality of life.  Dr. Xiao’s work has examined the inflammatory mechanisms of cancer-related fatigue through omics approach, including mRNA expression changes and DNA methylations changes.  Currently, she is interested in the association between persistent fatigue and long-lasting inflammation that may involve epigenetic changes secondary to cancer and its treatment.  Through her research on the potential role of inflammation on cancer-related symptoms, particularly the neurocognitive symptoms, Dr. Xiao is also interested in reducing inflammation to decrease symptom burden, improve quality of life, and eventually increase the survival rate for patients with cancer.  Dr. Xiao’s other line of research is on quality of life and patient reported-outcomes.  She is currently the co-chair for quality of life and patient-reported outcomes in a couple of phase II/III clinical trial conducted by the NRG Oncology group, which is part of the NCI supported National Clinical Trial Network (NCTN).

Selected Publications

Xiao C, Hurst N, Morsas B. The State of the Science in Patient-Reported Outcomes for Patients with Lung Cancer. Issue on “Lung Cancer: Advances in Diagnosis and Management.” Semin Respir Crit Care Med. 2020;00:1–9.

Xiao C, Beitler JJ, Higgins KA, Chico CE, Withycombe JS, Zhu Y, Zhao H, Lin IH, Li F, Jeon S, Irwin M, Bruner DW, Miller AH, Gary R.  Pilot Study of Combined Aerobic and Resistance Exercise on Fatigue for Patients with Head and Neck Cancer: Inflammatory and Epigenetic Changes. Brain, Behavior, and Immunology 2020 Apr 21;S0889-1591(19)31283-8.doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2020.04.044. Online ahead of print

Xiao C, Eldridge RC, Beitler JJ, Higgins KA, Chico CE, Felger JC, Wommack EC, Knobf T, Saba NF, Shin DM, Bruner DW, Miller AH.  Association among glucocorticoid receptor sensitivity, fatigue, and inflammation in patients with head and neck cancer.  Psychosomatic Medicine 2020 April 21 - Publish Ahead of Print

Eldridge RC, Pugh SL, Trotti A, Hu K, Spencer SA, Yom S, Rosenthal D, Read N, Desai A, Gore E, Shenouda G, Mishra MV, Bruner D, Xiao C. Changing Functional Status within Six Months Post-treatment is Prognostic of Overall Survival in Head and Neck Cancer Patients: an NRG Oncology Study. Head and Neck Cancer 2019; 41(11): 3924-3932. PMCID: PMC6865821

Beitler JJ, Switchenko JM, Dignam J, McDonald MW, Shin DM, Magliocca KR, El-Deiry MW, Patel MR, Steuer C, Xiao C, Rhyner P, Aiken A, Curran WJ, Le Q. (2019) Smoking, Age, Nodal Disease, T-Stage, P16 Status and Risk of Distant Metastases in Patients with Squamous Cell Cancer of the Oropharynx. Cancer. 125(5):704-711.

Xiao C, Beitler JJ, Higgins KA, Wommack EC, Saba NF, Shin DM, Bruner DW, Miller AH, Cole S. (2018) Differential regulation of NF-kB and IRF target genes as they relate to fatigue in patients with head and neck cancer. Brain Behav Immun. 74:291-295.

Xiao C, Dai T, Hanlon A, Guo Y, Bruner DW. Comparison of Missing Data Imputation Techniques in Factor Analysis. Journal of Nursing Measurement. (accepted May, 2018)

Xiao C, Moughan J, Movsas B, Konski AA, Hanks GE, Cox JD, Roach III M, Zeitzer KL, Lawton CA, Peters CA, Rosenthal SA, Hsu CJ, Horwitz EM, Mishra MV, Michalski JM, Parliament MB, D’Souza DP, Pugh SL, Bruner DW. (2018) Risk Factors for Late Bowel and Bladder Toxicities in NRG Oncology Prostate Cancer Trials of High Risk Patients: A Meta-analysis of Physician Rated Toxicities. Advances in Radiation Oncology. 3(3):405-411.

Xiao C, Beitler J, Higgins K, Glazer T, Huynh LK, Paul S, Felger J, Wommack EC, Saba NF, Shin DM, Burner DW, Miller A. (2018) Associations among HPV, inflammation, and fatigue in head and neck cancer patients. Cancer 124(15):3163-3170.

Ferris MJ, Zhong J, Switchenko JM, Higgins KA, Cassidy RJ 3rd, McDonald MW, Eaton BR, Patel KR, Steuer CE, Baddour HM Jr, Miller AH, Bruner DW, Xiao C, Beitler JJ. (2018) Brainstem dose is associated with patient-reported acute fatigue in head and neck cancer radiation therapy. Radiother Oncol. 126(1):100-106.

Xiao C, Miller A, Felger J, Mister D, Liu T, Torres M. (2017) Depressive symptoms and inflammation are independent risk factors of fatigue in breast cancer survivors. Psychological Medicine. 47(10):1733-1743.

Wang T, Yin J, Miller A, Xiao C. A (2017) systematic review of the association between fatigue and genetic polymorphisms. Brain, Behavior, and Immunology. 62:230-244.

Miaskowski C, Barsevick A, Berger A, Casagrande R, Grady P, Jacobsen P, Kutner J, Patrick D, Zimmerman L, Xiao C, Matocha M, Marden S. (2017) Advancing Symptom Science Through Symptom Cluster Research: Expert Panel Proceedings and Recommendations. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 109(4).

Xiao C, Zhang Q, Nguyen-Tân PF, List M, Weber RS, Ang KK (Deceased), Rosenthal R, Filion EJ, Kim H, Silverman C, Raben A, Galloway T, Fortin A, Gore E, Winquist E, Jones CU, Robinson W, Raben D, Le QT, Bruner DW. (2017) Quality of life in a prospective phase III randomized trial of concurrent standard radiation vs. accelerated radiation plus cisplatin for locally advanced head and neck carcinoma: NRG Oncology RTOG 0129. International Journal of Radiation Oncology • Biology • Physics. 97(4):667-677.

Xiao C, Miller AH, Felger J, Mister D, Liu T, Torres M. (2016) A Prospective Study of Quality of Life in Breast Cancer Patients Undergoing Radiotherapy. Advances in Radiation Oncology. 1:10-16.

Xiao C, Beitler J, Higgins K, Conneely K, Dwivedi B, Felger J, Wommack EC, Shin DM, Saba NF, Ong L, Kowalski J, Burner DW, Miller A. (2016) Fatigue is Associated with Inflammation in Patients with Head and Neck Cancer Before and After Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy. Brain, Behavior, and Immunology. 52:145-152. PMID: 26515035

Bruner DW, Hunt D, Michalski J, Bosch W, Galvin J, Amin M, Xiao C, Bahary J, Patel M, Chafe S, Rodrigues G, Lau H, Duclos M, Baikadi M, Deshmukh S, Sandler H. (2015) Preliminary Patient Reported Outcomes Analysis of 3DCRT versus IMRT on the High Dose Arm of the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) 0126 Prostate Cancer Trial. Cancer. 121(14):2422-30. PMID: 25847819

Xiao C, Hanlon A, Zhang Q, Movsas B, Ang K, Rosenthal DI, Nguyen-Tan PF, Kim H, Le Q, Burner DW. (2014). Risk Factors for Clinician-Reported Symptom Clusters in Patients with Advanced Head and Neck Cancer in a Phase III Randomized Clinical Trial: RTOG 0129. Cancer. 120(6):848-854. PMID: 24338990

Xiao C, Bruner DW, Jennings BM, Hanlon AL. (2014) Methods for Examining Cancer Symptom Clusters Over Time. Research in Nursing & Health.  37(1):65-74. PMID: 24414939

Xiao C, Hanlon A, Zhang Q, Ang K, Rosenthal DI, Nguyen-Tan PF, Kim H, Movsas B, Burner DW. (2013). Symptom clusters in patients with head and neck cancer receiving concurrent chemoradiotherapy. Oral Oncology. 49(4):360-366. PMID: 23168337

Xiao C, Polomano R. Bruner DW. (2013). Comparison between Patient-reported and Clinician-observed Symptoms in Oncology. Cancer Nursing. 36(6): E1-E16. PMID: 23047799

Xiao C. (2010). The state of science in the study of cancer symptom clusters. European Journal of Oncology Nursing, 14(5): 417-434. PMID: 20599421