Menu Close

Our paper about ESR1 mutations and breast cancer metastasis is now published in Cancer Research! 

https://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/early/2022/01/25/0008-5472.CAN-21-2576
Zheqi (Vaciry) Li, Ph.D.

This study was led by former graduate student Vaciry Li with great efforts from many intra- and inter-group collaborations. Congratulations to all! 

In this study, we showed that context and allele-dependent transcriptome and cistrome reprogramming in ESR1 mutation cell models, which elicit diverse metastatic phenotypes related to cell-cell adhesion, cell-ECM adhesion and migration driven by increased desmosome/gap junctions, dampened TIMP3-MMP axis and Wnt pathway. Importantly, some of these pathways can pharmacologically targeted and reveals novel therapeutic strategies.  

Our new review is out now in The Lancet Healthy Longevity!

Led by PhD student Neil Carleton and senior authors Adrian Lee, Priscilla McAuliffe, and Steffi Oesterreich, we review key considerations for “right-sizing” therapy options for older women with ER+ breast cancer. With contributions from radiation, pathology, surgical oncology, radiation oncology, and medical oncology from the UPMC / Magee Women’s Hospital breast cancer group, this collaborative effort touches on optimizing quality of life along with new translational studies that may impact future treatment of these patients. 

Check it out at: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanhl/article/PIIS2666-7568(21)00280-4/fulltext.  

Congrats to Ashuvinee Elangovan for her poster award at the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Scientific Retreat!

Congratulations to Ashuvinee Elangovan on winning 2nd place for her poster “Loss of E-cadherin Induced IGF1R Activation as a Targetable Pathway for Invasive Lobular Breast Carcinoma” at the 33rd Annual UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Scientific Retreat held on October 12th, at the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum. Several lab members also presented their posters, including Neil Carleton, Kai Ding, Nandini Doshi, Olivia McGinn, Susrutha Puthanmadhom, Laura Savariau, Osama Shah, & Megan Yates.

Ahuvinee Elangovan

Megan Yates
Olivai McGinn
Osama Shah
Kai Ding

Congrats to Postdoc Olivia McGinn for receiving the Hillman Postdoctoral Fellowship for Innovative Cancer Research!

Olivia McGinn, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow

This training program is designed to recruit postdoctoral fellows from around the country to conduct cutting edge research at the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. For her project, Olivia will be investigating why invasive lobular breast carcinoma (ILC) displays a unique pattern of metastasis relative to the more common form of breast cancer, invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC). Whereas both ILC and IDC metastasize to the bone, liver, and lungs, ILC displays an increased propensity to metastasize to the GI tract and reproductive organs. To study this, she is investigating the contribution of mesothelial cells in dictating ILC metastasis. Mesothelial cells are non-cancerous cells that line all organs of the body and are highly enriched in the abdominal cavity where ILC tumors metastasize to. Her goal is to identify specific mechanisms that mediate metastasis to these unique sites so that therapies can be designed to prevent it.

Congrats to Neil and the lab on their recent paper studying treatment regimens for elderly breast cancer – out now in JAMA Network Open!

Update (7/16/2021): Check out the 21 news stories written on our recent publication!
https://jamanetwork.altmetric.com/details/103966504/news

Led by Neil Carleton with significant contributions from others in the lab (Osama Shah & Fangyuan (Chelsea) Chen), we studied trends of use of two interventions, sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) and radiation therapy (RT), in elderly women with ER+, clinically node-negative breast cancer. Despite two national guidelines recommending against their use, trends of use by surgical oncologists and radiation oncologists remain quite high. We used propensity score matching to control for confounding and biases in retrospective analysis. Significantly, we found that omitting either SLNB or RT was a feasible approach to care and did not compromise recurrence free survival. Our results bolster the existing clinical guidelines recommending for de-implementation of these interventions.

This was a highly collaborative projects with input from authors in biostatistics, radiation oncology, surgical oncology, medical oncology, and specialists in women’s cancer.

Excitingly, this paper received quite a bit of attention in the media and in the field at large! We were thrilled to see Dr. Lee appear on multiple local TV news stations and Dr. McAuliffe making a number of radio appearances!

Link to paper on journal website: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2778563

Link to Hillman Cancer Center Press Release press release: https://hillmanresearch.upmc.edu/breast-cancer-treatment-study/

Link to Adrian’s KDKA segment: https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/video/5495249-upmc-study-not-all-breast-cancer-should-be-treated/

Link to Adrian’s WTAE segment: https://www.wtae.com/article/sometimes-less-is-better-study-looks-at-treatment-of-breast-cancer-patients-over-70/36159559

Congrats to Neil on receiving an excellent (and fundable!) score on his NIH NRSA F30 fellowship award!

Congrats to Neil Carleton on his excellent score on his F30 award application, which is titled, “Promotion of ER+ Breast Cancer Progression in the Elderly.”

Neil will study the intersection of aging and breast cancer: ER+ breast cancer incidence correlates strongly with aging, rising to a peak incidence in women aged 70 years or older (elderly). Owing in large part to the differences in physiologic estrogen signaling and the chronic inflammatory state that develops as people age, ER+ breast cancer that develops in the elderly population exhibits distinct clinical and biologically behavior from ER+ breast cancer in younger cohorts. Intrinsic epigenomic and transcriptomic as well as changes to local breast microenvironment all contribute to a unique landscape for tumor pathogenesis in aged individuals. The interplay and disease-causing roles of these factors requires further investigation.

Neil thanks Dr. Lee, Dr. Oesterreich, and Dr. Xavier for their excellent mentorship – this is the lab’s fourth (!) F30 award received for MD/PhD students!