Andrew Dannenberg

Andrew Dannenberg, M.D., is a Professor of Medicine in Cardiothoracic Surgery. His laboratory research is focused on the connection between chronic inflammation and cancer with an emphasis on prostaglandin (PG) biology.  The long-term goal of this research is to develop evidence-based strategies to decrease inflammation and reduce the risk of developing cancer.  A multifaceted approach is used. Human cancers, premalignant lesions and chronic inflammatory states, e.g., ulcerative colitis, are identified in which the expression of enzymes involved in PG biosynthesis (cyclooxygenase-2, COX-2), catabolism (15-hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase) or transport (PGT) is deregulated. The signal transduction pathways that control the expression of these genes in normal and diseased tissues are being investigated. The mechanisms by which PGs impact on wound healing or stimulate the formation and progression of tumors are being defined.  One major focus is hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. The signaling pathway by which PGE2 induces cytochrome P450 aromatase, the enzyme that catalyzes the synthesis of estrogens from androgens is being elucidated.  Pharmacological and genetic studies are being carried out to determine whether targeting specific molecules involved in PG synthesis impact on tumor formation or growth.  The potential of body mass or diet to affect PG levels, inflammation and the expression of genes implicated in carcinogenesis is being explored.  Given the link between chronic colitis and colon cancer, PG-responsive genes that play key roles in colorectal mucosal homeostasis are being identified.  Biomarkers that may reflect inflammation and cancer prognosis are being evaluated.