Program Highlights

Novel Preclinical and Patient-Derived Models, Imaging, and Tumor Profiling

  1. Arora J, Sauer SJ, Tarpley M, Vermeulen P, Rypens C, Van Laere S, Williams KP, Devi GR*, Dewhirst MW*. (*co-senior authors) IBC tumor emboli express high levels of anti-apoptotic proteins: use of a quantitative high content and high-throughput 3D IBC spheroid assay to identify targeting strategies. Oncotarget. 2017 Apr 18;8(16):25848-25863.
  2. Harowicz MR, Saha A, Grimm LJ, Marcom PK, Marks JR, Hwang ES, Mazurowski MA. Can algorithmically assessed MRI features predict which patients with a preoperative diagnosis of ductal carcinoma in situ are upstaged to invasive breast cancer? J Magn Reson Imaging. 2017 Feb 9. doi: 10.1002/jmri.25655. [Epub ahead of print]

  3. Nath S, Devi GR. Three-dimensional culture systems in cancer research: Focus on tumorspheroid model. Pharmacol Ther. 2016 Jul;163:94-108. Review.

  4. Betof AS, Lascola CD, Weitzel D, Landon C, Scarbrough PM, Devi GR, Palmer G, Jones LW, Dewhirst MW. Modulation of murine breast tumor vascularity, hypoxia and chemotherapeutic response by exercise. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2015 Mar 16;107(5).

  5. Oladapo HO, Tarpley M, Sauer SJ, Addo KA, Ingram SM, Strepay D, Ehe BK, Chdid L, Trinkler M, Roques JR, Darr DB, Fleming JM, Devi GR, Williams KP. Pharmacological targeting of GLI1 inhibits proliferation, tumor emboli formation and in vivo tumor growth of inflammatory breast cancer cells. Cancer Lett. 2017 Dec 28;411:136-149.

  6. Crawford BM, Shammas RL, Fales AM, Brown DA, Hollenbeck ST, Vo-Dinh T, Devi GR. Photothermal ablation of inflammatory breast cancer tumor emboli using plasmonic gold nanostars. Int J Nanomedicine. 2017 Aug 26;12:6259-6272. eCollection 2017.

  7. Lane WO, Thomas SM, Blitzblau RC, Plichta JK, Rosenberger LH, Fayanju OM, Hyslop T, Hwang ES, Greenup RA. Surgical Resection of the Primary Tumor in Women With De Novo Stage IV Breast Cancer: Contemporary Practice Patterns and Survival Analysis. Ann Surg. 2017 Dec 7. [Epub ahead of print]

  8. Plichta JK, Campbell BM, Mittendorf EA, Hwang ES. Anatomy and Breast Cancer Staging: Is It Still Relevant? Surg Oncol Clin N Am. 2018 Jan;27(1):51-67. Review.

Drug Discovery and Development

  1. Allensworth JL, Evans MK, Bertucci F, Aldrich AJ, Festa RA, et al. Disulfiram (DSF) acts as a copper ionophore to induce copper-dependent oxidative stress and mediate anti-tumor efficacy in inflammatory breast cancer. Mol Oncol. 2015 Jun;9(6):1155-68.
  2. Allensworth JL, Sauer SJ, Lyerly HK, Morse MA, Devi GR. Smac mimetic Birinapant induces apoptosis and enhances TRAIL potency in inflammatory breast cancer cells in an IAP-dependent and TNF-α-independent mechanism. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2013 Jan;137(2):359-71.

  3. Williams KP, Allensworth JL, Ingram SM, Smith GR, Aldrich AJ, Sexton JZ, Devi GR. Quantitative high-throughput efficacy profiling of approved oncology drugs in inflammatory breast cancer models of acquired drug resistance and re-sensitization. Cancer Lett. 2013 Aug 28;337(1):77-89.

  4. Evans MK, Tovmasyan A, Batinic-Haberle I, Devi GR. Mn porphyrin in combination with ascorbate acts as a pro-oxidant and mediates caspase-independent cancer cell death. Free Radic Biol Med. 2014 Mar;68:302-14.

  5. Xia W, Petricoin EF 3rd, Zhao S, Liu L, Osada T, Cheng Q, Wulfkuhle JD, Gwin WR, Yang X, Gallagher RI, Bacus S, Lyerly HK, Spector NL. An heregulin-EGFR-HER3 autocrine signaling axis can mediate acquired lapatinib resistance in HER2+ breast cancer models. Breast Cancer Res. 2013;15(5):R85.

  6. Thomas ZI, Gibson W, Sexton JZ, Aird KM, Ingram SM, Aldrich A, Lyerly HK, Devi GR, Williams KP. Targeting GLI1 expression in human inflammatory breast cancer cells enhances apoptosis and attenuates migration. Br J Cancer. 2011 May 10;104(10):1575-86.

  7. Ye X, Fels D, Tovmasyan A, Aird KM, Dedeugd C, Allensworth JL, Kos I, Park W, Spasojevic I, Devi GR, Dewhirst MW, Leong KW, Batinic-Haberle I. Cytotoxic effects of Mn(III) N-alkylpyridylporphyrins in the presence of cellular reductant, ascorbate. Free Radic Res. 2011 Nov;45(11-12):1289-306. 

  8. Boussen H, Cristofanilli M, Zaks T, DeSilvio M, Salazar V, Spector N. Phase II study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of neoadjuvant lapatinib plus paclitaxel in patients with inflammatory breast cancer. J Clin Oncol. 2010 Jul 10;28(20):3248-55.

  9. Johnston S, Trudeau M, Kaufman B, Boussen H, Blackwell K, LoRusso P, Lombardi DP, Ben Ahmed S, Citrin DL, DeSilvio ML, Harris J, Westlund RE, Salazar V, Zaks TZ, Spector NL. Phase II study of predictive biomarker profiles for response targeting human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2) in advanced inflammatory breast cancer with lapatinib monotherapy. J Clin Oncol. 2008 Mar 1;26(7):1066-72.

  10. Aird KM, Ding X, Baras A, Wei J, Morse MA, Clay T, Lyerly HK, Devi GR. Trastuzumab signaling in ErbB2-overexpressing inflammatory breast cancer correlates with X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein expression. Mol Cancer Ther. 2008 Jan;7(1):38-47.

  11. Devi GR. Delivery of phosphorodiamidate morpholino antisense oligomers in cancer cells. Methods Mol Biol. 2009;542:351-61.

  12. Devi GR. siRNA-based approaches in cancer therapy. Cancer Gene Ther. 2006 Sep;13(9):819-29. Epub 2006 Jan 20. Review.

Tumor Signaling, Microenvironment, and Immune Factors

  1. Shammas RL, Fales AM, Crawford BM, Wisdom AJ, Devi GR, Brown DA, Vo-Dinh T, Hollenbeck ST. Human Adipose-Derived Stem Cells Labeled with Plasmonic Gold Nanostars for Cellular Tracking and Photothermal Cancer Cell Ablation. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2017 Apr;139(4):900e-910e.
  2. Fayanju OM, Hall CS, Bauldry JB, Karhade M, Valad LM, Kuerer HM, DeSnyder SM, Barcenas CH, Lucci A. Body mass index mediates the prognostic significance of circulating tumor cells in inflammatory breast cancer. Am J Surg. 2017 Jun 23. pii: S0002-9610(17)30118-6.

  3. Evans MK, Sauer SJ, Nath S, Robinson TJ, Morse MA, Devi GR. X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein mediates tumor cell resistance to antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity. Cell Death Dis. 2016 Jan 28;7:e2073. 

  4. Siamakpour-Reihani S, Owzar K, Jiang C, Scarbrough PM, Craciunescu OI, Horton JK, Dressman HK, Blackwell KL, Dewhirst MW. Genomic profiling in locally advanced and inflammatory breast cancer and its link to DCE-MRI and overall survival. Int J Hyperthermia. 2015 Jun;31(4):386-95. doi: 10.3109/02656736.2015.1016557. Epub 2015 Mar 26. PMID: 25811737

  5. Nair S, Aldrich AJ, McDonnell E, Cheng Q, Aggarwal A, et al. Immunologic targeting of FOXP3 in inflammatory breast cancer cells. PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e53150. 

  6. Morse MA, Hobeika A, Serra D, Aird K, McKinney M, Aldrich A, Clay T, Mourich D, Lyerly HK, Iversen PL, Devi GR. Depleting regulatory T cells with arginine-rich, cell-penetrating, peptide-conjugated morpholino oligomer targeting FOXP3 inhibits regulatory T-cell function. Cancer Gene Ther. 2012 Jan;19(1):30-7. doi: 10.1038/cgt.2011.63. Epub 2011 Oct 14.

  7. Morse MA, Hobeika AC, Osada T, Berglund P, Hubby B, et al. An alphavirus vector overcomes the presence of neutralizing antibodies and elevated numbers of Tregs to induce immune responses in humans with advanced cancer. J Clin Invest. 2010 Sep;120(9):3234-41.

Adaptive Cellular Stress Response and Environmental Exposures

  1. Sauer SJ, Tarpley M, Shah I, Save AV, Lyerly HK, Patierno SR, Williams KP, Devi GR. Bisphenol A activates EGFR and ERK promoting proliferation, tumor spheroid formation and resistance to EGFR pathway inhibition in estrogen receptor-negative inflammatory breast cancer cells. Carcinogenesis. 2017 Mar 1;38(3):252-260. 

  2. Allensworth JL, Aird KM, Aldrich AJ, Batinic-Haberle I, Devi GR. XIAP inhibition and generation of reactive oxygen species enhances TRAIL sensitivity in inflammatory breast cancer cells. Mol Cancer Ther. 2012 Jul;11(7):1518-27.

  3. Aird KM, Ghanayem RB, Peplinski S, Lyerly HK, Devi GR. X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein inhibits apoptosis in inflammatory breast cancer cells with acquired resistance to an ErbB1/2 tyrosine kinase inhibitor. Mol Cancer Ther. 2010 May;9(5):1432-42.

Addressing Health Disparity, Community Outreach, and Education

Inflammatory Breast Cancer: NCCU-Duke Cancer Disparities Translational Research Partnership

P20-CA202925-01A12 (PI: Steve Patierno, Co-PIs: Gayathri Devi/Duke, Kevin Williams/NCCU) 09/16/2016 – 09/15/2020; NIH/NCI. The aim of this program is to develop research projects in inflammatory breast cancer and prostate cancer disparities and cancer research education program through a collaborative relationship between Duke University’s NCI-designated Duke Cancer Institute (DCI) and North Carolina Central University (NCCU), a historically black university.

Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH) 

K12-HD043446-11 (PI: Duke University/Andrews N) 08/01/2015 – 07/31/2017; NIH/NICHD. BIRCWH is a career development program for junior faculty focused on interdisciplinary women’s health research. The long-term goal is to develop independent women’s health researcher careers.

Komen Graduate Training in Disparities Research

GTDR16377604 (PI: Williams KP; Co-PI: Fleming J) 07/01/2016 – 06/30/2019. The NCCU GTDR program will train minority students in breast cancer research by informing students of the cancer disparities among racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups; engaging students in patient and community outreach (e.g. with patient navigators, coordinators, and community groups); and guiding students as they discover career opportunities and acquire the professional skills necessary to become successful public health professionals, scientists, and community advocates. (Duke: Nadine Barrett, Sub-recipient PI; Gayathri Devi, Mentor)