Sarah T. Arron, MD, PhD

Sarah T. Arron, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Dermatology, UCSF

Phone: (415) 353-7878 (appts)
Box 0316, UCSF
San Francisco, CA 94143-0316

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Cancer Center Membership

Associate Member ┬╗ Non-aligned

Research Summary

My research focuses on the pathogenesis of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. As a Mohs Micrographic surgeon in the department of Dermatology, I lead the High Risk Skin Cancer Program, a practice devoted to the care of patients at risk for skin cancer due to solid organ transplant and other iatrogenic immunosuppression, HIV infection, and genetic conditions predisposing to cutaneous malignancy.

A primary research question for our group is whether human papillomavirus (HPV) is an etiologic agent in cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) in immunosuppressed patients and in the general population. Cutaneous SCC is the second most common type of skin cancer, with an estimated incidence of over 200,000 cases per year in the United States and a 65-fold increased risk in immunosuppressed organ transplant recipients over the general population. A related question is whether HPV carriage on the skin at baseline is a predictor for the development of SCC after solid organ transplant.

To address these questions, we must first be able to accurately and definitively identify HPV infection in the skin. Previous attempts to link cutaneous SCC with HPV infection have yielded contradictory results, primarily due to differences in viral detection techniques. Our laboratory is working to develop new technologies for the detection and genotyping of HPV. Over 90 fully sequenced human papillomaviruses and numerous fragment candidates have been identified. This creates a complex combination of sequence conservation and diversity within the family that has frustrated previous attempts at a unified genotyping strategy. Our group combines bioinformatics, microarray technology, and deep sequencing in order to overcome obstacles to accurate genotyping.

New techniques for HPV genotyping will also lend themselves to questions beyond the realm of dermatology. We have set up collaborations with groups in other departments at UCSF to implement our assays in studies on the role of HPV in the pathogenesis of head and neck SCC and anogenital SCC. We anticipate that this technology will lead to larger multidisciplinary studies on HPV in the future.

The second aspect of my research focuses on risk factors for cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma in organ transplant recipients. Through the UCSF Mechanisms of Skin Cancer Cohort, we are working to determine both phenotypic and genetic risk factors for the development of skin cancer in this high risk population. We are actively recruiting patients to our database and banking tissue for future studies.

The UCSF High Risk Skin Cancer Program is involved in a variety of collaborative translational research efforts. In addition, the program is structured to serve as an investigational site for pharmaceutical trials. As Director of this rapidly developing unit, I am committed to implementing research that improves the care of our patients.


Harvard College, A.B., 06/96, Biology
Weill Medical College of Cornell University, M.D., 06/03,
The Rockefeller University, Ph.D., 06/02, Biomedical Sciences
Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, Intern, 06/04, Medicine- Transitional
University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, Resident, 06/08, Dermatology
University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, Fellow, 06/08, Molecular Medicine
University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, Fellow, 06/07, Procedural Dermatology
University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, Postdoctoral Fellow, 06/10, Viral Metagenomics
University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, M.A.S., 06/12, Clinical Research

Professional Experience

  • 2008-2009
    University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, Assistant Clinical Professor, Dermatology
  • 2009-present
    University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, Assistant Professor in Residence, Dermatology
  • 2012-present
    San Francisco Veterans Administration Medical Center, Chief, Mohs Micrographic Surgery, Dermatology

Honors & Awards

  • 2009
    Academic Dermatology Leadership ProgramAmerican Academy of Dermatology

Selected Publications

  1. Steenrod AW, Smyth EN, Bush EN, Chang AL, Arron ST, Helfrich YR, Von Hoff DD, Brail LH, Coyne KS. A Qualitative Comparison of Symptoms and Impact of Varying Stages of Basal Cell Carcinoma. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb). 2015 Sep; 5(3):183-99.
    View on PubMed
  2. Robbins HA, Clarke CA, Arron ST, Tatalovich Z, Kahn AR, Hernandez BY, Paddock L, Yanik EL, Lynch CF, Kasiske BL, Snyder J, Engels EA. Melanoma Risk and Survival among Organ Transplant Recipients. J Invest Dermatol. 2015 Nov; 135(11):2657-65.
    View on PubMed
  3. Watt SA, Purdie KJ, den Breems NY, Dimon M, Arron ST, McHugh AT, Xue DJ, Dayal JH, Proby CM, Harwood CA, Leigh IM, South AP. Novel CARD11 Mutations in Human Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma Lead to Aberrant NF-?B Regulation. Am J Pathol. 2015 Sep; 185(9):2354-63.
    View on PubMed
  4. Asgari MM, Arron ST, Warton EM, Quesenberry CP, Weisshaar D. Sirolimus use and risk of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) in solid organ transplant recipients (SOTRs). J Am Acad Dermatol. 2015 Sep; 73(3):444-50.
    View on PubMed
  5. Raleigh DR, Algazi A, Arron ST, Neuhaus IM, Yom SS. Induction Hedgehog pathway inhibition followed by combined-modality radiotherapy for basal cell carcinoma. Br J Dermatol. 2015 Aug; 173(2):544-6.
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  6. Sekulic A, Migden MR, Lewis K, Hainsworth JD, Solomon JA, Yoo S, Arron ST, Friedlander PA, Marmur E, Rudin CM, Chang AL, Dirix L, Hou J, Yue H, Hauschild A. Pivotal ERIVANCE basal cell carcinoma (BCC) study: 12-month update of efficacy and safety of vismodegib in advanced BCC. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2015 Jun; 72(6):1021-1026.e8.
    View on PubMed
  7. Raposo RA, Gupta R, Abdel-Mohsen M, Dimon M, Debbaneh M, Jiang W, York VA, Leadabrand KS, Brown G, Malakouti M, Arron S, Kuebler PJ, Wu JJ, Pillai SK, Nixon DF, Liao W. Antiviral gene expression in psoriasis. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2015 Oct; 29(10):1951-7.
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  8. He SY, Makhzoumi ZH, Singer JP, Chin-Hong PV, Arron ST. Practice variation in Aspergillus prophylaxis and treatment among lung transplant centers: a national survey. Transpl Infect Dis. 2015 Feb; 17(1):14-20.
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  9. Zheng CL, Wang NJ, Chung J, Moslehi H, Sanborn JZ, Hur JS, Collisson EA, Vemula SS, Naujokas A, Chiotti KE, Cheng JB, Fassihi H, Blumberg AJ, Bailey CV, Fudem GM, Mihm FG, Cunningham BB, Neuhaus IM, Liao W, Oh DH, Cleaver JE, LeBoit PE, Costello JF, Lehmann AR, Gray JW, Spellman PT, Arron ST, Huh N, Purdom E, Cho RJ. Transcription restores DNA repair to heterochromatin, determining regional mutation rates in cancer genomes. Cell Rep. 2014 Nov 20; 9(4):1228-34.
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  10. AlDabagh BA, Arron ST. Advanced basal cell carcinoma: how rare is the diagnosis? Br J Dermatol. 2014 Nov; 171(5):932-3.
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  11. Binstock M, Hafeez F, Metchnikoff C, Arron ST. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms in pigment genes and nonmelanoma skin cancer predisposition: a systematic review. Br J Dermatol. 2014 Oct; 171(4):713-21.
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  12. Gupta R, Michaud HA, Zeng X, Debbaneh M, Arron ST, Jones RB, Ormsby CE, Nixon DF, Liao W. Diminished humoral responses against and reduced gene expression levels of human endogenous retrovirus-K (HERV-K) in psoriasis. J Transl Med. 2014; 12:256.
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  13. Dybbro E, Fordyce P, Ponte M, Arron ST. Hydraulic expulsion of tumbu fly larvae. JAMA Dermatol. 2014 Jul; 150(7):791-2.
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  14. Arron ST, Canavan T, Yu SS. Organ transplant recipients with Merkel cell carcinoma have reduced progression-free, overall, and disease-specific survival independent of stage at presentation. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014 Oct; 71(4):684-90.
    View on PubMed
  15. He SY, McCulloch CE, Boscardin WJ, Chren MM, Linos E, Arron ST. Self-reported pigmentary phenotypes and race are significant but incomplete predictors of Fitzpatrick skin phototype in an ethnically diverse population. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014 Oct; 71(4):731-7.
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  16. Mavropoulos JC, Aldabagh B, Arron ST. Prospects for personalized targeted therapies for cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. Semin Cutan Med Surg. 2014 Jun; 33(2):72-5.
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  17. Yu J, Aldabagh B, Wang J, Yom SS, El-Sayed I, Knott D, McGrath MH, Arron S. Multidisciplinary management of advanced Basal cell carcinoma: report of four cases. J Drugs Dermatol. 2014 May; 13(5):601-6.
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  18. Wang J, Aldabagh B, Yu J, Arron ST. Role of human papillomavirus in cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma: a meta-analysis. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014 Apr; 70(4):621-9.
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  19. South AP, Purdie KJ, Watt SA, Haldenby S, den Breems NY, Dimon M, Arron ST, Kluk MJ, Aster JC, McHugh A, Xue DJ, Dayal JH, Robinson KS, Rizvi SM, Proby CM, Harwood CA, Leigh IM. NOTCH1 mutations occur early during cutaneous squamous cell carcinogenesis. J Invest Dermatol. 2014 Oct; 134(10):2630-8.
    View on PubMed
  20. Arron ST, Dimon MT, Li Z, Johnson ME, A Wood T, Feeney L, G Angeles J, Lafyatis R, Whitfield ML. High Rhodotorula sequences in skin transcriptome of patients with diffuse systemic sclerosis. J Invest Dermatol. 2014 Aug; 134(8):2138-45.
    View on PubMed

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