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. Faden DL, Arron ST, Heaton CM, DeRisi J, South AP, Wang SJ. Targeted next-generation sequencing of TP53 in oral tongue carcinoma from non-smokers. J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2016; 45(1):47.
    View on PubMed
  2. Chang AL, Arron ST, Migden MR, Solomon JA, Yoo S, Day BM, McKenna EF, Sekulic A. Safety and efficacy of vismodegib in patients with basal cell carcinoma nevus syndrome: pooled analysis of two trials. Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2016; 11(1):120.
    View on PubMed
  3. Reid-Bayliss KS, Arron ST, Loeb LA, Bezrookove V, Cleaver JE. Why Cockayne syndrome patients do not get cancer despite their DNA repair deficiency. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Sep 6; 113(36):10151-6.
    View on PubMed
  4. Chren MM, Arron ST. Research that Guides Clinical Decisions. J Invest Dermatol. 2016 Aug; 136(8):1535-7.
    View on PubMed
  5. Chow M, Lai K, Ahn R, Gupta R, Arron S, Liao W. Effect of Adalimumab on Gene Expression Profiles of Psoriatic Skin and Blood. J Drugs Dermatol. 2016 Aug 1; 15(8):988-94.
    View on PubMed
  6. Jáuregui EJ, Tummala N, Seth R, Arron S, Neuhaus I, Yu S, Grekin R, Knott PD. Comparison of W-Plasty vs Traditional Straight-Line Techniques for Primary Paramedian Forehead Flap Donor Site Closure. JAMA Facial Plast Surg. 2016 Jul 1; 18(4):258-62.
    View on PubMed
  7. Watt SA, Purdie KJ, den Breems NY, Dimon M, Tucker S, Arron ST, McHugh A, Xue DJ, Dayal JH, Harwood CA, Leigh IM, Proby CM, South AP. CREBBP mutation in human cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. Exp Dermatol. 2016 Aug; 25(8):650-1.
    View on PubMed
  8. Charruyer A, Fong S, Yue L, Arron ST, Ghadially R. Phycosaccharide AI, a mixture of alginate polysaccharides, increases stem cell proliferation in aged keratinocytes. Exp Dermatol. 2016 Sep; 25(9):738-40.
    View on PubMed
  9. Zhang WR, Garrett GL, Cleaver JE, Arron ST. Absence of skin cancer in the DNA repair-deficient disease Cockayne Syndrome (CS): A survey study. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2016 Jun; 74(6):1270-2.
    View on PubMed
  10. Williams K, Arron ST. Association of CYP2C19 *17/*17 Genotype With the Risk of Voriconazole-Associated Squamous Cell Carcinoma. JAMA Dermatol. 2016 Jun 1; 152(6):719-20.
    View on PubMed
  11. Zhang WR, Garrett GL, Arron ST, Garcia MM. Laser hair removal for genital gender affirming surgery. Transl Androl Urol. 2016 Jun; 5(3):381-7.
    View on PubMed
  12. Garrett GL, Lowenstein SE, Singer JP, He SY, Arron ST. Trends of skin cancer mortality after transplantation in the United States: 1987 to 2013. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2016 Jul; 75(1):106-12.
    View on PubMed
  13. Li P, Silvis MR, Honaker Y, Lien WH, Arron ST, Vasioukhin V. aE-catenin inhibits a Src-YAP1 oncogenic module that couples tyrosine kinases and the effector of Hippo signaling pathway. Genes Dev. 2016 Apr 1; 30(7):798-811.
    View on PubMed
  14. Arron ST, Raymond AK, Yanik EL, Castenson D, McCulloch CE, Clarke CA, Paddock LE, Niu X, Engels EA. Melanoma Outcomes in Transplant Recipients With Pretransplant Melanoma. Dermatol Surg. 2016 Feb; 42(2):157-66.
    View on PubMed
  15. Zwald F, Leitenberger J, Zeitouni N, Soon S, Brewer J, Arron S, Bordeaux J, Chung C, Abdelmalek M, Billingsley E, Vidimos A, Stasko T. Recommendations for Solid Organ Transplantation for Transplant Candidates With a Pretransplant Diagnosis of Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma, Merkel Cell Carcinoma and Melanoma: A Consensus Opinion From the International Transplant Skin Cancer Collaborative (ITSCC). Am J Transplant. 2016 Feb; 16(2):407-13.
    View on PubMed
  16. Brennan-Minnella AM, Arron ST, Chou KM, Cunningham E, Cleaver JE. Sources and consequences of oxidative damage from mitochondria and neurotransmitter signaling. Environ Mol Mutagen. 2016 Jun; 57(5):322-30.
    View on PubMed
  17. Gupta R, Ahn R, Lai K, Mullins E, Debbaneh M, Dimon M, Arron S, Liao W. Landscape of Long Noncoding RNAs in Psoriatic and Healthy Skin. J Invest Dermatol. 2016 Mar; 136(3):603-9.
    View on PubMed
  18. Patel VA, Colegio O, Leitenberger JJ, Arron ST. Introduction from the Editors. JAAD Case Rep. 2015 Nov; 1(6):S1.
    View on PubMed
  19. Garrett GL, He SY, Sabouni N, Daud A, Arron ST. Combined dabrafenib and trametinib therapy in metastatic melanoma and organ transplantation: Case report and review of the literature. JAAD Case Rep. 2015 Nov; 1(6):S23-5.
    View on PubMed
  20. Garrett GL, Zargham H, Schulman JM, Jafarian F, Yu SS, Arron ST. Merkel cell carcinoma in organ transplant recipients: Case reports and review of the literature. JAAD Case Rep. 2015 Nov; 1(6):S29-32.
    View on PubMed

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