University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Mary Helen Barcellos-Hoff, PhD

Mary Helen Barcellos-Hoff, PhD

Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, UCSF

Cancer Center Program Memberships

Breast Oncology | Cancer Immunology

Research Summary

My laboratory studies breast cancer, mammary biology radiation carcinogenesis, and mechanisms to biologically augment radiotherapy. I discovered that transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) is activated by radiation and mediates the DNA damage response, as well as the composition of the tumor microenvironment, particularly immune cell phenotypes. Detailed understanding of TGFβ contributions to tumor response to therapy in preclinical models of breast, brain, lung and head and neck cancer provide rationales for clinical trials of TGFβ inhibitors in radiotherapy that we are testing.

Normal tissue biology is the foundation for understanding the etiology of cancer. We study the mammary gland in terms of stromal-epithelial interactions, regulation of mammary hierarchy and differentiation, and the functions of TGFβ and BRCA1. I am also interested in application of systems biology approaches to problems in radiation research. My laboratory has described the complexity of radiation effects in cell-cell interactions, tissue composition and cell phenotype as a function of radiation type, dose and age at exposure. These studies generated new insight into the biological mechanisms underlying cancer risk that may provide the means to protect irradiated populations after exposure.

I received an undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago and earned a doctoral degree in experimental pathology from the University of California, San Francisco. My postdoctoral research on extracellular matrix mediated functional differentiation was conducted with Mina Bissell at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). I joined LBNL as a staff scientist and left in 2008 as Senior Scientist and Associate Director of the Life Sciences Division. I joined the faculty of New York University School of Medicine as Director of Radiation Biology in the Department of Radiation Oncology and in 2015, I returned to UCSF as Professor and Vice Chair of Research in the Department of Radiation Oncology. I am a member of AAAS, the Radiation Research Society, and the American Association of Cancer Research.

Professional Experience

  • 1982 – 1986
    Research Assistant; Department of Neurological Surgery, University of California, San Francisco
  • 1986 – 1988
    Postdoctoral Fellow; Biophysics Training Program, University of California, Berkeley
  • 1988
    Postgraduate Researcher; Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine, Univ. Calif., Davis
  • 1992 – 2008
    Affiliate Faculty; Dept. of Radiological Health Sciences, Colorado State University, Ft. Collins
  • 1993 – 2008
    Adjunct Assistant Professor; Department of Anatomy, University of California, San Francisco
  • 2003 – 2008
    Member, Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California, San Francisco
  • 1988 – 2004
    Staff Biologist, Life Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • 2000 – 2003
    Group Leader, Cancer and Tissue Biology, Life Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • 2003 – 2008
    Department Head, Department of Cancer Biology, Life Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab
  • 2003 – 2009
    Senior Scientist, Life Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • 2005 – 2008
    Deputy Director, Life Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • 2008 – 2010
    Visiting Faculty, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • 2008 – 2010
    Associate Professor, Director of Radiation Biology, Department of Radiation Oncology and Cell Biology, New York University School of Medicine, New York
  • 2010-2015
    Professor (with tenure), Director of Radiation Biology, Department of Radiation Oncology and Cell Biology, New York University School of Medicine, New York
  • 2015-present
    Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, UCSF

Honors & Awards

  • 1982
    Basic Science Research Award, University of California, San Francisco
  • 1984
    Basic Science Research Award, University of California, San Francisco
  • 1984
    Student Travel Award, Radiation Research Society
  • 1986
    Student Travel Award, Radiation Research Society
  • 1985
    Student Travel Award, Cell Kinetics Society
  • 1986 – 1988
    NIH Fellowship Biophysics Training Grant, University of California, Berkeley
  • 2001
    Co-Chair, Mammary Gland, Gordon Research Conference
  • 2003
    Chair, Mammary Gland Gordon Research Conference
  • 2003 – 2008
    Susan Love MD Breast Cancer Foundation
  • 2003 – 2009
    NASA Radiation Discipline Working Group
  • 2006 – 2010
    Chief Scientist, DOE OBER Low Dose Program
  • 2012 – 2013
    Vice Chair, AACR Tumor Microenvironment Steering Committee
  • 2014
    Co-Chair, AACR 2014 Annual Meeting

Selected Publications

  1. Citrin DE, Prasanna PGS, Walker AJ, Freeman ML, Eke I, Barcellos-Hoff MH, Arankalayil MJ, Cohen EP, Wilkins RC, Ahmed MM, Anscher MS, Movsas B, Buchsbaum JC, Mendonca MS, Wynn TA, Coleman CN. Radiation-Induced Fibrosis: Mechanisms and Opportunities to Mitigate. Report of an NCI Workshop, September 19, 2016. Radiat Res. 2017 Jul; 188(1):1-20.
    View on PubMed
  2. Iizuka D, Sasatani M, Barcellos-Hoff MH, Kamiya K. Hydrogen Peroxide Enhances TGFß-mediated Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition in Human Mammary Epithelial MCF-10A Cells. Anticancer Res. 2017 03; 37(3):987-995.
    View on PubMed
  3. Mateo F, Arenas EJ, Aguilar H, Serra-Musach J, de Garibay GR, Boni J, Maicas M, Du S, Iorio F, Herranz-Ors C, Islam A, Prado X, Llorente A, Petit A, Vidal A, Català I, Soler T, Venturas G, Rojo-Sebastian A, Serra H, Cuadras D, Blanco I, Lozano J, Canals F, Sieuwerts AM, de Weerd V, Look MP, Puertas S, García N, Perkins AS, Bonifaci N, Skowron M, Gómez-Baldó L, Hernández V, Martínez-Aranda A, Martínez-Iniesta M, Serrat X, Cerón J, Brunet J, Barretina MP, Gil M, Falo C, Fernández A, Morilla I, Pernas S, Plà MJ, Andreu X, Seguí MA, Ballester R, Castellà E, Nellist M, Morales S, Valls J, Velasco A, Matias-Guiu X, Figueras A, Sánchez-Mut JV, Sánchez-Céspedes M, Cordero A, Gómez-Miragaya J, Palomero L, Gómez A, Gajewski TF, Cohen EEW, Jesiotr M, Bodnar L, Quintela-Fandino M, López-Bigas N, Valdés-Mas R, Puente XS, Viñals F, Casanovas O, Graupera M, Hernández-Losa J, Ramón Y Cajal S, García-Alonso L, Saez-Rodriguez J, Esteller M, Sierra A, Martín-Martín N, Matheu A, Carracedo A, González-Suárez E, Nanjundan M, Cortés J, Lázaro C, Odero MD, Martens JWM, Moreno-Bueno G, Barcellos-Hoff MH, Villanueva A, Gomis RR, Pujana MA. Stem cell-like transcriptional reprogramming mediates metastatic resistance to mTOR inhibition. Oncogene. 2017 May 11; 36(19):2737-2749.
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  4. Martinez-Ruiz H, Illa-Bochaca I, Omene C, Hanniford D, Liu Q, Hernando E, Barcellos-Hoff MH. A TGFß-miR-182-BRCA1 axis controls the mammary differentiation hierarchy. Sci Signal. 2016 Dec 06; 9(457):ra118.
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  5. Bayin NS, Ma L, Thomas C, Baitalmal R, Sure A, Fansiwala K, Bustoros M, Golfinos JG, Pacione D, Snuderl M, Zagzag D, Barcellos-Hoff MH, Placantonakis D. Patient-Specific Screening Using High-Grade Glioma Explants to Determine Potential Radiosensitization by a TGF-ß Small Molecule Inhibitor. Neoplasia. 2016 Dec; 18(12):795-805.
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  6. Formenti SC, Demaria S, Barcellos-Hoff MH, McBride WH. Subverting misconceptions about radiation therapy. Nat Immunol. 2016 Apr; 17(4):345.
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  7. Barcellos-Hoff MH, Mao JH. HZE Radiation Non-Targeted Effects on the Microenvironment That Mediate Mammary Carcinogenesis. Front Oncol. 2016; 6:57.
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  8. Hendry JH, Niwa O, Barcellos-Hoff MH, Globus RK, Harrison JD, Martin MT, Seed TM, Shay JW, Story MD, Suzuki K, Yamashita S. ICRP Publication 131: Stem cell biology with respect to carcinogenesis aspects of radiological protection. Ann ICRP. 2016 Jun; 45(1 Suppl):239-52.
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  9. Mittal V, El Rayes T, Narula N, McGraw TE, Altorki NK, Barcellos-Hoff MH. The Microenvironment of Lung Cancer and Therapeutic Implications. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2016; 890:75-110.
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  10. Barcellos-Hoff MH, Iliakis G, Jeggo P, McKenna G, O'Neil P, Wallace S. "Praising What Is Lost. . . Radiat Res. 2015 Dec; 184(6):563-4.
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  11. Niwa O, Barcellos-Hoff MH, Globus RK, Harrison JD, Hendry JH, Jacob P, Martin MT, Seed TM, Shay JW, Story MD, Suzuki K, Yamashita S. ICRP Publication 131: Stem Cell Biology with Respect to Carcinogenesis Aspects of Radiological Protection. Ann ICRP. 2015 Dec; 44(3-4):7-357.
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  12. Brown M, Held K, Mason K, McBride B, Willey J, Williams J. Whither ICRR? Radiat Res. 2015 Dec; 184(6):563-4.
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  13. Qiang L, Shah P, Barcellos-Hoff MH, He YY. TGF-ß signaling links E-cadherin loss to suppression of nucleotide excision repair. Oncogene. 2016 Jun 23; 35(25):3293-302.
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  14. Barcellos-Hoff MH, Blakely EA, Burma S, Fornace AJ, Gerson S, Hlatky L, Kirsch DG, Luderer U, Shay J, Wang Y, Weil MM. Concepts and challenges in cancer risk prediction for the space radiation environment. Life Sci Space Res (Amst). 2015 Jul; 6:92-103.
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  15. Casey SC, Vaccari M, Al-Mulla F, Al-Temaimi R, Amedei A, Barcellos-Hoff MH, Brown DG, Chapellier M, Christopher J, Curran CS, Forte S, Hamid RA, Heneberg P, Koch DC, Krishnakumar PK, Laconi E, Maguer-Satta V, Marongiu F, Memeo L, Mondello C, Raju J, Roman J, Roy R, Ryan EP, Ryeom S, Salem HK, Scovassi AI, Singh N, Soucek L, Vermeulen L, Whitfield JR, Woodrick J, Colacci A, Bisson WH, Felsher DW. The effect of environmental chemicals on the tumor microenvironment. Carcinogenesis. 2015 Jun; 36 Suppl 1:S160-83.
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  16. Decarlo L, Mestel C, Barcellos-Hoff MH, Schneider RJ. Eukaryotic Translation Initiation Factor 4E Is a Feed-Forward Translational Coactivator of Transforming Growth Factor ß Early Protransforming Events in Breast Epithelial Cells. Mol Cell Biol. 2015 Aug; 35(15):2597-609.
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  17. Vanpouille-Box C, Diamond JM, Pilones KA, Zavadil J, Babb JS, Formenti SC, Barcellos-Hoff MH, Demaria S. TGFß Is a Master Regulator of Radiation Therapy-Induced Antitumor Immunity. Cancer Res. 2015 Jun 01; 75(11):2232-42.
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  18. Zhang P, Lo A, Huang Y, Huang G, Liang G, Mott J, Karpen GH, Blakely EA, Bissell MJ, Barcellos-Hoff MH, Snijders AM, Mao JH. Identification of genetic loci that control mammary tumor susceptibility through the host microenvironment. Sci Rep. 2015 Mar 09; 5:8919.
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  19. Barcellos-Hoff MH. BUB1-bling over with possibilities. Neoplasia. 2015 Feb; 17(2):153-4.
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  20. Huh SJ, Clement K, Jee D, Merlini A, Choudhury S, Maruyama R, Yoo R, Chytil A, Boyle P, Ran FA, Moses HL, Barcellos-Hoff MH, Jackson-Grusby L, Meissner A, Polyak K. Age- and pregnancy-associated DNA methylation changes in mammary epithelial cells. Stem Cell Reports. 2015 Feb 10; 4(2):297-311.
    View on PubMed

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