Research Summary

My laboratory studies ionizing radiation, both as a carcinogen and a therapeutic. I discovered that radiation activates transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) and that TGFβ mediates DNA damage repair by homologous recombination, non-homologous end-joining and alternative end-joining. TGFβ also regulates the composition of the irradiated tumor microenvironment, particularly immune cell phenotypes. Detailed understanding of how TGFβ contributes to therapeutic response in preclinical models of breast, brain, lung and head and neck cancer has generated new rationales for clinical applications of TGFβ inhibitors.

In carcinogenesis, we use mouse models to study the mechanisms by which radiation increases breast cancer. Understanding the etiology of cancer is founded upon understanding of normal tissue biology and is advanced by application of systems biology approaches. We study the mammary gland in terms of stromal-epithelial interactions, regulation of mammary hierarchy and differentiation, and the functions of TGFβ and BRCA1. We have described radiation effects in cell-cell interactions, tissue composition and cell phenotype as a function of radiation type, dose and age at exposure in normal mammary gland and their consequences in carcinogenesis. These studies have generated new understanding of the biological mechanisms underlying radiation risks and insights for the means to protect irradiated populations after exposure.

Research Funding

  • April 1, 2019 - March 31, 2024 - Definition of Immune Infiltrate Phenotype and DNA Damage Response Deficits Across Diverse Murine Mammary Carcinomas , Principal Investigator . Sponsor: NIH, Sponsor Award ID: R01CA239235
  • February 1, 2019 - January 31, 2024 - Reorienting the Glioblastoma Microenvironment to Respond to Immunotherapy , Principal Investigator . Sponsor: NIH, Sponsor Award ID: R01NS109911
  • January 1, 2017 - December 31, 2020 - Dual benefit of TGFß inhibition on tumor control in the context of radiotherapy for breast cancer brain metastasis , Co-PI . Sponsor: DOD-BCRP, Sponsor Award ID: BC160513
  • July 1, 2015 - December 31, 2020 - Contribution of development and age to breast cancer etiology , Principal Investigator . Sponsor: NIH/NCI, Sponsor Award ID: R01CA190980


University of Chicago, A.B., 1978, Biopsychology
University of California, San Francisco, Ph.D., 1986, Experimental Pathology
University of California, Berkeley, Postdoctoral training, 1988, Biophysics

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. Barcellos-Hoff MH, Gulley JL. Molecular Pathways and Mechanisms of TGF� in Cancer Therapy. Clin Cancer Res. 2023 Jan 04.  View on PubMed
  2. Guix I, Liu Q, Pujana MA, Ha P, Piulats J, Linares I, Guedea F, Mao JH, Lazar A, Chapman J, Yom SS, Ashworth A, Barcellos-Hoff MH. Validation of Anticorrelated TGF� Signaling and Alternative End-Joining DNA Repair Signatures that Predict Response to Genotoxic Cancer Therapy. Clin Cancer Res. 2022 04 01; 28(7):1372-1382.  View on PubMed
  3. Yu T, Cazares O, Tang AD, Kim HY, Wald T, Verma A, Liu Q, Barcellos-Hoff MH, Floor SN, Jung HS, Brooks AN, Klein OD. SRSF1 governs progenitor-specific alternative splicing to maintain adult epithelial tissue homeostasis and renewal. Dev Cell. 2022 03 14; 57(5):624-637.e4.  View on PubMed
  4. Chang H, Yang X, Moore J, Liu XP, Jen KY, Snijders AM, Ma L, Chou W, Corchado-Cobos R, García-Sancha N, Mendiburu-Eliçabe M, Pérez-Losada J, Barcellos-Hoff MH, Mao JH. From Mouse to Human: Cellular Morphometric Subtype Learned From Mouse Mammary Tumors Provides Prognostic Value in Human Breast Cancer. Front Oncol. 2021; 11:819565.  View on PubMed
  5. Barcellos-Hoff MH. The radiobiology of TGF�. Semin Cancer Biol. 2022 11; 86(Pt 3):857-867.  View on PubMed
  6. Gulley JL, Schlom J, Barcellos-Hoff MH, Wang XJ, Seoane J, Audhuy F, Lan Y, Dussault I, Moustakas A. Dual inhibition of TGF-� and PD-L1: a novel approach to cancer treatment. Mol Oncol. 2022 06; 16(11):2117-2134.  View on PubMed
  7. Moore J, Ma L, Lazar AA, Barcellos-Hoff MH. Mammary Tumor-Derived Transplants as Breast Cancer Models to Evaluate Tumor-Immune Interactions and Therapeutic Responses. Cancer Res. 2022 02 01; 82(3):365-376.  View on PubMed
  8. Liu Q, Chen G, Moore J, Guix I, Placantonakis D, Barcellos-Hoff MH. Exploiting Canonical TGF� Signaling in Cancer Treatment. Mol Cancer Ther. 2022 01; 21(1):16-24.  View on PubMed
  9. Ruiz de Garibay G, Fernandez-Garcia I, Mazoyer S, Leme de Calais F, Ameri P, Vijayakumar S, Martinez-Ruiz H, Damiola F, Barjhoux L, Thomassen M, Andersen LVB, Herranz C, Mateo F, Palomero L, Esp?n R, G?mez A, Garc?a N, Jimenez D, Bonifaci N, Extremera AI, Casta?o J, Raya A, Eyras E, Puente XS, Brunet J, L?zaro C, GEMO, CIMBA, Radice P, Barnes DR, Antoniou AC, Spurdle AB, de la Hoya M, Baralle D, Barcellos-Hoff MH, Pujana MA. Altered regulation of BRCA1 exon 11 splicing is associated with breast cancer risk in carriers of BRCA1 pathogenic variants. Hum Mutat. 2021 11; 42(11):1488-1502.  View on PubMed
  10. Herskind C, Barcellos-Hoff MH. Editorial: Cell Signaling Mediating Critical Radiation Responses. Front Oncol. 2021; 11:695355.  View on PubMed
  11. Liu Q, Palomero L, Moore J, Guix I, Esp?n R, Ayt?s A, Mao JH, Paulovich AG, Whiteaker JR, Ivey RG, Iliakis G, Luo D, Chalmers AJ, Murnane J, Pujana MA, Barcellos-Hoff MH. Loss of TGF� signaling increases alternative end-joining DNA repair that sensitizes to genotoxic therapies across cancer types. Sci Transl Med. 2021 02 10; 13(580).  View on PubMed
  12. Ma L, Gonzalez-Junca A, Zheng Y, Ouyang H, Illa-Bochaca I, Horst KC, Krings G, Wang Y, Fernandez-Garcia I, Chou W, Barcellos-Hoff MH. Inflammation Mediates the Development of Aggressive Breast Cancer Following Radiotherapy. Clin Cancer Res. 2021 03 15; 27(6):1778-1791.  View on PubMed
  13. Barcellos-Hoff MH, Weaver VM. In Memoriam - Zena Werb 1945-2020. J Mammary Gland Biol Neoplasia. 2020 09; 25(3):179-180.  View on PubMed
  14. Gonzalez-Junca A, Reiners O, Borrero-Garcia LD, Beckford-Vera D, Lazar AA, Chou W, Braunstein S, VanBrocklin H, Franc BL, Barcellos-Hoff MH. Positron Emission Tomography Imaging of Functional Transforming Growth Factor � (TGF�) Activity and Benefit of TGF� Inhibition in Irradiated Intracranial Tumors. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2021 02 01; 109(2):527-539.  View on PubMed
  15. Omene C, Ma L, Moore J, Ouyang H, Illa-Bochaca I, Chou W, Patel MS, Sebastiano C, Demaria S, Mao JH, Karagoz K, Gatza ML, Barcellos-Hoff MH. Aggressive Mammary Cancers Lacking Lymphocytic Infiltration Arise in Irradiated Mice and Can Be Prevented by Dietary Intervention. Cancer Immunol Res. 2020 02; 8(2):217-229.  View on PubMed
  16. Liu Q, Lopez K, Murnane J, Humphrey T, Barcellos-Hoff MH. Misrepair in Context: TGF� Regulation of DNA Repair. Front Oncol. 2019; 9:799.  View on PubMed
  17. Vapiwala N, Thomas CR, Grover S, Yap ML, Mitin T, Shulman LN, Gospodarowicz MK, Longo J, Petereit DG, Ennis RD, Hayman JA, Rodin D, Buchsbaum JC, Vikram B, Abdel-Wahab M, Epstein AH, Okunieff P, Goldwein J, Kupelian P, Weidhaas JB, Tucker MA, Boice JD, Fuller CD, Thompson RF, Trister AD, Formenti SC, Barcellos-Hoff MH, Jones J, Dharmarajan KV, Zietman AL, Coleman CN. Enhancing Career Paths for Tomorrow's Radiation Oncologists. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2019 09 01; 105(1):52-63.  View on PubMed
  18. Gonzalez-Junca A, Driscoll KE, Pellicciotta I, Du S, Lo CH, Roy R, Parry R, Tenvooren I, Marquez DM, Spitzer MH, Barcellos-Hoff MH. Autocrine TGF� Is a Survival Factor for Monocytes and Drives Immunosuppressive Lineage Commitment. Cancer Immunol Res. 2019 02; 7(2):306-320.  View on PubMed
  19. Liu Q, Ma L, Jones T, Palomero L, Pujana MA, Martinez-Ruiz H, Ha PK, Murnane J, Cuartas I, Seoane J, Baumann M, Linge A, Barcellos-Hoff MH. Subjugation of TGF� Signaling by Human Papilloma Virus in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma Shifts DNA Repair from Homologous Recombination to Alternative End Joining. Clin Cancer Res. 2018 12 01; 24(23):6001-6014.  View on PubMed
  20. Bayin NS, Ma L, Placantonakis DG, Barcellos-Hoff MH. Evaluation of Radioresponse and Radiosensitizers in Glioblastoma Organotypic Cultures. Methods Mol Biol. 2018; 1741:171-182.  View on PubMed

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