University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Sarah T. Arron, MD, PhD

Sarah T. Arron, MD, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Dermatology; Associate Director of Dermatologic Surgery and Laser Center, Dermatology, UCSF

Cancer Center Program Memberships

Cancer Genetics

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
    Assistant Clinical Professor, School of Medicine, Dermatology, UCSF
  • 2009-present
    Assistant Professor in Residence, School of Medicine, Dermatology, , UCSF
  • 2009-2014
    Assistant Professor in Residence, Dermatology, School of Medicine, UCSF
  • 2012-present
    Chief, Mohs Micrographic Surgery, Dermatology, San Francisco Veterans Administration Medical Center
  • 2013-present
    Director, Clinical Research Unit, Dermatology, UCSF
  • 2014-present
    Associate Professor, Dermatology, UCSF
  • 2014-present
    Associate Director of Dermatologic Surgery and Laser Center, Dermatology, UCSF

Honors & Awards

  • 2000
    Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation Student Intern Award, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation
  • 2001
    Lewis and Rachel Rudin Fellow, The Rockefeller University
  • 2005
    Resident Retreat for Future Academicians, Society for Investigative Dermatology
  • 2006
    Advocacy Training Program for Residents, Society for Investigative Dermatology
  • 2009
    Academic Dermatology Leadership Program, American Academy of Dermatology
  • 2013
    Teacher of the Year, UCSF Department of Dermatology
  • 2016
    Distinguished Service Award, American College of Mohs Surgery

Selected Publications

  1. Crow LD, Jambusaria-Pahlajani A, Chung CL, Baran DA, Lowenstein SE, Abdelmalek M, Ahmed RL, Anadkat MJ, Arcasoy SM, Berg D, Bibee KP, Billingsley E, Black WH, Blalock TW, Bleicher M, Brennan DC, Brodland DG, Brown MR, Carroll BT, Carucci JA, Chang TW, Chaux G, Cusack CA, Dilling DF, Doyle A, Emtiazjoo AM, Ferguson NH, Fosko SW, Fox MC, Goral S, Gray AL, Griffin JR, Hachem RR, Hall SA, Hanlon AM, Hayes D, Hickey GW, Holtz J, Hopkins RS, Hu J, Huang CC, Brian Jiang SI, Kapnadak SG, Kraus ES, Lease ED, Leca N, Lee JC, Leitenberger JJ, Lim MA, Longo MI, Malik SM, Mallea JM, Menter A, Myers SA, Neuburg M, Nijhawan RI, Norman DJ, Otley CC, Paek SY, Parulekar AD, Patel MJ, Patel VA, Patton TJ, Pugliano-Mauro M, Ranganna K, Ravichandran AK, Redenius R, Roll GR, Samie FH, Shin T, Singer JP, Singh P, Soon SL, Soriano T, Squires R, Stasko T, Stein JA, Taler SJ, Terrault NA, Thomas CP, Tokman S, Tomic R, Twigg AR, Wigger MA, Zeitouni NC, Arron ST. Initial skin cancer screening for solid organ transplant recipients in the United States: Delphi method development of expert consensus guidelines. Transpl Int. 2019 Dec; 32(12):1268-1276.
    View on PubMed
  2. Jambusaria-Pahlajani A, Crow LD, Lowenstein S, Garrett GL, Melcher ML, Chan AW, Boscardin J, Arron ST. Predicting skin cancer in organ transplant recipients: development of the SUNTRAC screening tool using data from a multicenter cohort study. Transpl Int. 2019 Aug 19.
    View on PubMed
  3. Yu WY, Waalboer-Spuij R, Bremer R, Lu B, Aroyan C, Crow L, Grekin R, Neuhaus I, Yu S, Arron ST, Hollestein LM. Validation of the English Basal and Squamous Cell Carcinoma Quality of Life (BaSQoL) Questionnaire. Dermatol Surg. 2019 Aug 06.
    View on PubMed
  4. Motley R, Arron S. Mohs micrographic surgery for cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. Br J Dermatol. 2019 Aug; 181(2):233-234.
    View on PubMed
  5. Chow C, Yuan JT, Ruiz ES, Soon SL, Makhzoumi Z, Arron ST. Performance Measures in Dermatologic Surgery: A Review of the Literature and Future Directions. Dermatol Surg. 2019 06; 45(6):836-843.
    View on PubMed
  6. Crow LD, Kaizer-Salk KA, Juszczak HM, Arron ST. Medications Associated with Increased Risk of Keratinocyte Carcinoma. Dermatol Clin. 2019 Jul; 37(3):297-305.
    View on PubMed
  7. Soon SL, Ibrahim SF, Arron ST. A randomized phase II study evaluating vismodegib as neoadjuvant treatment of basal cell carcinoma preceding Mohs micrographic surgery: results and lessons learned. Br J Dermatol. 2019 Jul; 181(1):208-209.
    View on PubMed
  8. Gao Y, Twigg AR, Hirose R, Roll GR, Nowacki AS, Maytin EV, Vidimos AT, Rajalingam R, Arron ST. Association of HLA Antigen Mismatch With Risk of Developing Skin Cancer After Solid-Organ Transplant. JAMA Dermatol. 2019 Mar 01; 155(3):307-314.
    View on PubMed
  9. Chapman LW, Yu SS, Arron ST. Atypical Fibroxanthoma. Semin Cutan Med Surg. 2019 Mar 01; 38(1):E65-E66.
    View on PubMed
  10. Saylor DK, Yuan JT, Crow L, Arron ST, Carlson EO. Reconstruction of a Deep and Wide Sternal Notch Defect After Mohs Micrographic Surgery. Dermatol Surg. 2019 Feb 15.
    View on PubMed
  11. Saeed L, Bahrani E, Lauw MIS, Tabatabai ZL, Arron ST, Mauro TM. Ischemic Fasciitis Mimicking A Lipoma. Dermatol Surg. 2019 Feb 14.
    View on PubMed
  12. Johnson ME, Franks JM, Cai G, Mehta BK, Wood TA, Archambault K, Pioli PA, Simms RW, Orzechowski N, Arron S, Whitfield ML. Microbiome dysbiosis is associated with disease duration and increased inflammatory gene expression in systemic sclerosis skin. Arthritis Res Ther. 2019 02 06; 21(1):49.
    View on PubMed
  13. Berliner JG, Schulman JM, Lazarova Z, Olasz E, Arron ST. Response of Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma to Treatment With Cetuximab. Dermatol Surg. 2019 02; 45(2):313-316.
    View on PubMed
  14. Levin EC, Chow C, Makhzoumi Z, Jin C, Shiboski SC, Arron ST. Association of Postoperative Antibiotics With Surgical Site Infection in Mohs Micrographic Surgery. Dermatol Surg. 2019 01; 45(1):52-57.
    View on PubMed
  15. Liszewski W, Peebles JK, Yeung H, Arron S. Persons of Nonbinary Gender - Awareness, Visibility, and Health Disparities. N Engl J Med. 2018 Dec 20; 379(25):2391-2393.
    View on PubMed
  16. Nagarajan P, Asgari MM, Green AC, Guhan SM, Arron ST, Proby CM, Rollison DE, Harwood CA, Toland AE. Keratinocyte Carcinomas: Current Concepts and Future Research Priorities. Clin Cancer Res. 2019 Apr 15; 25(8):2379-2391.
    View on PubMed
  17. Dodds M, Arron ST, Linos E, Polcari I, Mansh MD. Characteristics and Skin Cancer Risk Behaviors of Adult Sunless Tanners in the United States. JAMA Dermatol. 2018 09 01; 154(9):1066-1071.
    View on PubMed
  18. Juszczak H, Lowenstein SE, Crow L, Roll GR, McCalmont TH, Arron ST. Potential for overlooked melanoma in solid organ donors with a severely dysplastic nevus. JAAD Case Rep. 2018 Aug; 4(7):682-683.
    View on PubMed
  19. Winchester D, Lehman J, Tello T, Chimato N, Hocker T, Kim S, Chang J, Markey J, Yom SS, Ryan W, Mully T, Hodge D, Otley C, Arron ST. Undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma: Factors predictive of adverse outcomes. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2018 Nov; 79(5):853-859.
    View on PubMed
  20. Gao Y, Arron ST, Linos E, Polcari I, Mansh MD. Indoor Tanning, Sunless Tanning, and Sun-Protection Behaviors Among Sexual Minority Men. JAMA Dermatol. 2018 04 01; 154(4):477-479.
    View on PubMed

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