Dihua Yu, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor and Deputy Chair,
Molecular & Cellular Oncology
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
1515 Holcombe Blvd, Unit 0108, B7.4525
Houston, TX 77030
United States of America
(713) 792-3636 office
(713) 404-3163 pager

My laboratory functions as a bridge to connect basic cancer research to important issues in cancer patient care.  The long term goal of my research is to determine the molecular mechanisms of initiation, progression, metastasis, and therapeutic resistance of various types of cancers, with an emphasis on breast cancer.  We are currently studying the involvement of ErbB2 receptor overexpression, 14-3-3 zeta overexpression, PTEN-loss, deregulation of cell signaling pathways in breast cancer. We are also developing strategies for early intervention of ER negative breast cancer.

  1. We previously found that PTEN-loss in breast cancer confers Herceptin-resistance (Cancer Cell, 6: 117, 2004, cited > 600 times).  We recently developed strategies for overcoming Herceptin-resistance that have led to efficacious Phase I/II clinical trials.  We are exploring different rationally designed, targeted therapeutics for treating human cancers using various preclinical animal models. 
  2. My team identified 14-3-3z as a biomarker for selection of high-risk DCIS patients for treatment at early stages of breast cancer, while saving low-risk patients from ablative clinical procedures.  This line of research also provided critical targets for intervention of the deadly transition from DCIS to IBC.  We are currently investigating how 1433z overexpression induces breast cancer metabolic deregulation, chronic inflammation, and their contribution to breast cancer progression. These studies will identify new targets for intervention of breast cancer progression.
  3. Recently, we found that receptor tyrosine kinase signaling and Src activation can drive initiation and progression of ER- breast cancer. We are developing strategies targeting these pathways to prevent ER- breast cancer in women with mammary atypia. This translational research is supported by a Susan Komen Promise grant and will move to clinical trials.
  4. The recent new areas of interest in my lab include, but not limited to, molecular imaging of breast cancer progression, breast cancer brain metastasis, microRNA function in breast cancer therapeutic resistance and metastasis, epigenetic deregulation in early stage breast cancer, interactions of cancer cells and their activated stroma in cancer progression.