Shiuan Chen, Ph.D.
- Chemoprevention Research Program
- Breast Cancer Translational Research
- Program in Natural Therapies
- 2012 - present, Chair, Department of Cancer Biology, Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, Duarte, CA
- 2009 - 2012, Director and Professor, Division of Tumor Cell Biology, Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, Duarte, CA
- 2009 - 2012, Associate Chair, Department of Cancer Biology, Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, Duarte, CA
- 2002 - 2009, Professor and Director, Division of Tumor Cell Biology, Department of Surgery, City of Hope, Duarte, CA
- 1994 - 2002, Professor, Department of Immunology, Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, Duarte, CA
- 1988 - 1994, Associate Research Scientist, Department of Immunology, Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, Duarte, CA
- 1985 - 1988, Assistant Research Scientist, Department of Immunology, Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, Duarte, CA
- 1982 - 1985, Research Assistant Professor, School of Pharmacy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
- 1981 - 1982, Assistant Researcher, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of Hawaii
- 1978 - 1981, Junior Researcher, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of Hawaii
- Cancer Biology
- Program in Natural Therapies
- University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii, Ph.D., Biochemistry
- National Taiwan College of Marine Science and Technology, Keelung Taiwan, Republic of China, B.S., Chemistry
Breast Cancer Translation Research
Shiuan Chen, Ph.D., was one of the three investigators who originally isolated the full-length human aromatase cDNA clones. Aromatase is an enzyme that converts androgen to estrogen. Aromatase inhibitors (AIs) are important drugs to treat estrogen-dependent breast cancer. Approximately 60percent of premenopausal and 75 percent of postmenopausal breast cancer patients have estrogen-dependent carcinomas.
Since aromatase is the enzyme responsible for the synthesis of estrogen, and estrogen can have a major effect in the development of breast cancer, an abnormal expression of aromatase in breast cancer cells and/or surrounding adipose stromal cells may have a significant influence on breast tumor development and growth in cancer patients. Aromatase is expressed at higher levels in human breast cancer tissue than in normal breast tissue, as measured by various biochemical assays. During the last 15 years, aromatase inhibitors (AIs) have been demonstrated to be superior to tamoxifen for the treatment of hormonal dependent breast cancer. While this new generation of aromatase inhibitors is shown to be useful in the treatment of hormonal responsive breast cancer, resistance to such endocrine therapy still develops. Through collaboration with Yate-Ching Yuan, Ph.D., (Bioinformatics), we are carrying out gene expression array experiments on AI-responsive as well as resistant cell lines that have been generated in our laboratory. We are identifying and functionally confirming the roles of genes involved in resistance.
These studies will produce valuable molecular information regarding the mechanisms of AI resistance, and the information will help design approaches to reduce resistance and improve the efficacy of AI treatments of breast cancer. Furthermore, our model systems are valuable to test new drugs against endocrine therapy resistance. We are working with several medical and translational research colleagues (Joanne Mortimer, M.D. , Yuan Yuan, M.D., Ph.D., George Somlo, M.D., Laura Kruper, M.D., Courtney Vito, M.D.,Paul Frankel, Ph.D., Tim Synold, Pharm.D.), and Ned Newman, Ph.D. ) to carry preclinical studies in our laboratories and then to design new therapeutic approaches to treat AI resistant breast cancer.
Chemoprevention and Superfood Research Program
Since the summer of 2004, Chen and 27 other investigators have initiated an effort to develop a Chemoprevention Research Program at City of Hope. Through biweekly meetings, these Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope researchers and clinicians exchange research information and ideas. Four research areas have recently been chosen to focus on. The immediate goal is to generate preliminary results in these new target areas that will lead to the development of multidiscipline translational chemoprevention research projects at our institution.
Our laboratory has found that grapes, mushrooms and pomegranate contain chemicals that can suppress aromatase activity. Therefore, a diet containing these "superfoods" would be considered preventative against breast cancer. We are purifying and characterizing these natural anti-aromatase chemicals and evaluating their in vivo effects using animal experiments. The active chemicals in grapes have been found to be procyanidin dimers that are present at high concentrations in grape seeds. Melanie Palomares, M.D., M.S., (Population Sciences), Jeffrey Weitzel, M.D., (Clinical Cancer Genetics), Tim Synold, Pharm.D., (Experimental Therapeutics) and this laboratory have collaborated and initiated a grape seed extract clinical trial and a mushroom clinical trial based on the chemoprevention studies against breast cancer performed in our laboratory. In addition, experiments have been carried out to show that blueberry contains phytochemicals that can suppress the proliferation and migration of triple negative breast cancer in cell culture and animals.
Furthermore, we have found that mushrooms contain chemicals that act as inhibitors of steroid 5-alpha reductase. Androgen plays a critical role in prostate cancer development. In the prostate, testosterone (an androgen) is converted to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), an androgen that is even more potent than testosterone. This conversion is catalyzed by the enzyme steroid 5-alpha reductase. An elevation of the steroid 5-alpha reductase activity in the prostate may cause benign prostate hyperplasia (a common problem in older men) and also promote the growth of prostate cancer. Animal experiments have been performed to evaluate the use of these phytochemicals as drugs in the prevention and/or treatment of prostate cancer. One clinical trial designed, based Chen’s findings, is being carried out at City of Hope with Przemyslaw Twardowski, M.D. (Medical Oncology) to evaluate the protective effect of mushroom chemicals against PSA increase in prostate cancer patients. The trial has resulted in two patients with complete response, two patients with partial response, and eight patients with stable PSA response. A recent study in the Chen laboratory has revealed that the intake of mushrooms may reduce the incidence of metabolic diseases such as fatty liver and insulin resistance.
In 2014, with a $2.5 million gift from the Panda Charitable Foundation, a Program in Natural Therapies has been established at City of Hope. This fund supports three lines of research to investigate natural products’ abilities to fight against cancer. Chen is investigating how the foods themselves can improve outcomes of treatment-resistance breast cancer. In addition, the Chen laboratory is generating patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models for novel treatment of breast cancer.
Endocrine Disruptor Research
We are also conducting research to determine how environmental chemicals modulate the activity and expression of aromatase in human tissue. Experiments are being conducted to provide a molecular and mechanistic basis as to how phytochemicals and organochlorine compounds affect estrogen biosynthesis (e.g., aromatase function) in women. Research from Chen’s and other laboratories have revealed that estrogen receptors (ER), aromatase, and ERR are key players in breast cancer promotion and in cancer recurrence following endocrine treatment. Furthermore, proof-of-concept studies have revealed that these proteins are targets of endocrine disruptors. Based on these observations, we hypothesize that environmental chemicals will play critical roles in modulating breast cancer through ER, aromatase and ERR. We have developed a high throughput screening system (AroER Tri-Screen™) for identifying chemicals targeting ER and aromatase. The goal of this research is to develop screening assays for identifying and testing chemicals with relevance to known and suspected causes of estrogen-dependent breast cancer. Our collaborators include Yate-Ching Yuan, Ph.D. (Bioinformatics Core), Xiwei Wu, M.D., Ph.D. (Integrative Genomics Core), Christina Teng, Ph.D. (National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences), Menghang Xia, Ph.D., and Ruiling Huang, Ph.D. (National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences), Sandra Finestone, Psy.D. (Hope Wellness Center, Costa Mesa, California) and Kimlin Tam Ashing, Ph.D. (Population Sciences). Furthermore, we are collaborating with Myrto Petreas, Ph.D. (California Department of Toxic Substances Control) and Peggy Reynolds, Ph.D. (Cancer Prevention Institute of California) for the evaluation of estrogenic activity in human serum using AroER Tri-Screen.
Research Associate I
Gregory Chang, Ph.D.
Research Associate I
Hang-Kai Hsu, Ph.D.
Research Associate II
Pei-Yin Hsu, Ph.D.
Noriko Kanaya, PhD
Karineh Petrossian, Ph.D.
Yuan-Zhong Wang, Ph.D.
Takuro Yamamoto, Ph.D.
February 16, 2017
August 04, 2016
June 21, 2016
November 03, 2015
February 18, 2014
January 04, 2014
February 08, 2013
October 30, 2012
February 21, 2012
Wang Y, Zhou D, Phung S, Warden C, Rashid R, Chan N, Chen S. SGK3 sustains ERα signaling and drives acquired aromatase inhibitor resistance through maintaining endoplasmic reticulum homeostasis. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, in press, 2017. PMID: 28174265
Kanaya N, Somlo G, Wu J, Frankel P, Kai M, Liu X, Wu S, Nguyen D, Chan N, Hsieh MY, Kirschenbaum M, Kruper L, Vito C, Badie B, Yim JH, Yuan Y, Hurria A, Peiguo C, Mortimer J, Chen S. Characterization of patient-derived tumor xenografts (PDXs) as models for estrogen receptor positive (ER+HER2- and ER+HER2+) breast cancers. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol., in press, 2016. PMCID: PMC5094906
cells proliferation trough activation of p70 S6 kinase and up-regulation of cyclin D1. Mol
Endocrinol, 28: 935-948, 2014. PMCID: PMC4042072
deterring aromatase-expressing breast tumor growth in mice. BMC Cancer, 14: 426, 2014
Coadministrating luteolin minimizes the side effects of the aromatase inhibitor letrozole. J
Pharmacol Exp Ther, 351: 270-7, 2014 PMID: 25138022
Shimada K, Takahashi M, Chu P, Yuan YC, Chen S. Inhibition of the proliferation of
acquired aromatase inhibitor-resistant breast cancer cells by histone deacetylase inhibitor
LBH589 (panobinostat). Breast Cancer Res Treat, 137: 93-107, 2013. PMCID:
prevents letrozole-induced bone loss in a mouse model of breast cancer. J Nutr Biochem, 24:
1112-6, 2013. PMID: 23238426
food intake and obesity in female mice. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol, 138: 100-6, 2013.
activation and inhibition of pathways. PeerJ, 1: e159, 2013. PMCID: PMC3775632
triple negative breast cancer in a xenograft mous model through modulation of inflammatory
cytokines. Nutr Cancer, 66: 242-8, 2013. PMID: 24364759
- 2016, Ad hoc reviewer for the BMCT Study Section, NIH
- 2016, Ad hoc reviewer for the Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology Study Section, NIH
- 2010, Member of the Breast Cancer and the Environment Study Section, NIEHS
- 2008-2012, Member of the Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology Study Section, NIH
- 2006, Programmatic review for the DOD Breast Cancer Research Program
- 2006, Reviewer for applications for the Tumor Microenvironment Network, NIH
- 2006 - present, Section Editor, Journal of Molecular Signaling
- 2006, Reviewer for the Mouse Metabolic Phenotyping Centers Consortium, NIH
- 2004, Reviewer for the botanical center grant applications, NIH
- 2003-2005, Member of the Tumor Cell Biology Study Section, NIH
- 2002-2003, Member of the Metabolic Pathology Study Section, NIH
- 2002-Present, Corresponding Editor, The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
- 2002, Reviewer for the SCOR applications, NIH
- 2000-Present, Member of Special Emphasis Panels, NIH
- 2000-2001, Chairman of the Student Research Committee, American Heart Association, Western States Affiliate
- 1999-2000, Member of the Study Section for Insight Award for Breast Cancer, NIH
- 1998-1999, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Endoctrine Disruptor Study Section
- 1998-2002, Member of the Research Committee, American Heart Association, Western States Affiliate
- 1996-1998, 2001-2003, 2005, Member of the Study Sections of the US Army Breast Cancer Research Program
- 1996-2000, Member of the Reproductive Endocrinology Study Section, NIH
- 1985-Present, Member of the City of Hope Cancer Center