My research endeavors include studies of proliferative breast disease and breast cancer. I am engaged in both discovery projects and investigation of specific genetic alterations. My work is principally funded by a Vanderbilt Physician Scientist Development Award and the Breast Cancer S.P.O.R.E. through which I have received a Career Development Award. My main effort is characterization of the molecular changes accompanying the pre-invasive to invasive breast cancer transition. This is an important focus for breast cancer research because extensive epidemiologic data have shown the most critical event in mammary neoplasia to be the transition from ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) to invasive mammary carcinoma (IMC). Approximately one third of women diagnosed with IMC in 2003 will subsequently develop metastatic disease and die as a result. In contrast, DCIS is a non-invasive process which by definition has no metastatic capacity with survival rates comparable to those of women in the general population. Differences in gene and protein expression should be responsible for these strikingly different clinical phenotypes and are under investigation using cDNA microarrays and matrix-assisted laser desorption-ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS). The goal of these projects is to determine the expression differences which are predictive of biologic behavior both between and within these groups. These are discovery projects which will result in identification of genes and/or proteins associated with breast cancer invasion. The causal and mechanistic association of these genes and/or proteins with breast cancer invasiveness will be subsequently studied in appropriate cell and mouse models. Furthermore, epidemiologic validation linking invasion-associated genes and proteins with clinical outcome can be explored in databases with appropriate clinical follow-up such as the Nashville Breast Cohort. Additional projects include 1) The relationship of the transforming growth factor-¿Ò1 T29C polymorphism to breast cancer risk, 2) Interdependence of radial scar and proliferative disease with respect to invasive breast cancer risk in benign breast biopsies, and 3) p27 haploinsufficiency in invasive breast cancer.


The following timeline graph is generated from all co-authored publications.

Featured publications are shown below:

  1. Aberrant FGFR signaling mediates resistance to CDK4/6 inhibitors in ER+ breast cancer. Formisano L, Lu Y, Servetto A, Hanker AB, Jansen VM, Bauer JA, Sudhan DR, Guerrero-Zotano AL, Croessmann S, Guo Y, Ericsson PG, Lee KM, Nixon MJ, Schwarz LJ, Sanders ME, Dugger TC, Cruz MR, Behdad A, Cristofanilli M, Bardia A, O'Shaughnessy J, Nagy RJ, Lanman RB, Solovieff N, He W, Miller M, Su F, Shyr Y, Mayer IA, Balko JM, Arteaga CL (2019) Nat Commun 10(1): 1373
    › Primary publication · 30914635 (PubMed) · PMC6435685 (PubMed Central)
  2. Correction: RAS/MAPK Activation Is Associated with Reduced Tumor-Infiltrating Lymphocytes in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer: Therapeutic Cooperation Between MEK and PD-1/PD-L1 Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors. Loi S, Dushyanthen S, Beavis PA, Salgado R, Denkert C, Savas P, Combs S, Rimm DL, Giltnane JM, Estrada MV, Sánchez V, Sanders ME, Cook RS, Pilkinton MA, Mallal SA, Wang K, Miller VA, Stephens PJ, Yelensky R, Doimi FD, Gómez H, Ryzhov SV, Darcy PK, Arteaga CL, Balko JM (2019) Clin Cancer Res 25(4): 1437
    › Primary publication · 30770496 (PubMed)
  3. Correction: Association of FGFR1 with ERα Maintains Ligand-Independent ER Transcription and Mediates Resistance to Estrogen Deprivation in ER Breast Cancer. Formisano L, Stauffer KM, Young CD, Bhola NE, Guerrero-Zotano AL, Jansen VM, Estrada MM, Hutchinson KE, Giltnane JM, Schwarz LJ, Lu Y, Balko JM, Deas O, Cairo S, Judde JG, Mayer IA, Sanders M, Dugger TC, Bianco R, Stricker T, Arteaga CL (2019) Clin Cancer Res 25(4): 1433
    › Primary publication · 30770492 (PubMed)
  4. Correction: Kinome-wide Functional Screen Identifies Role of PLK1 in Hormone-Independent, ER-Positive Breast Cancer. Bhola NE, Jansen VM, Bafna S, Giltnane JM, Balko JM, Estrada MV, Meszoely I, Mayer I, Abramson V, Ye F, Sanders M, Dugger TC, Allen EV, Arteaga CL (2019) Cancer Res 79(4): 876
    › Primary publication · 30770371 (PubMed)
  5. Correction: Kinome-Wide RNA Interference Screen Reveals a Role for PDK1 in Acquired Resistance to CDK4/6 Inhibition in ER-Positive Breast Cancer. Jansen VM, Bhola NE, Bauer JA, Formisano L, Lee KM, Hutchinson KE, Witkiewicz AK, Moore PD, Estrada MV, Sánchez V, Ericsson PG, Sanders ME, Pohlmann PR, Pishvaian MJ, Riddle DA, Dugger TC, Wei W, Knudsen ES, Arteaga CL (2019) Cancer Res 79(4): 874
    › Primary publication · 30770369 (PubMed)
  6. Correction: Extracellular Matrix/Integrin Signaling Promotes Resistance to Combined Inhibition of HER2 and PI3K in HER2 Breast Cancer. Hanker AB, Estrada MV, Bianchini G, Moore PD, Zhao J, Cheng F, Koch JP, Gianni L, Tyson DR, Sánchez V, Rexer BN, Sanders ME, Zhao Z, Stricker TP, Arteaga CL (2019) Cancer Res 79(4): 873
    › Primary publication · 30770368 (PubMed)
  7. Enhancing Parathyroid Gland Visualization Using a Near Infrared Fluorescence-Based Overlay Imaging System. McWade MA, Thomas G, Nguyen JQ, Sanders ME, Solórzano CC, Mahadevan-Jansen A (2019) J Am Coll Surg 228(5): 730-743
    › Primary publication · 30769112 (PubMed) · PMC6487208 (PubMed Central)
  8. Association of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes with distant disease-free survival in the ShortHER randomized adjuvant trial for patients with early HER2+ breast cancer. Dieci MV, Conte P, Bisagni G, Brandes AA, Frassoldati A, Cavanna L, Musolino A, Giotta F, Rimanti A, Garrone O, Bertone E, Cagossi K, Sarti S, Ferro A, Piacentini F, Maiorana A, Orvieto E, Sanders M, Miglietta F, Balduzzi S, D'Amico R, Guarneri V (2019) Ann Oncol 30(3): 418-423
    › Primary publication · 30657852 (PubMed) · PMC6442655 (PubMed Central)
  9. DNA methyltransferase inhibition upregulates MHC-I to potentiate cytotoxic T lymphocyte responses in breast cancer. Luo N, Nixon MJ, Gonzalez-Ericsson PI, Sanchez V, Opalenik SR, Li H, Zahnow CA, Nickels ML, Liu F, Tantawy MN, Sanders ME, Manning HC, Balko JM (2018) Nat Commun 9(1): 248
    › Primary publication · 29339738 (PubMed) · PMC5770411 (PubMed Central)