Katri Selander, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor

Division: Hematology & Oncology

Campus Address: SHEL 514 

Phone: (205) 975-5973

Email: katriselander@uabmc.edu

Departmental Affiliation(s):
Primary: Medicine
Secondary: Pathology

Research Description:
Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) in cancer invasion. We have first discovered expression of TLR9 in breast cancer cells. We also discovered that stimulation of TLR9 increases cancer cell invasion by 20 fold in vitro. Our latest data suggest that in clinical breast cancer specimens, TLR9 expression correlates inversely with estrogen receptor status. We are currently investigating the role of TLR9-mediated invasion in cancer by using animal models. We are also further studying TLR9 expression and its correlation with clinical outcomes using clinical cohorts of breast cancer patients.

Bisphosphonates as anti-cancer agents in mesothelioma. Bisphosphonates (BPs) are widely clinically used in the treatment of bone diseases that are due to increased bone resorption. Based on the fact that the bone scanning agent, which is also a bisphosphonate, accumulate in mesothelioma in humans, we went on to study the anti-cancer efficacy of these drugs in mouse mesothelioma models. We indeed showed that nitrogen-containing bisphosphonates inhibit mesothelioma growth in vitro and in vivo. We are in the process of starting a clinical trial to test the anti-tumor efficacy of zoledronic acid in mesothelioma patients.

Pathophysiology of bisphosphonate-induced osteonecrosis of the jaws. Using genetically modified mice, we are testing the hypothesis that modulators of immune responses affect bisphosphonate effects in cells. We further hypothesize that it is this propensity of the drugs that causes jaw osteonecrosis in some patients.

Selected Publications:
Ilvesaro JM, Merrell MA, Li L, Wakchoure S, Graves D, Brooks S, Rahko E, Jukkola-Vuorinen A, Vuopala KS, Harris KW, Selander KS (2008) TLR9 mediates CpG-oligonucleotide-induced cellular invasion. Mol Cancer Research 6: 1534 – 1543.

Jukkola-Vuorinen A, Rahko E, Vuopala KS, Lehenkari PP, Harris KW, Selander KS (2009) Toll like receptor -9 expression is inversely correlated with estrogen receptor status in breast cancer. J Innate Immunity. 1:59-68.

Tuomela J, Sandholm J, Karihtala P, Ilvesaro J, Vuopala KS, Kauppila JH, Kauppila S, Chen D, Pressey C, Ha¨rko¨nen P, Harris KW, Graves D, Auvinen PK, Soini Y, Jukkola-Vuorinen A, Selander KS. Low TLR9 expression defines an aggressive subtype
of triple-negative breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Res Treat (2012) 135:481–493.