Dr. Regina Santella's research involves the use of biomarkers for the detection of human exposure to environmental and occupational carcinogens in molecular epidemiology studies to identify causative factors, susceptible populations, and preventive interventions. Her work has allowed the determination of exposure to carcinogens by the measurement of their binding to DNA with highly specific and sensitive immunoassays using monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies that her laboratory has developed. These studies have demonstrated higher levels of DNA damage in those with environmental or occupational exposures and in subjects with breast, lung, and liver cancer compared to controls. The role of genetic susceptibility in cancer risk is also being investigated. Current studies seek to understand the role of environmental/lifestyle factors on epigenetic changes in DNA methylation and microRNA expression, how they impact cancer risk as well as whether epigenetic changes in can be used for early diagnosis of cancer.
Areas of Expertise
Select Global Activities
Biological Markers of Aflatoxin Exposure, Taiwan: Dr. Santella is working on a case-control study of hepatocellular cancer nested in a cancer screening cohort of 25,000 subjects in Taiwan. Biomarkers of exposure to environmental carcinogens, hepatitis virus infection, and epigenetic changes are being measured. In addition analysis of tumor DNA circulating blood for gene-specific methylation is being evaluated for early diagnosis.
Shen J, LeFave C, Sirosh I, Siegel AB, Tycko B, Santella RM. Integrative epigenomic and genomic filtering for methylation markers in hepatocellular carcinomas. BMC Med Genomics. 2015 Jun 10;8(1):28. doi: 10.1186/s12920-015-0105-1. PMCID:PMC4460673
Yoon AJ, Wang S, Shen J, Robine N, Philipone E, Oster M, Nam A, Santella RM. Prognostic value of miR-375 and miR-214-3p in early stage oral squamous cell carcinoma. Am J Transl Res 2014;6:580-592. PMCID:PMC4212932
Shen J, Wang S, Zhang YJ, Kappil M, Wu HC, Kibriya MG, Wang Q, Jasmine F, Ahsan H, Lee PH, Yu MW, Chen CJ, Santella RM Genome-wide DNA methylation profiles in hepatocellular carcinoma Hepatology 55 1799-1808 2012
Cho YH, Shen J, Gammon MD, Zhang YJ, Wang Q, Gonzalez K, Xu X, Bradshaw PT, Teitelbaum SL, Garbowski G, Hibshoosh H, Neugut AI, Chen J, Santella RM. Prognostic significance of gene-specific promoter hypermethylation in breast cancer patients Breast Cancer Res Treat. 131 197-205 2012
Terry MB, Delgado-Cruzata L, Vin-Raviv N, Wu HC, and Santella RM. DNA methylation in white blood cells: Association with risk factors in epidemiologic studies Epigenetics 6 828-837 2011
Zhang, Y-J., Wu, H-C., Shen, J., Ahsan, H., Tsai, W.Y., Yang, H.I., Wang, L.Y., Chen, S.Y., Chen, C.J. and Santella, R.M. Predicting hepatocellular carcinoma by detection of aberrant promoter methylation in serum DNA. Clinical Cancer Research 13 2378-2384 2007
Rossner, P., Gammon, M.D., Terry, M.B., Agrawal, M., Zhang, F.F., Teitelbaum, S.L., Eng, S.M., Gaudet, M.M., Neugut, A. I., and Santella, R.M. Relationship between urinary 15-F2t-isoprostane and 8-oxodeoxyguanosine levels and breast cancer risk Cancer Epi. Biomarkers & Prevention 15 639-44 2006
Chen SY, Wang LY, Lunn RM, Tsai WY, Lee PH, Lee CS, Ahsan H, Zhang YJ, Chen CJ, Santella RM Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon-DNA adducts in liver tissues of hepatocellular carcinoma patients and controls Int. J. Cancer 99 14-21 2002
Motykiewicz G, Faraglia B, Wand L, Terry MB, Senie RT, Santella RM Removal of benzo(a)pyrene diol epoxide (BPDE)-DNA adducts as a measure of DNA-repair capacity in lymphoblastoid cell lines from sisters discordant for breast cancer Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis 40 93-100 2002
Kennedy, D.O., Agrawal, M., Shen, J., Terry, M.B., Zhang, F.F., Senie, R.T., Motykiewicz, G., and Santella, R.M. DNA repair capacity of lymphoblastoid cell lines from sisters discordant for breast cancer Journal of the National Cancer Institute 97 127-132 2005