To identify genetic alterations present in Merkel cell carcinoma, we have conducted molecular analyses of human tumors across multiple genome-wide platforms to assay gene expression, identify gene mutations and characterize chromosomal alterations. These data are being analyzed to identify key driver alterations for this tumor. We have also generating mice where oncogenic modifications are carried out in specific skin lineages in an attempt to transform Merkel cells in vivo. In addition we are developing and characterizing cancer cell lines of Merkel cell carcinoma for in vitro and xenograft studies. Finally we are conducting a genetic knockdown screen to identify pathways important for tumor survival.
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|Pulitzer, Melissa P; Brannon, A Rose; Berger, Michael F et al. (2015) Cutaneous squamous and neuroendocrine carcinoma: genetically and immunohistochemically different from Merkel cell carcinoma. Mod Pathol 28:1023-32|
|Gaiser, Maria Rita; Daily, Kenneth; Hoffmann, Jochen et al. (2015) Evaluating blood levels of neuron specific enolase, chromogranin A, and circulating tumor cells as Merkel cell carcinoma biomarkers. Oncotarget 6:26472-82|
|Geeraert, Pieter; Williams, Jonathan S; Brownell, Isaac (2013) Targeting the hedgehog pathway to treat basal cell carcinoma. J Drugs Dermatol 12:519-23|