Photo of Sandra S. McAllister,  PhD

Sandra S. McAllister, PhD

Brigham And Women's Hospital

Brigham And Women's Hospital
Phone: (617) 355-9059
Fax: (617) 355-9093


smcallister1@partners.org

Sandra S. McAllister, PhD

Brigham And Women's Hospital

EDUCATIONAL TITLES

  • Assistant Professor, Medicine, Harvard Medical School
  • Associate Scientist, Hematology Division, Brigham And Women's Hospital

DF/HCC PROGRAM AFFILIATION

Research Abstract

Metastasis affects ~30% of breast cancer patients, and is responsible for nearly all cancer-related deaths, but by the time metastases are detected, patients are not treated with curative intent. In these patients, tumor cells had clearly disseminated from the primary tumor prior to surgery but remained indolent for varying periods of time. Very little is known about processes by which indolent disseminated tumor cells convert to life-threatening disease. Hence, it is currently impossible to accurately predict which patients will experience disease relapse.

Our lab studies the early phases of metastatic disease when patients harbor indolent tumor cells in the periphery at the time of their primary diagnosis. We previously showed that certain triple-negative breast cancers systemically support the outgrowth of disseminated, otherwise indolent tumors by secreting cytokines that activate bone marrow hematopoietic cells to become pro-tumorigenic (McAllister, et al., Cell, 2008; Elkabets, et al., JCI, 2011; Castano, et al, Ca Disc, 2013). Using models of luminal breast cancer, we discovered that certain tumors promote metastatic outgrowth by supporting angiogenesis via platelet activation (Kuznetsov, et al., Ca Disc, 2012). We termed this action-at-a-distance “systemic instigation”.

Our research is focused on identifying systemic factors that contribute to tumor progression and finding ways to interdict their function. Our findings highlight the systemic environment as an important component of disease progression that can be exploited to more accurately identify patients who would benefit from the appropriate therapies before they relapse.

Publications

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  • McAllister SS, Weinberg RA. The tumour-induced systemic environment as a critical regulator of cancer progression and metastasis. Nat Cell Biol 2014; 16:717-27. PubMed
  • Qin Y, McAllister SS. SPSB1 may have MET its match during breast cancer recurrence. 2014; 4:760-1. PubMed
  • Alspach E, Flanagan KC, Luo X, Ruhland MK, Huang H, Pazolli E, Donlin MJ, Marsh T, Piwnica-Worms D, Monahan J, Novack DV, McAllister SS, Stewart SA. p38MAPK plays a crucial role in stromal-mediated tumorigenesis. 2014. PubMed
  • Castaño Z, Marsh T, Tadipatri R, Kuznetsov HS, Al-Shahrour F, Paktinat M, Greene-Colozzi A, Nilsson B, Richardson AL, McAllister SS. Stromal EGF and igf-I together modulate plasticity of disseminated triple-negative breast tumors. 2013; 3:922-35. PubMed
  • Marsh T, Pietras K, McAllister SS. Fibroblasts as architects of cancer pathogenesis. Biochim Biophys Acta 2013. PubMed
  • Kuznetsov HS, Marsh T, Markens BA, Castaño Z, Greene-Colozzi A, Hay SA, Brown VE, Richardson AL, Signoretti S, Battinelli EM, McAllister SS. Identification of luminal breast cancers that establish a tumor-supportive macroenvironment defined by proangiogenic platelets and bone marrow-derived cells. 2012. PubMed
  • Castaño Z, Fillmore CM, Kim CF, McAllister SS. The bed and the bugs: interactions between the tumor microenvironment and cancer stem cells. Semin Cancer Biol 2012; 22:462-70. PubMed
  • McAllister SS. Got a light? Illuminating lung cancer. Sci Transl Med 2012; 4:142fs22. PubMed
  • Elkabets M, Gifford AM, Scheel C, Nilsson B, Reinhardt F, Bray MA, Carpenter AE, Jirström K, Magnusson K, Ebert BL, Pontén F, Weinberg RA, McAllister SS. Human tumors instigate granulin-expressing hematopoietic cells that promote malignancy by activating stromal fibroblasts in mice. J Clin Invest 2011; 121:784-99. PubMed
  • Castaño Z, Tracy K, McAllister SS. The tumor macroenvironment and systemic regulation of breast cancer progression. Int J Dev Biol 2011; 55:889-97. PubMed
  • McAllister SS, Weinberg RA. Tumor-host interactions: a far-reaching relationship. J Clin Oncol 2010; 28:4022-8. PubMed
  • Godar S, Ince TA, Bell GW, Feldser D, Donaher JL, Bergh J, Liu A, Miu K, Watnick RS, Reinhardt F, McAllister SS, Jacks T, Weinberg RA. Growth-inhibitory and tumor- suppressive functions of p53 depend on its repression of CD44 expression. Cell 2008; 134:62-73. PubMed
  • McAllister SS, Gifford AM, Greiner AL, Kelleher SP, Saelzler MP, Ince TA, Reinhardt F, Harris LN, Hylander BL, Repasky EA, Weinberg RA. Systemic endocrine instigation of indolent tumor growth requires osteopontin. Cell 2008; 133:994-1005. PubMed
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