William H. Westra, M.D.
Co-Director, Division of Surgical Pathology
Primary Appointment in Pathology; Secondary Appointments in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Oncology, and Dermatology
My research activities have centered on the molecular mechanisms of neoplastic transformation. My specific interest in cardiovascular-respiratory pathology has focused on the molecular pathways involved in the development and progression of neoplasms of the lung and head and neck. Our work has identified the earliest morphologic stages of lung tumorigenesis (i.e. adenocarcinoma in situ), and the molecular mechanisms driving the early stages and progression of carcinomas of the lung and head and neck. A particular emphasis of this work has been the utilization of specific genetic alterations as a novel means of early cancer detection and tumor surveillance.
Westra WH, Baas IO, Hruban RH, Offerhaus GJA, Askin FB, Slebos RJC. K-ras oncogene activation in atypical alveolar hyperplasias of the lung: evidence that K-ras mutations are present at an early stage in the development of lung adenocarcinomas. Cancer Res 56:2224-8, 1996..
Leong PP, Rezai B, Roch WM, Reed A, Eisele D, Lee D-J, Sidransky D, Jen J,Westra WH. Distinguishing Second Primary Tumors from Lung Metastases in Patients with Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma. J Natl Cancer Inst 90:972-977, 1998.
Califano J, Westra WH, Koch WM, Meininger G, Reed A, Yip L, Boyle JO, Lonardo F, Sidransky D. Unknown primary head and neck squamous cell carcinoma: Molecular identification of the site of origin. J Natl Cancer Inst 91:599-604, 1999.
Begum S, Gillison ML, Ansari-Lari MA, Shah K, Westra WH. Detection of Human Papillomavirus in Cervical Lymph Nodes: A highly effective strategy for localizing site of tumor origin. Clin Cancer Res 15:6469-6475, 2003.
Cohen Y, Rosenbaum E, Clark DP, Zeiger MA, Umbricht CB, Tufano RP, Sidransky S, Westra WH. Mutational analysis of BRAF in fine needle aspiration biopsies of the thyroid: A potential application for the preoperative assessment of thyroid nodules. Clin Cancer Res 10:2761-2765, 2004.