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Email cjvand@jhmi.edu
Phone (410) 955-1180

Christopher VandenBussche, M.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Pathology;
Associate Director of Cytopathology

The Paris System for Reporting Urinary Cytology, based in part on our own Johns Hopkins Hospital Template, has generated new enthusiasm for improving the quality of urinary cytopathology. Because bladder cancer survivors often require life-long monitoring due to a high recurrence rate, bladder cancer is one of the most expensive cancers to our health care system and causes a lifelong inconvenience to those it affects. In addition to clinical research in this area, I am working on several genetic, molecular, and immunological ancillary assays to improve our diagnostic ability.

I am also interested in the impact of recent policy changes and scientific advancements on both the practice of gynecologic cytopathology and the clinical and biological behavior of human papillomavirus (HPV). Because it is difficult to predict the long-term effects of guideline changes and HPV vaccination, there is a new need for well-designed multidisciplinary studies to ensure the best care for our patients. Will the HPV vaccine alone be sufficient to defeat cervical cancer? If not, then what must be done?

VandenBussche Research Group

My research focuses on translational research that combines traditional cytomorphology with novel molecular and immunological techniques in order to enhance the diagnostic and clinical value of cytologic specimens. Some examples of our current projects include:

1. Telomerase Immunocytochemistry
Using antibody technology developed by Sienna Cancer Diagnostics, we are currently investigating the expression of telomerase in cytopathology specimens using immunocytochemistry. Preliminary results have demonstrated excellent staining in urinary tract specimens containing high grade urothelial carcinoma (HGUC) while maintaining specificity, as shown by the absence of staining in benign samples (Figure 1). These promising results are currently being evaluated for clinical utility in resolving atypical urinary tract specimens, and detection of low grade disease in morphologically normal specimens.

2. Urinary Cytokine Assays
In collaboration with the Johns Hopkins Cytokine Laboratory directed by Dr. Barbara Detrick, we have identified a panel of cytokines that can be measured in urine supernatants and correlated with cytology specimen results. Preliminary results have shown correlation of particular cytokines with the presence of urothelial carcinoma. In addition, our work is helping define normal levels of cytokines in human urine, standardize methods for these assays, and reveal the biology of the immune response in the urinary tract.

3. Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Data Resource
The HPV Data Resource represents a collaborative resource shared between gynecologic oncologists, pathologists, colposcopists, biostatisticians, and public health researchers in the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The primary goal of this resource is to coordinate databases and data management efforts to avoid overlap and promote data sharing for more powerful research on HPV.


VandenBussche CJ, Rosenthal DL, Olson MT. Adequacy in voided urine cytology specimens: the role of volume and a repeat void upon predictive values for high grade urothelial carcinoma. Cancer Cytopathol. In press.

Nguyen DN, Kawamoto S, Cimino-Mathews A, Illei PB, VandenBussche CJ. Metastatic metaplastic breast carcinoma mimicking pulmonary squamous cell carcinoma on fine-needle aspiration. Diagn Cytopathol. In press. PMID: 26238413

VandenBussche CJ, Cimino-Mathews A, Park BH MD, Emens LA, Tsangaris TN, Argani P. Reflex ER/PR/Her2 analysis of breast cancers in needle core biopsy specimens dramatically increases health care costs. Am J Surg Path 2015; 39(7):939-47. PMID: 25871620

Michailidi C, Hayashi M, Datta S, Sen T, Zenner K, Oladeru O, Brait M, Izumchenko E, Baras A, VandenBussche C, Argos M, Bivalacqua TJ, Ahsan H, Hahn NM, Netto GJ, Sidransky D, Hoque MO. Involvement of epigenetics and EMT related miRNA in arsenic induced neoplastic transformation and their potential clinical use. Cancer Prev Res 2015;8(3):208-21. PMID: 25586904

Onur I, Rosenthal DL, VandenBussche CJ. Atypical urothelial tissue fragments in noninstrumented voided urine specimens are associated with low but significantly higher rates of urothelial neoplasia than benign-appearing urothelial tissue fragments. Cancer Cytopathol 2015;123(3):186-192. PMID: 25586692

Onur I, Rosenthal DL, VandenBussche CJ. Benign-appearing urothelial tissue fragments in noninstrumented voided urine specimens are associated with low rates of urothelial neoplasia. Cancer Cytopathol 2015;123(3):180-185. PMID: 25586552

VandenBussche CJ, Illei PB, Lin M, Ettinger DS, Maleki Z. Molecular alterations in non-small cell carcinomas of the young. Hum Pathol 2014;45(12):2379-87. PMID: 25288236

Gurda GT*, VandenBussche CJ*, Yonescu R, Gonzalez-Roibon N, Ellis CL, Batista DA, Netto GJ. Saccrococcygeal teratomas: clinico-pathological characteristics and isochromosome 12p status. Mod Pathol 2014; 27:562-8. PMID: 24051698. * authors contributed equally

VandenBussche CJ, Elwood H, Cimino-Mathews A, Illei PB, Warzecha HN. Clinicopathologic features of ductal carcinoma in situ in young women with an emphasis on molecular subtype. Hum Pathol 2013; 44(11):2487-93. PMID: 24029706.

VandenBussche CJ, Khouri N, Sbaity E, Tsangaris TN, Vang R, Tatsas A, Cimino-Mathews A, Argani P. Borderline atypical ductal hyperplasia/low grade ductal carcinoma in situ on breast needle core biopsy should be managed conservatively. Am J Surg Pathol. 2013; 37(6):913-23. PMID: 23598968.

VandenBussche CJ, Sathiyamoorthy S, Owens CL, Burroughs FH, Rosenthal DL, Guan H. The Johns Hopkins Hospital template for urologic cytology samples: Parts II and III-Improving the predictability of indeterminate results in urinary cytology samples: an outcomes and cytomorphologic study. Cancer Cytopathol 2012; 121(1):21-8. PMID: 23192913.


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