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Email ksfanos@jhmi.edu
Phone (443) 287-4592

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DeMarzo Laboratory

The Sfanos Lab

Karen S. Sfanos, Ph.D.

Primary Appointment in Pathology

The Sfanos lab focuses on the study of human prostate cancer, with a particular emphasis on cancer prevention strategies as well as the etiological factors which may contribute to prostate cancer initiation and/or progression. We are specifically interested in agents that may lead to chronic prostatic inflammation, such as bacterial infections and prostatic concretions called corpora amylacea. Our work is based on the hypothesis that inflammation plays a key role in the development of the proposed “risk factor lesions” to human prostate cancer, i.e., proliferative inflammatory atrophy (PIA) and high grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN). Our previous studies have demonstrated the presence of multiple microbial species in the prostate of cancer patients and, importantly, many of the organisms identified are consistent with genera associated with inflammation-associated conditions including bacterial prostatitis and/or urinary tract infections. Dr. Sfanos works very closely with both genitourinary pathologists as well as epidemiologists in an effort to correlate discoveries in the laboratory with prostate cancer risk as well as disease pathology.


Sfanos K.S., Bruno T.C., Maris C.H., Xu L., Thoburn C.J., De Marzo A.M., Meeker A.K., Isaacs W.B., Drake C.G. Phenotypic analysis of prostate-infiltrating lymphocytes reveals TH17 and Treg skewing. Clinical Cancer Research, 14:3254-3261, 2008.

Sfanos K.S., Wilson B.A., De Marzo A.M., Isaacs W.B. Acute inflammatory proteins constitute the organic matrix of prostatic corpora amylacea and calculi in men with prostate cancer. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) U.S.A., 106:3443-3448, 2009.

Aloia A.L., Sfanos K.S.*, Isaacs W.B., Zheng Q., Maldarelli F., De Marzo A.M., Rein A. XMRV: A new virus in prostate cancer? Cancer Research, 70:10028-10033, 2010.

Shinohara D.B., Vaghasia A., Yu S-H., Mak T.N., Brüggemann H., Nelson W.G., De Marzo A.M., Yegnasubramanian S., Sfanos K.S. A mouse model of chronic prostatic inflammation using a human prostate cancer-derived isolate of Propionibacterium acnes. Prostate, 73(9):1007-1015, 2013.

Sfanos K.S., Canene-Adams K., Hempel H., Yu S.-H., Simons B.W., Schaeffer A.J., Schaeffer E.M., Nelson W.G., De Marzo A.M. Bacterial prostatitis enhances 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP)-induced cancer at multiple sites. Cancer Prevention Research, Online AOP, 2015. doi: 10.1158/1940-6207

Yu S.-H., Zheng Q., Esopi D., Luo J., Macgregor-Das A., Antonarakis E.S., Vessella R., Morrissey C., De Marzo A.M., Sfanos K.S. A paracrine role for IL-6 in prostate cancer patients: Lack of production by primary or metastatic tumor cells. Cancer Immunology Research, Online AOP, 2015. doi: 10.1158/2326-6066


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