Previous Projects


Viruses in Skin Cancer (VIRUSCAN) Study

Keratinocyte carcinomas (KC), including cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cuSCC) and basal cell carcinoma (BCC), comprise the most common group of cancers in the United States. Older age, sun exposure, and immune suppression are major risk factors for KC. Previous studies suggest that cutaneous viral infections, including cutaneous human papillomaviruses (cuHPV) and polyomaviruses (HPyV), may also be risk factors. The VIRUSCAN study was designed to investigate KC risk associated with cuHPV and HPyV, using a cohort design, multiple markers of past and recent cutaneous viral infections, and quantifiable measures of recent UVR exposure.


Immunoepidemiology of keratinocyte carcinomas

Ultraviolet radiation exposure (UVR) and immunosuppression are established risk factors for cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cuSCC). However UVR-related immune responses associated with cuSCC risk are not well studied. Leveraging the established VIRUSCAN cohort study designed to investigate cutaneous viral infections in KC, this work focused on studying the interplay of the immune system with UVR exposure and other KC risk factors. The project goals were to determine whether circulating T-regulatory cells are associated with increased risk of cuSCC in the context of UVR exposure.

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Epidemiology of Myelodysplastic Syndromes

Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), became a reportable malignancy to population-based US cancer registries in 2001. We conducted several studies to examine possible underreporting of MDS cases to cancer registries. This work was further expanded to include etiologic and mechanistic studies, in close collaboration with immunology colleagues at Moffitt. As a greater understanding of MDS etiology will facilitate the development of new treatments and prognostication for transformation to acute myeloid leukemia.

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Human Polyomaviruses in Cancer Etiology

The literature pertaining to the role of human polyomavirus infections in human cancer, especially SV40, is quite controversial. While these viruses induce tumors in experimentally infected animals, they are inconsistently observed in human tumor tissues. The purpose of this research was to understand the role of human polyomavirus (JC virus [JCV], BK virus [BKV]) and simian virus 40 [SV40]) in brain tumors, lymphomas, bladder and colorectal cancer.  The association between MCV and KC was also assessed in the case-control setting.

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