Explore This Lab


Molecular interrogation of gynecologic tumors

The Rueda Lab molecularly interrogates gynecologic tumors to identify genes or proteins and their corresponding signaling pathways that contribute to malignant transformation, the pathology of the disease, recurrence and/or resistance to therapy. Once key factors or pathways are identified, we actively test novel anticancer drugs to determine their efficacy in tumor explant models.

To accomplish this we maintain a gyn-focused tissue repository. The repository infrastructure is extensive and is designed to collect malignant and benign tissues along with clinically annotated information.

To complement the banking efforts, my group has developed a bio-banking infrastructure. We utilize a well-established in vivo experimental system in which primary tumors collected from ovarian and endometrial cancer patients at the time of initial surgery are grown in NOD/SCID mice.

These explanted tumors and the primary tumors are genotyped and undergo cryopreservation using state of the art techniques. Once thawed, the tumors can be propagated in vivo through serial transplantation over several passages while retaining their original genotype and histophenotype.

This allows for the generation of large cohorts of matched xenograft tumors ready for use in multi-armed therapeutic experiments. Our work to date suggests the clinical course of the primary tumor mimics the behavior and responses we have seen in our explants further supporting the potential clinical utility of our xenograft model.

In addition, we can use our models to assess the efficacy of dual or sequential therapy. Specifically, we assess whether novel anti-cancer agents work better as a single agent or in conjunction with the standard of care or another anti-cancer agent.

As a result of our multiple interactions with pharmaceutical companies, we have become more proactive in formulating stronger collaborations with the intent to develop novel inhibitors of oncogenic pathways, identify susceptible immune checkpoints, test new immune treatment strategies, and generate specific antibody drug conjugates for the treatment of women diagnosed with endometrial or ovarian cancer.

Investigation into the functional significance of the functional contribution of gynecologic cancer stem cells

My group has extensively studied and continues to conduct research focused on the functional contribution of sub populations of gynecologic cancer cells that have stem like characteristics a contributing to the pathology and high recurrence rate.

Our research provided valuable rationale for identifying targetable cells and testing combination therapies that can be tested in clinical trials for women with recurrent and refractory gynecologic cancer.

Investigation into the functional significance of aberrant forms of glycosylation in gynecologic cancers

Tumor-associated carbohydrate antigens (TACAs) are promising therapeutic targets. Increased presence of Sialyl-Thomsen-nouveau antigen (STn), a TACA, correlates with worsened outcome and chemoresistance in ovarian cancer (OvCa).

However, our recent studies suggest that many of the previous published reports that supported this conclusion utilized STn antibodies that may not be as specific as originally proposed.

We are working with a panel of murine and humanized antibodies that bind with high specificity to all glycoforms of STn. Our preliminary data utilizing these novel highly specific STn antibodies suggests that STn is present in a significant subset of OvCa cells and tumors.

From a therapeutic standpoint, we are testing STn-antibody drug conjugates (ADC) in in vitro and in vivo models.

Define mechanisms that contribute to the genesis, progression or pathology of benign gynecologic diseases

In addition to in depth studies on gynecologic malignances we also focus on benign diseases that impact reproductive-aged women. Specifically, we have and continue to be focused on endometriosis and leiomyoma. These non-malignant diseases can have a devastating negative impact on women's health and quality of life.

Despite the prevalence of the disease very little progress have been made in long term solutions with the exception of surgical removal of the of uterus.
We have used mouse models as well as primary human tissues to assess the mechanisms by which specific cell signaling factors positively or negatively impact the development, progression and/or pathological properties associated with these diseases.



Al-Alem, L.F.; Baker, A.T.; Pandya, U.M.; Eisenhauer, E.L.; Rueda, B.R. Understanding and Targeting Apoptotic Pathways in Ovarian Cancer. Cancers. 2019 Oct 24; 11(11):1631. doi:10.3390/cancers11111631

Bellio, C.; DiGloria, C.; Spriggs, D.R.; Foster, R.; Growdon, W.B.; Rueda, B.R. The Metabolic Inhibitor CPI-613 Negates Treatment Enrichment of Ovarian Cancer Stem CellsCancers. 2019 Oct 29; 11(11):1678. doi:10.3390/cancers11111678

Bellio C, DiGloria C, Foster R, James K, Konstantinopoulos PA, Growdon WB, Rueda BR. PARP inhibition induces enrichment of DNA repair proficient CD133 and CD117 positive ovarian cancer stem cells. Mol Cancer Res. 2018 Nov 6. pii: molcanres.0594.2018. doi: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-18-0594. [Epub ahead of print] PMID:30401718.

Chiu YH, Karmon AE, Gaskins AJ, Arvizu M, Williams PL, Souter I, Rueda BR, Hauser R, Chavarro JE; Serum omega-3 fatty acids and treatment outcomes among women undergoing assisted reproduction. EARTH Study Team.Hum Reprod. 2018 Jan 1;33(1):156-165. doi: 10.1093/humrep/dex335.PMID:29136189

Cardozo ER, Foster R, Karmon AE, Lee AE, Gatune LW, Rueda BR, Styer AK. MicroRNA 21a-5p overexpression impacts mediators of extracellular matrix formation in uterine leiomyoma. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2018 May 11;16(1):46. doi: 10.1186/s12958-018-0364-8. PMID:29747655

Starbuck K, Al-Alem L, Eavarone DA, Hernandez SF, Bellio C, Prendergast JM, Stein J, Dransfield DT, Zarrella B, Growdon WB, Behrens J, Foster R, Rueda BR. Treatment of ovarian cancer by targeting the tumor stem cell-associated carbohydrate antigen, Sialyl-Thomsen-nouveau. Oncotarget. 2018 May 1;9(33):23289-23305. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.25289. eCollection 2018 May 1.PMID:29796189

Eavarone DA, Al-Alem L, Lugovskoy A, Prendergast JM, Nazer RI, Stein JN, Dransfield DT, Behrens J, Rueda BR. Humanized anti-Sialyl-Tn antibodies for the treatment of ovarian carcinoma. PLoS One. 2018 Jul 27;13(7):e0201314. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0201314. eCollection 2018.PMID:30052649

Bregar A, Deshpande A, Grange C, Zi T, Stall J, Hirsch H, Reeves J, Sathyanarayanan S, Growdon WB, Rueda BR. Characterization of immune regulatory molecules B7-H4 and PD-L1 in low and high grade endometrial tumors. Gynecologic oncology. 2017; 145(3):446-452. PubMed [journal] PMID:28347512

Prendergast JM, Galvao da Silva AP, Eavarone DA, Ghaderi D, Zhang M, Brady D, Wicks J, DeSander J, Behrens J, Rueda BR. Novel anti-Sialyl-Tn monoclonal antibodies and antibody-drug conjugates demonstrate tumor specificity and anti-tumor activity. mAbs. 2017; 9(4):615-627. PubMed [journal] PMID: 28281872PMCID: PMC5419082

Bajwa P, Nielsen S, Lombard JM, Rassam L, Nahar P, Rueda BR, Wilkinson JE, Miller RA, Tanwar PS. Overactive mTOR signaling leads to endometrial hyperplasia in aged women and mice. Oncotarget. 2017; 8(5):7265-7275. PubMed [journal] PMID: 27980219 PMCID: PMC5352319

Garrett LA, Growdon WB, Rueda BR, Foster R. Influence of a novel histone deacetylase inhibitor panobinostat (LBH589) on the growth of ovarian cancer. Journal of ovarian research. 2016; 9(1):58. PubMed [journal] PMID: 27633667 PMCID: PMC5025559

Guan Y, Guo L, Zukerberg L, Rueda BR, Styer AK. MicroRNA-15b regulates reversion-inducing cysteine-rich protein with Kazal motifs (RECK) expression in human uterine leiomyoma. Reproductive biology and endocrinology : RB&E. 2016; 14(1):45. PubMed [journal] PMID: 27530410 PMCID: PMC4988044

Styer AK, Rueda BR. The Epidemiology and Genetics of Uterine Leiomyoma. Best practice & research. Clinical obstetrics & gynaecology. 2016; 34:3-12. PubMed [journal] PMID: 26725703

Hernandez SF, Chisholm S, Borger D, Foster R, Rueda BR, Growdon WB. Ridaforolimus improves the anti-tumor activity of dual HER2 blockade in uterine serous carcinoma in vivo models with HER2 gene amplification and PIK3CA mutation. Gynecol Oncol. 2016 Apr 1. pii: S0090-8258(16)30083- X. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2016.03.027. 141(3):570-579. PubMed [journal] PMID: 27017985

Roussel-Gervais A, Couture C, Langlais D, Takayasu S, Balsalobre A, Rueda BR, Zukerberg LR, Figarella-Branger D, Brue T, Drouin J. The Cables1 Gene in Glucocorticoid Regulation of Pituitary Corticotrope Growth and Cushing Disease. The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism. 2016; 101(2):513-22. PubMed [journal] PMID: 26695862

Clark NC, Friel AM, Pru CA, Zhang L, Shioda T, Rueda BR, Peluso JJ, Pru JK. Progesterone receptor membrane component 1 promotes survival of human breast cancer cells and the growth of xenograft tumors. Cancer biology & therapy. 2016; 17(3):262-71. PubMed [journal] PMID: 26785864 PMCID: PMC4847980

Hernandez SF, Vahidi NA, Park S, Weitzel RP, Tisdale J, Rueda BR, Wolff EF. Characterization of extracellular DDX4- or Ddx4-positive ovarian cells. Nature medicine. 2015; 21(10):1114-6. PubMed [journal] PMID: 26444630

Complete list of published work