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Bert Vogelstein, M.D.

Photo of Dr. Bert Vogelstein, M.D.

Professor of Oncology

Research Interests: Cancer genetics and its clinical implications



  • Professor of Oncology
  • Joint Appointment in Molecular Biology and Genetics
  • Professor of Pathology



  • M.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (Maryland) (1974)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

The goal of our research is to develop new approaches to the prevention or treatment of cancers through a better understanding of the genes and pathways underlying their pathogenesis.

Our major focus is on cancers of the colon and rectum. We have shown that each colon neoplasm arises from a clonal expansion of one transformed cell. This expansion gives rise to a small benign colon tumor (called a polyp or adenoma). This clonal expansion and subsequent growth of the tumors appears to be caused by mutations in oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes, and the whole process is accelerated by defects in genes required for maintaining genetic instability. Mutations in four or five such genes are required for a malignant tumor to form, while fewer mutations suffice for benign tumorigenesis. As the mutations accumulate, the tumors become progressively more dangerous.

Current studies are aimed at further characterization of the mechanisms through which these genes act, the identification of other genes that play a role in this tumor type, and the application of this knowledge to patient management. Genetic tests for risk assessment, pre-symptomatic detection of tumors, and prognosis have been devised and are constantly being improved. Novel therapeutic agents that target the specific defects in cancer are under development.?


Lab Website: Bert Vogelstein Laboratory

Selected Publications

View all on Pubmed

Baker, S.J., Fearon, E.R., Nigro, J.M., Hamilton, S.R., Preisinger, A.C., Jessup, J.M., vanTuinen, P., Ledbetter, D.H., Barker, D.F., Nakamura, Y., White, R., Vogelstein, B. Chromosome 17 deletions and p53 gene mutations in colorectal carcinomas. Science 244: 217-221, 1989.

Nishisho, I., Nakamura, Y., Miyoshi, Y., Miki, Y., Ando, H., Horii, A., Koyama, K., Utsunomiya, J., Baba, S., Hedge, P., Markham, A., Krush, A.J., Petersen, G., Hamilton, S.R., Nilbert, M.C., Levy, D.B., Bryan, T.M., Preisinger, A.C., Smith, K.J., Su, L.-K., Kinzler, K.W., Vogelstein, B. Mutations of chromosome 5q21 genes in FAP and colorectal cancer patients. Science 253: 665-669, 1991.

Kern, S.E., Kinzler, K.W., Bruskin, A., Jarosz, D., Friedman, P., Prives, C., Vogelstein, B. Identification of p53 as a sequence-specific DNA-binding protein. Science 252: 1708-1711, 1991.

Peltomaki, P., Aaltonen, L.A., Sistonen, P., Pylkkanen, L., Mecklin, J.-P., Jarvinen, H., Green, J.S., Jass, J.R., Weber, J.L., Leach, F.S., Petersen, G.M., Hamilton, S.R., de la Chapelle, A., Vogelstein, B. Genetic Mapping of a locus predisposing to human colorectal cancer. Science 260: 810-812, 1993.

Wood, L.D., Parsons, D.W., Jones, S., Lin, J., Sjöblom, T., Leary, R,J., Shen, D., Boca, S.M., Barber, T., Ptak, J., Silliman, N., Szabo, S., Dezso, Z., Ustyanksky, V., Nikolskaya, T., Nikolsky, Y., Karchin, R., Wilson, P.A., Kaminker, J.A., Zhang, Z., Croshaw, R., Willis, J., Dawson, D., Shipitsin, M., Willson, J.K.V., Sukumar, S., Polyak, K., Park, B.H., Pethiyagoda, C.L., Pant, P.V.K., Ballinger, D.G., Sparks, A.B., Hartigan, J., Smith, D. R., Suh, E., Papadopoulos, N., Buckhaults, P., Markowitz,S.D., Parmigiani, G., Kinzler, K.W., Velculescu, V.E. and Vogelstein, B. The genomic landscapes of human breast and colorectal cancers. Science 318: 1108-1113, 2007.

Academic Affiliations & Courses

Graduate Program Affiliation

Program in Human Genetics
Cellular and Molecular Medicine

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