Gerald V. Denis, PhD
Associate Professor
Boston University School of Medicine
Dept of Medicine
Hematology & Medical Oncology

PhD, University of California, Berkeley
MSc, University of Tokyo



I am a molecular oncologist with experience in chromatin control of transcription in cancer. I pioneered studies of the BET bromodomains proteins, a family comprised of BRD2 (originally named RING3), BRD3 and BRD4 in somatic cells, which are important as transcriptional co-regulators. I was the first to report a function for a BET protein, and to link these co-regulators to human cancer. The BET protein field has grown from sixteen papers, when I first published my work, to over 1,300 to date; they have since been implicated in several cancer types. Our recent data have established that BET bromodomain proteins provide a functional link between abnormal metabolism, inflammation and breast cancer progression in post-menopausal African American women. We are now realizing that BET proteins regulate cytokine/chemokine production in the immune cells that infiltrate the breast cancer microenvironment, which are important for immune exhaustion, chemoresistance and metastasis.

More detailed study of these pathways, in African American women in particular, is essential. Risks for breast cancer incidence and progression are not distributed evenly in the population, and are likely stratified by abnormal metabolism such as is found in Type 2 diabetes; yet, the current standard of care in breast oncology does not fully consider the role of diabetes and obesity-associated inflammation as drivers of progression and metastasis. African American women bear a disproportionate burden of poor-prognosis triple negative breast cancer, as well as higher prevalence of obesity, obesity-driven Type 2 diabetes and chronic inflammation, compared to white women. Deeper mechanistic and clinical studies must focus on these more vulnerable patients.

Molecular models and population studies also now suggest that metabolic disease and its associated imbalances in cytokines are more important for breast cancer initiation and progression than obesity per se. My intensive involvement over the last eight years with collaborators in population science, immunology, endocrinology and molecular oncology have prompted me to investigate a new area of high public health significance: breast cancer in non-obese women with metabolic disease and chronic inflammation. New thinking must consider drivers of metastasis, and the role the BET bromodomain proteins play in regulating metastasis potential. We hypothesize the BET proteins are equally important for breast cancer progression in lean women with metabolic disease and its associated chronic inflammation.

Associate Professor
Boston University School of Medicine
Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics


Center Faculty Member
Boston University School of Medicine
Cancer Research Center


Graduate Faculty (Primary Mentor of Grad Students)
Boston University School of Medicine, Division of Graduate Medical Sciences




Uncoupling obesity from breast cancer in African American women
09/01/2016 - 08/31/2018 (Multi-PI)
PI: Gerald V. Denis, PhD
NIH/National Cancer Institute
5U01CA182898-05

Uncoupling Obesity from Breast Cancer in African American Women
09/24/2013 - 08/31/2016 (Multi-PI)
PI: Gerald V. Denis, PhD
NIH/National Cancer Institute
5U01CA182898-03

Mechanisms of Brd2 Immunoprotection for Insulin Resistance
09/30/2011 - 08/31/2013 (PI)
NIH/National Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases
1R56DK090455-01A1

Mechanisms of Brd2 Immunoprotection for Insulin Resistance
09/30/2011 - 08/31/2013 (PI)
NIH/National Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases
1R56DK090455-01A1

Ultrasound-Directed Delivery of Cancer Chemotherapeutic Drugs
01/01/2009 - 12/31/2009 (PI)
Massachusetts General Hospital DOD Army Med Resrch

Proteomic Biomarkers for Lymphoma
06/01/2007 - 05/31/2009 (PI)
NIH/National Cancer Institute
5 R03 CA128006 02

The Role of Brd2 in Energy Homeostasis
04/01/2007 - 03/31/2009 (PI)
Massachusetts General Hospital Boston Diab Endo Res

Molecular Analysis of BRD2 Signaling and B Cell Function
01/01/2005 - 12/31/2008 (PI)
American Cancer Society

Biomarkers for Lymphoma in a New Transgenic Mouse Model
03/01/2004 - 02/28/2006 (PI)
NIH/National Cancer Institute
5 R03 CA102889 02

A Novel, Inducible Nuclear Kinase Linked to Leukemia
09/15/1997 - 09/29/2002 (PI)
NIH/National Cancer Institute
5 R29 CA75107 05




Yr Title Project-Sub Proj Pubs
2018 Mechanisms of BET bromodomain metabolic reprogramming in triple negative breast cancer 1R01CA222170-01A1
2017 Uncoupling obesity from breast cancer in African American women 5U01CA182898-05 12
2016 Uncoupling obesity from breast cancer in African American women 4U01CA182898-04 12
2015 Uncoupling obesity from breast cancer in African American women 5U01CA182898-03 12
2015 Uncoupling obesity from breast cancer in African American women 3U01CA182898-02S1 12
2014 Uncoupling obesity from breast cancer in African American women 5U01CA182898-02 12
2013 Uncoupling obesity from breast cancer in African American women 1U01CA182898-01 12
2011 Mechanisms of Brd2 immunoprotection from insulin resistance 1R56DK090455-01A1 13
2010 BRD2-MULTIPROTEIN COMPLEXES IN MAMMALIAN CELL CYCLE TRANSCRIPTIONAL CONTROL 5P41RR010888-14-6783 236
2009 BRD2-MULTIPROTEIN COMPLEXES IN MAMMALIAN CELL CYCLE TRANSCRIPTIONAL CONTROL 5P41RR010888-13-6129 236
Showing 10 of 28 results. Show All Results
Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.

  1. Denis GV, Sebastiani P, Bertrand KA, Strissel KJ, Tran AH, Slama J, Medina ND, Andrieu G, Palmer JR. Inflammatory signatures distinguish metabolic health in African American women with obesity. PLoS One. 2018; 13(5):e0196755.View Related Profiles. PMID: 29738558.
     
  2. Andrieu GP, Shafran JS, Deeney JT, Bharadwaj KR, Rangarajan A, Denis GV. BET proteins in abnormal metabolism, inflammation, and the breast cancer microenvironment. J Leukoc Biol. 2018 Aug; 104(2):265-274.View Related Profiles. PMID: 29493812.
     
  3. Andrieu GP, Denis GV. BET Proteins Exhibit Transcriptional and Functional Opposition in the Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition. Mol Cancer Res. 2018 Apr; 16(4):580-586. PMID: 29437854.
     
  4. Palmer JR, Castro-Webb N, Bertrand K, Bethea TN, Denis GV. Type II Diabetes and Incidence of Estrogen Receptor Negative Breast Cancer in African American Women. Cancer Res. 2017 Nov 15; 77(22):6462-6469.View Related Profiles. PMID: 29141994; DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-17-1903;.
     
  5. Denis GV, Sebastiani P, Andrieu G, Tran AH, Strissel KJ, Lombardi FL, Palmer JR. Relationships Among Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, and Plasma Cytokines in African American Women. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2017 Nov; 25(11):1916-1920.View Related Profiles. PMID: 28840653.
     
  6. Denis GV, Palmer JR. "Obesity-Associated" Breast Cancer in Lean Women: Metabolism and Inflammation as Critical Modifiers of Risk. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2017 May; 10(5):267-269.View Related Profiles. PMID: 28408379; DOI: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-17-0083;.
     
  7. Charlot M, Castro-Webb N, Bethea TN, Bertrand K, Boggs DA, Denis GV, Adams-Campbell LL, Rosenberg L, Palmer JR. Diabetes and breast cancer mortality in Black women. Cancer Causes Control. 2017 Jan; 28(1):61-67.View Related Profiles. PMID: 27995352; DOI: 10.1007/s10552-016-0837-z;.
     
  8. Andrieu G, Tran AH, Strissel KJ, Denis GV. BRD4 Regulates Breast Cancer Dissemination through Jagged1/Notch1 Signaling. Cancer Res. 2016 Nov 15; 76(22):6555-6567. PMID: 27651315; DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-16-0559;.
     
  9. Strissel KJ, Nicholas DA, Castagne-Charlotin M, Ko N, Denis GV. Correction to "Barriers to Obtaining Sera and Tissue Specimens of African-American Women for the Advancement of Cancer Research". Clin Med Insights Womens Health. 2016; 9:35.View Related Profiles. PMID: 27695380.
     
  10. Nicholas DA, Andrieu G, Strissel KJ, Nikolajczyk BS, Denis GV. BET bromodomain proteins and epigenetic regulation of inflammation: implications for type 2 diabetes and breast cancer. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2017 Jan; 74(2):231-243.View Related Profiles. PMID: 27491296; DOI: 10.1007/s00018-016-2320-0;.
     
Showing 10 of 57 results. Show More

This graph shows the total number of publications by year, by first, middle/unknown, or last author.

Bar chart showing 57 publications over 22 distinct years, with a maximum of 8 publications in 2016

YearPublications
19811
19861
19912
19961
19982
20002
20014
20021
20031
20051
20063
20081
20093
20103
20111
20124
20137
20144
20151
20168
20173
20183
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72 E. Concord St Silvio Conte (K)
Boston MA 02118
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