Tarin Lab: Research Summary

Diseases and research topics

Autopsy Pathology, Breast Cancer, Cancer Biomarkers, Cancer Metastasis, Cancer Pathology, Cellular Interactions and Tumor Progression, Early Cancer Diagnosis, Gastrointestinal Cancer, Lung Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Surgical Pathology, Tumor Microenvironment, Tumor Stroma, Urinary Bladder Cancer

This program of research has spanned 45 years and covered several inter-connected topics concerned with the pathology of cancer, including electron microscopy of precancerous changes, metastasis, cancer biomarkers, molecular biology, experimental embryology, wound healing, pathology of the gastrointestinal tract and cardiovascular pathology. Highlights of this work and selected relevant publications include:

Detailed studies on the dynamic pathology of early cancer formation

These investigations were conducted on breast and skin cancers induced by different agents and showed the importance of disturbed interactions between the neoplastic cells and neighboring normal tissues, which provide essential support for the cancerous growth. This work constituted some of the earliest hard evidence that aberrant cell and tissue interactions in the cancer microenvironment cause and sustain cancer growth. See:

  • Tarin D. Tissue Interactions in Carcinogenesis, Academic Press, London, 1972
  • Tarin D. Int J Cancer 2:195 211, 1967
  • Tarin D. Brit J Cancer 23:417-425, 1969
  • Tarin D. “Tumour Metastasis” in Oxford Textbook of Pathology, pp 607-633, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1992


Further detailed experimental work showed that the spread of cancer in the human body depends critically upon interactions between malignant cells and normal cells of colonized organs recruited to support the formation of secondary cancers. Studies that this team conducted on living humans, mice and frogs confirmed the wide implications of these findings. See:

  • Tarin D, et al. Cancer Research 44:3584-3592, 1984
  • Tarin D. New Insights into the Pathogenesis of Breast Cancer Metastasis Breast Disease. 26, 13-25, 2007 Suzuki M et al. Am J Path 169:673-81, 2006

Abnormal expression of molecules involved in cooperative interactions between different cell lineages composing a cancer (eg CD44 and osteopontin)

These studies have shown that aberrant expression of these mediators contributes to tumor progression and they are therefore promising markers for early cancer detection and for metastasis. See:

  • Matsumura Y and Tarin D. Lancet 340:1053-1058, 1992
  • Woodman AC, et al. Clinical Cancer Research 6:2381-2392, 2000
  • Montel V, et al. Am J Path 166:1565-1579, 2005
  • Suzuki M and Tarin D. Molecular Oncology 1:172-180, 2007
  • Suzuki M, et al. Am J Path 171:682-692, 2007

Clinical interests

  • Clinico-pathological correlations - Human cancer case studies/Tumor Boards
  • Cancer pathology: Breast, GI tract, bladder, prostate, lung,
  • Cardiovascular pathology (including vasculitis)
  • Pulmonary pathology
  • Neuropathology

Current research interests

  • Roles of CD44 and osteopontin in malignant tumor formation
  • Systemic effects of malignancy (Para-neoplastic syndromes)
  • Inappropriate gene expression in tumors: Clinical implications
    See: Montel et al Differentiation 78,283-29, 2009
  • The cancer stroma and its role in cancer progression: Treatment implications
  • Novel treatment approaches

Other activities

  • Consultancies
  • Lectures and seminars and collaborations in various Institutions in USA (eg. NCI, Other Cancer Centres) Japan and Europe
  • During tenure as Center Director, Dr. Tarin raised $185 Million for the Center (Breakdown: $110M Cancer Center building; $35M Endowment from Dr. George Urey; $23M Center Support Grant from the NCI; $12M Interim Support Grant from the NCI, $6M NCI Director’s Challenge Research Grant on prostate cancer) and secured Comprehensive Cancer Center designation from the National Cancer Institute for the Moores UCSD Cancer Center.