Laboratory of Molecular Oncology

Professor Susumu GOYAMA
TEL: +81-3-5449-5782
E-mail: goyama{at}

【Key Words】Hematopoietic neoplasms, Cancer stem cells, Molecular targeted therapy, Tumor immunity, Clonal hematopoiesis

“Curing cancer” was a dream. Today, advances in technology make it no longer a dream: A cure for cancer has become possible, even probable. Our laboratory is interested in the molecular, cellular, and genetic basis of cancers, with a specific focus on hematopoietic neoplasms. Our ultimate goal is developing curative therapies for cancer patients.

(1) Targeting transcription and epigenetic factors through PPI modulation

Transcription factors and epigenetic regulators play pivotal roles in various types of diseases. However, most of these molecules have been considered “undruggable”. We are trying to develop therapies targeting these “undruggable” molecules using the cutting-edge technology to modulate protein-protein interaction (PPI). For example, we found several compounds to inhibit the interaction between transcription factor RUNX1 and its cofactor CBFB using the AlphaScreen assay (Fig.1, left). We also identified STUB1 as an E3 ubiquitin ligase to induce RUNX1 ubiquitination and degradation (Publication 7). Based on the data, we are currently developing “PROTACs” to promote STUB1-induced RUNX1 degradation (Fig.1, right).

(2) Cancer Stem Cells and Tumor Immunity

To develop curative cancer therapies, we need to eradicate cancer stem cells, the key drivers of tumor progression, therapy resistance and relapse. Recently, we identified “immune escape” as an important mechanism of leukemia stem cells to survive under the treatment of the p53-activating drug (Fig.2, Publication 1). We are interested in how cancer stem cells resist and survive during chemotherapy, and how cancer stem cells evade from antitumor immunity.

(3) Cross talk between clonal hematopoiesis and solid tumors

Aging is associated with an accumulation of somatic mutations in hematopoietic stem cells, which results in clonal expansions of mutant blood cells (clonal hematopoiesis: CH). We are interested in the role of CH in the development of cancers and other age-related diseases. Our preliminary results suggest that the abnormal blood cells expressing CH-related mutations in fact supports the development of melanoma (an aggressive type of solid tumor) (Fi.3).

1. Hayashi Y, Goyama S…Kitamura T. Nature Communications 10(1): 4869 (2019).
2. Tamura M…Goyama S. Scientific Reports 9(1): 8171 (2019)
3. Saika M…*Goyama S. Scientific Reports 8(1): 15873 (2018).
4. Yonezawa T…*Goyama S. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 505(3): 905-909 (2018).
5. Asada S, Goyama S…Kitamura T. Nature Communications 9(1): 2733 (2018).
6. Osumi T…Tamura M…Goyama S, Kato M. Cancer Research 78(16): 4452-4458 (2018).
7. Yonezawa T…Goyama S. Journal of Biological Chemistry 292(30): 12528-12541 (2017).


The University of Tokyo
Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, The University of Tokyo

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