2015 Recipient — Anna Lokshin, PhD

Anna Lokshin, PhD

Microenvironmental Control of Premalignant Lesions in Ovarian Cancer

Project Summary

Ovarian cancer is a number one killer of all women’s malignancies, however mechanisms of its development from a pre-cancerous lesion are still poorly understood. In this study, Dr. Lokshin and her colleagues will focus on interactions between the growing tumor and surrounding cells that could potentiate development of ovarian cancer. The overarching hypothesis is that interplay between the premalignant lesion, immune cells, and other cells surrounding tumor creates the environment that actively promotes the progression of premalignant lesions into frank cancer. The project will be the first to conduct a multidisciplinary translational study of mechanisms controlling progression of early ovarian cancer via interactions of tumor with immune cells and surrounding cells using innovative experimental models: human precancerous cells and a recently developed mouse model of ovarian cancer. The results of the studies will provide a strong basis for mechanism-based development of strategies for early detection, prevention and intervention in ovarian cancer. The studies will bring together a group of researchers with synergistic expertise in cellular and molecular mechanisms, immunology, and biomarkers of ovarian cancer.


Michael Shurin, MD, PhD, University of Pittsburgh
Anil K. Soon, MD, MD Anderson Cancer Center
Rugang Zhang, PhD, Wistar Institute
Areas of Research:


Anna Lokshin, Ph.D., is a tenured Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Lokshin also serves as Director of Luminex Core Facility of University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. Dr. Lokshin’s research is focused on cancer biomarkers for screening, diagnosis, and prognosis, with particular emphasis on biomarkers of ovarian and pancreatic cancers. Dr. Lokshin’s studies will allow generation of multi biomarker-based algorithms allowing early detection of these cancers at the time when surgical intervention is curative. She has contributed over 100 publications to the scientific literature. She has served on several review and editorial boards and is a long standing member of the NCI Early Detection Research Network (EDRN). Dr. Lokshin earned her PhD in Genetics from the Leningrad University in Russia. She subsequently obtained postdoctoral training in cancer biology at the University of Pittsburgh.