Lenora W. M. Loo, PhD

Lenora W. M. Loo, PhD

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Faculty Director, Cancer Research Training, University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center
Full Member, Cancer Biology Program, University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center

Academic Appointment(s):
Associate Professor (Associate Researcher), University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

PhD (Genetics), University of Hawaiʻi

Research Focus

Dr. Loo's research is focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms that both initiate and maintain tumorigenesis. Tumors are characterized by the progression of changes to a normal cell that alter the expression of genes involved in the regulation of cell proliferation, apoptosis, adhesion, and genome stability. Characterizing alterations to the genome (mutations, gene copy number, loss of heterozygosity, allelic imbalance) and the expression of critical genes can yield important information for the identification of signaling pathways that impact tumor specific characteristics. Dr. Loo and colleagues have demonstrated that the specific intrinsic subtypes of breast cancer are associated with distinct patterns of genomic alterations.

Dr. Loo is also interested in identifying genetic alterations, both gene expression and copy number alterations, that may impact biological events to influence the observed disparities in incidence and survival for breast and colon cancers in different ethnic populations of Hawai'i. Cross-ethnic comparisons of data from the Hawai'i Cancer Registry show that there are differences in the incidence and mortality for different ethnic populations. Factors that contribute to this disparity include socioeconomic status, access to healthcare, stage at diagnosis, and tumor biology. To better understand tumor biology, one of the goals for this study is to identify distinct genetic changes that impact cancer initiation and progression by altering gene expression patterns in the normal cell. Ultimately, we would like to better understand the biological basis of cancer to improve tailored treatment strategies leading to an increased survival for all individuals with cancer.

Selected Publications

Loo, LWM, Nishibun K, Welsh L, Makolo T, Chong C, Pagano I, Yu H, Bantum EO. (2019). Using a Cultural Dance Program to Increase Sustainable Physical Activity for Breast Cancer Survivors – A Pilot Study. Complementary Therapies in Medicine; Dec;47:102197.

Loo LWM, Williams M, Hernandez BY. (2019). The high and heterogeneous burden of breast cancer in Hawaii: A unique multiethnic U.S. Population. Cancer Epidemiol; Feb;58:71-76.

Loo LWM, Gao C, Shvetsov YB, Okoro DR, Hernandez BY, Bargonetti J. (2019). MDM2, MDM2-C, and mutant p53 expression influence breast cancer survival in a multiethnic population. Breast Cancer Res Treat; Feb;174(1):257-269.

Hernandez BY, Wilkens LR, Le Marchand L, Horio D, Chong CD, Loo LW. (2015). Differences in IGF-axis protein expression and survival among multiethnic breast cancer patients. Cancer Medicine; 4(3):354-62; PMID: 25619494. PMCID: PMC4380961.

Publication list via PubMed

Active Grants

L. Loo, Contact PI; I. Cheng, PI
R01 CA229815-01A1
“The Role of 27-Hydrocholesterol in Breast Cancer: A Population-based Multiethnic Study”
03/01/19 – 02/28/24