Mark E. Sherman, M.D., employs molecular pathology and epidemiologic study designs to evaluate the etiology, behavior and consequences of gynecological cancers, breast cancers and their precursors in diverse populations.
- Developing biomarkers and models to improve breast cancer risk prediction, including factors that integrate radiologic imaging, molecular histology and molecular pathology. Important emerging topics include understanding involution of the terminal duct lobular units of the breast, the structures from which breast cancers arise, defining mechanisms that underlie the risks associated with high mammographic density and improving management of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) of the breast, the incidence of which has risen dramatically with population-based mammographic screening. Additionally, interests include investigating local "paracrine effects" in the breast that may point to specific mechanisms in the hormonal-inflammatory axis and potentially can be inhibited with medications.
- Improving risk assessment and early detection of gynecological and breast cancers through collection and molecular analysis of novel proximate biological specimens such as vaginal tampons and breast milk. Analysis of these samples may enable identification of specific mechanisms such as hormonal, inflammatory or metabolic alterations that drive carcinogenesis that may be inhibited with targeted prevention strategies, including precautionary behaviors or chemopreventive agents.
- Improving cancer risk prediction through studies of etiologic heterogeneity, which incorporate questionnaire-based risk assessment, measurement of circulating biomarkers, and analysis of benign and malignant tissues using techniques such as morphometry, artificial intelligence, immunohistochemistry and molecular profiling with multiple platforms. Research interests include defining tumor site of origins to improve classification and clinical management, particularly for high-grade gynecological cancers, once classified as ovarian, and now appearing more likely to arise from the fallopian tube.
Significance to patient care
Improving risk assessment and mechanisms underlying risk of gynecological cancers and breast cancer may enable the future development of "precision prevention" approaches to cancer. In these approaches, levels of risk and mechanisms of risk inform best strategies to negate threats posed by cancer through appropriate frequency and methods of screening, lifestyle changes, use of chemoprevention (delivered with efficacy while minimizing adverse events) and risk-reducing surgery.
- Special symposium co-chair, "Improving Cancer Risk Prediction for Prevention and Early Detection," American Association for Cancer Research, 2016
- Recipient, Division of Cancer Epidemiology Exemplary Service Award, National Cancer Institute, 2009
- Recipient, National Institutes of Health Group and Individual Merit awards, 2008