Zhou Wang, PhD
Professor of Urology, Pathology and Pharmacology

Dr. Wang is the Director of Urological Research, Department of Urology, the Co-Director of the Prostate and Urologic Cancer Program of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and a member of the Cellular and Molecular Pathology Graduate Training Program.
Office Location:
Shadyside Medical Building, POB 1
5200 Centre Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15232
Contact Information:
Office Telephone: 412-623-3903
Email: wangz2@upmc.edu

Research Interests

Dr. Wang's lab is interested in the mechanism of androgen action and the roles of androgens in benign and cancerous prostate growth. The long-term objective of his research is to identify new targets for the treatment and prevention of prostate cancer and BPH.

One area of research is to determine the role of androgen-responsive genes in the prostate. Dr. Wang's lab recently showed that one of the androgen-responsive gene, U19/Eaf2, is a tumor suppressor. U19/Eaf2 downregulation and loss of heterozygosity were observed in more than 80% of advanced human prostate cancer specimens examined, indicating that Eaf2 likely blocks prostate cancer progression. Overexpression of Eaf2 induced apoptosis of prostate cancer cell lines, both in vitro and in vivo, while Eaf2 gene knockout in mice resulted in tumors in multiple tissues. These findings demonstrate that Eaf2 indeed functions as a tumor suppressor. His current research focuses on U19/Eaf2-binding partners and Eaf2-downstream genes to better understand U19/Eaf2 function in prostate carcinogenesis and to elucidate the mechanisms by which androgens can modulate prostate cancer progression.

The other research is to elucidate the mechanism of androgen receptor (AR) intracellular trafficking. In androgen-sensitive prostate cancer cells, AR remains in the cytoplasm in the absence of ligand. The presence of ligand induces nuclear translocation of AR, resulting in the transactivation of androgen-responsive genes. However, in androgen-refractory prostate cancer cells, AR localizes to the nucleus in the absence of ligand. Importantly, ligand-independent AR nuclear localization is a prerequisite for AR to undergo ligand-independent activation. As this activation likely plays a critical role in the development of androgen-refractory disease, elucidating the mechanism of AR ligand-independent nuclear localization may provide insights into disease progression. A better understanding of how prostate cancer transforms from an androgen-sensitive to an androgen-refractory state will provide new treatment targets - a vital endeavor, since no curative therapy exists for advanced disease.

Selected Publications

View Dr. Wang's publications on PubMed

Saporita AJ, Zhang Q, Navai N, Dincer Z, Hahn J, Cai X, Wang Z, Identification and characterization of a ligand-regulated nuclear export sequence in androgen receptor. J Biol Chem., 278: 41998-42005, 2003.

Jiang F and Wang Z, Identification of androgen-responsive genes in the rat ventral prostate by complementary deoxyribonucleic acid subtraction and microarray. Endocrinology, 144:1257-65, 2003.

Xiao W, Zhang Q, Jiang F, Pins M, Kozlowski JM, Wang Z, Suppression of prostate tumor growth by U19, a novel testosterone-regulated apoptosis inducer. Cancer Res., 63: 4698-4704, 2003.

Eggener SE, Stern JA, Jain PM, Oram S, Cai X, Ai J, Roehl K, Wang Z, Enhancement of intermittent androgen ablation by "off-cycle" maintenance with finasteride in LNCaP prostate cancer xenograft model. Prostate 66:495-502, 2006.

Xiao W, Zhang Q, Habermacher G, Yang X, Zhang A, Cai X, Hahn J, Liu J, Pins M, Doglio L, Dhir R, Gingrich J, Wang Z, U19/Eaf2 knockout causes lung adenocarcinoma, B-cell lymphoma, hepatocellular carcinoma, and prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia. Oncogene, in press 2007