Areas of Research Pediatric Surgical Oncology Lab

In the Pediatric Surgical Oncology Lab, our studies are primarily focused on two devastating forms of pediatric cancer, liver cancer and neuroblastoma.  Patients with both types of high risk disease have a long-term overall survival rate of less than 50% and are therefore desperately in need of additional therapeutic strategies.  Liver cancer is fairly rare in pediatric patients with hepatoblastoma most commonly seen in patients younger than 5 years of age and hepatocellular carcinoma seen in teenage patients.  Neuroblastoma is the most common extracranial solid tumor seen in children and accounts for about 700 new diagnoses per year in the United States.  Our objectives in both areas of research are as follows:

  • Development of new tools for studying these diseases including patient derived cell lines and orthotopic xenograft mouse models with commercially available and patient derived cell lines.
  • Studying p53 tumor suppressor signaling and the efficacy of agents that reactive signaling in preclinical in vitro and in vivo models.
  • Studying the mechanisms of vascular invasion as a precursor to metastatic disease and how vascular invasion can be detected and prevented to improve patient outcomes.
  • Screening other novel agents for anti-proliferative and cytotoxic effects in preclinical models.

Recent honors:    

  • Dr. Vasudevan was named as Vice Chair of the Surgery Subcommittee of the Pediatric Hepatic International Tumor Trial (PHITT), an international prospective clinical trial on pediatric liver tumors through COG (2017).
  • Dr. Vasudevan received the Baylor College of Medicine Young Alumnus Award (2015). 


1.  Chen Z, Wang L, Yao D, Yang T, Cao WM, Dou J, Pang JC, Guan S, Zhang H, Yu Y, Zhao Y, Wang Y, Xu X, Shi Y, Patel R, Zhang H, Vasudevan SA, Liu S, Yang J, Nuchtern JG. Wip1 inhibitor GSK2830371 inhibits neuroblastoma growth by inducing Chk2/p53-mediated apoptosis. Sci Rep. 2016 Dec 19;6:38011. doi: 10.1038/srep38011. PubMed PMID: 27991505; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5171816.

2.  Bieerkehazhi S, Chen Z, Zhao Y, Yu Y, Zhang H, Vasudevan SA, Woodfield SE, Tao L, Yi JS, Muscal JA, Pang JC, Guan S, Zhang H, Nuchtern JG, Li H, Li H, Yang J.  Novel Src/Abl tyrosine kinase inhibitor bosutinib suppresses neuroblastoma growth via inhibiting Src/Abl signaling. Oncotarget. 2017 Jan 3;8(1):1469-1480. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.13643. PubMed PMID: 27903968.

3.  Mao X, Chen Z, Zhao Y, Yu Y, Guan S, Woodfield SE, Vasudevan SA, Tao L, Pang JC, Lu J, Zhang H, Zhang F, Yang J. Novel multi-targeted ErbB family inhibitor afatinib blocks EGF-induced signaling and induces apoptosis in neuroblastoma.  Oncotarget. 2017 Jan 3;8(1):1555-1568. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.13657. PubMed PMID: 27902463.

4.  Bissig-Choisat B, Kettlun-Leyton C, Legras XD, Zorman B, Barzi M, Chen LL, Amin MD, Huang YH, Pautler RG, Hampton OA, Prakash MM, Yang D, Borowiak M, Muzny D, Doddapaneni HV, Hu J, Shi Y, Gaber MW, Hicks MJ, Thompson PA, Lu Y, Mills GB, Finegold M, Goss JA, Parsons DW, Vasudevan SA, Sumazin P, López-Terrada D, Bissig KD. Novel patient-derived xenograft and cell line models for therapeutic testing of pediatric liver cancer. J Hepatol. 2016 Aug;65(2):325-33. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2016.04.009. PubMed PMID: 27117591.

5.  Shi Y, Ma IT, Patel RH, Shang X, Chen Z, Zhao Y, Cheng J, Fan Y, Rojas Y, Barbieri E, Chen Z, Yu Y, Jin J, Kim ES, Shohet JM, Vasudevan SA, Yang J.  NSC-87877 inhibits DUSP26 function in neuroblastoma resulting in p53-mediated apoptosis. Cell Death Dis. 2015 Aug 6;6:e1841. doi: 10.1038/cddis.2015.207.  PubMed PMID: 26247726; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4558500.

6.  Zhang H, Dou J, Yu Y, Zhao Y, Fan Y, Cheng J, Xu X, Liu W, Guan S, Chen Z, Shi Y, Patel R, Vasudevan SA, Zage PE, Zhang H, Nuchtern JG, Kim ES, Fu S, Yang J. mTOR ATP-competitive inhibitor INK128 inhibits neuroblastoma growth via blocking mTORC signaling. Apoptosis. 2015 Jan;20(1):50-62. doi: 10.1007/s10495-014-1066-0. PubMed PMID: 25425103; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4593396.

Explore Our Areas of Research in Cancer and Blood Disorders

Ranked #6 in Cancer

Proud to be ranked one of the best children’s cancer centers in the country by U.S. News & World Report for seven consecutive years.