Image Place holder

Soner Altiok, MD, PhD

Academic Rank: Senior Member


As a cytopathologist, my focus is on applling techniques of cell biology and proteomics to the field of cytopathology to identify novel diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers.


    • Anatomic Pathology
    • Chemical Biology and Molecular Medicine Program

Education & Training

Board Certification:

  • Cytopathology


  • University of Istanbul, Turkey, MD -
  • University of Basel, Switzerland, PhD - Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Harvard Medical School, Fellow - Cell Biology
  • Harvard Medical School, Senior Fellow - Medicine
  • Harvard Medical School, Clinical Fellow - Cytopathology

The goal of Dr. Altiok’s research is to establish primary non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) xenografts to study pharmacodynamic profiles of tumors to predict and assess response to targeted therapy. His work also focuses on analyzing the link between G2 checkpoint control and sensitivity to histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDACi) therapy in NSCLC. He seeks to develop methods to analyze the efficacy of targeted agents in a NSCLC model using patients' tumor tissue obtained at the time of cancer resection. In primary NSCLC engrafts models Dr. Altiok and colleagues demonstrated that HDACi-induced cell death is closely associated with unscheduled mitotic entry. This effect appears to be mediated by activation of cdc2 kinase and inhibition of CHK1, a kinase with an integral role in the regulation of S and G2/M checkpoints and mitotic cell death. In ex vivo experiments with primary tumor cells obtained by FNAB they showed that the lack of cdc2 activation correlates with resistance to the cytotoxic effects of HDACis. Consistent with this observation, the data showed that a clinically relevant Wee1 inhibitor MK1775 that activates cdc2 has strong synergistic effect with the pan-HDAC inhibitor SAHA in NSCLC cells.In collaboration with Drs. Jhanelle Gray and Eric Haura, his laboratory team is analyzing molecular response to HDACi treatment in tumor FNAB material obtained from NSCLC and head and neck cancer patients enrolled in a phase I expansion trial. Additionally, they designed a phase I trial to test the clinical feasibility of MK1775 and SAHA combination treatment in NSCLC.


  • Gray JE, Chiappori A, Williams CC, Tanvetyanon T, Haura EB, Creelan BC, Kim J, Boyle TA, Pinder-Schenck M, Khalil F, Altiok S, Devane R, Noyes D, Mediavilla-Varela M, Smilee R, Hopewell EL, Kelley L, Antonia SJ. A phase I/randomized phase II study of GM.CD40L vaccine in combination with CCL21 in patients with advanced lung adenocarcinoma. Cancer Immunol Immun. 2018 Sep. Pubmedid: 30209589.
  • Holton AB, Sinatra FL, Kreahling J, Conway AJ, Landis DA, Altiok S. Microfluidic Biopsy Trapping Device for the Real-Time Monitoring of Tumor Microenvironment. PLoS One. 2017 Jan;12(1):e0169797. Pubmedid: 28085924. Pmcid: PMC5235371.
  • Yu D, Kahen E, Cubitt CL, McGuire J, Kreahling J, Lee J, Altiok S, Lynch CC, Sullivan DM, Reed DR. Identification of Synergistic, Clinically Achievable, Combination Therapies for Osteosarcoma. Sci Rep. 2015 Nov;5:16991. Pubmedid: 26601688. Pmcid: PMC4658502.
  • Smith MA, Hall R, Fisher K, Haake SM, Khalil F, Schabath MB, Vuaroqueaux V, Fiebig HH, Altiok S, Chen YA, Haura EB. Annotation of human cancers with EGFR signaling-associated protein complexes using proximity ligation assays. Sci Signal. 2015 Jan;8(359):ra4. Pubmedid: 25587191. Pmcid: PMC4440040.
  • Kreahling JM, Altiok S. Special Technologies for Ex Vivo Analysis of Cancer. Cancer Control. 2015 Apr;22(2):226-231. Pubmedid: 26068769.
  • Khalil FK, Altiok S. Advances in EGFR as a Predictive Marker in Lung Adenocarcinoma. Cancer Control. 2015 Apr;22(2):193-199. Pubmedid: 26068764.
  • Gray J, Haura EB, Chiappori A, Tanvetyanon T, Williams CC, Pinder-Schenk M, Kish JA, Kreahling JM, Lush RM, Neuger AM, Tetteh LF, Akar A, Zhao X, Schell MJ, Bepler G, Altiok S. A phase I, pharmacokinetic, and pharmacodynamic study of panobinostat, an HDAC inhibitor, combined with erlotinib in patients with advanced aerodigestive tract tumors. Clin Cancer Res. 2014 Mar;20(6):1644-1655. Pubmedid: 24429877. Pmcid: PMC4051132.
  • Toloza E, Cheng A, Coppola D, Shan Y, Moodie C, Garrett J, Krblich D, Tran N, Altiok S, Smith P. Metastatic Non-small Cell Lung Cancer Masquerading as Metastatic Renal Cell Cancer: A Case Report. Chest. 2014 Mar;145(3 Suppl):317A. Pubmedid: 24638364.
  • Shamekh R, Altiok S, Leon ME. A woman with swelling of the posterior pharyngeal wall. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2014 Jul;140(7):671-672. Pubmedid: 24902797.
  • Song L, Smith MA, Doshi P, Sasser K, Fulp W, Altiok S, Haura EB. Antitumor efficacy of the anti-interleukin-6 (IL-6) antibody siltuximab in mouse xenograft models of lung cancer. J Thorac Oncol. 2014 Jul;9(7):974-982. Pubmedid: 24922005. Pmcid: PMC4057975.
  • Kreahling JM, Foroutan P, Reed D, Martinez G, Razabdouski T, Bui MM, Raghavan M, Letson D, Gillies RJ, Altiok S. Wee1 inhibition by MK-1775 leads to tumor inhibition and enhances efficacy of gemcitabine in human sarcomas. PLoS One. 2013 Sep;8(3):e57523. Pubmedid: 23520471. Pmcid: PMC3592874.
  • Gray JE, Altiok S, Alexandrow MG, Walsh FW, Chen J, Schell MJ, Tai DF, Bepler G. Phase 2 randomized study of enzastaurin (LY317615) for lung cancer prevention in former smokers. Cancer. 2013 Mar;119(5):1023-1032. Pubmedid: 23065656. Pmcid: PMC3578040.
  • Allam-Nandyala P, Bui MM, Deconti R, Purohit C, Altiok S. Squamous cell carcinoma with rhabdoid phenotype of skin/soft tissue in a transplant patient: An exceptional case and review of the literature. Diagn Cytopathol. 2013 Feb;41(2):159-163. Pubmedid: 23335454.
  • Foroutan P, Kreahling JM, Morse DL, Grove O, Lloyd MC, Reed D, Raghavan M, Altiok S, Martinez GV, Gillies RJ. Diffusion MRI and novel texture analysis in osteosarcoma xenotransplants predicts response to anti-checkpoint therapy. PLoS One. 2013 Dec;8(12):e82875. Pubmedid: 24358232. Pmcid: PMC3865096.
  • McNab P, Quigley B, Mendoza T, Hakam A, Khalil F, Fishman M, Altiok S. The histogenic origin of melanoma arising in respiratory epithelium of a teratomatous germ cell tumor of the mediastinum: an enigma unraveled from an unlikely source. Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2013 Apr;5(9):982-990. Pubmedid: 23119117. Pmcid: PMC3484497.
  • Alexandrow MG, Song LJ, Altiok S, Gray J, Haura EB, Kumar NB. Curcumin: a novel Stat3 pathway inhibitor for chemoprevention of lung cancer. Eur J Cancer Prev. 2012 Sep;21(5):407-412. Pubmedid: 22156994. Pmcid: PMC3319490.
  • Singh S, Trevino J, Bora-Singhal N, Coppola D, Haura E, Altiok S, Chellappan SP. EGFR/Src/Akt signaling modulates Sox2 expression and self-renewal of stem-like side-population cells in non-small cell lung cancer. Mol Cancer. 2012 Sep;11:73. Pubmedid: 23009336. Pmcid: PMC3497614.
  • Ramakrishnan R, Huang C, Cho HI, Lloyd M, Johnson J, Ren X, Altiok S, Sullivan D, Weber J, Celis E, Gabrilovich DI. Autophagy induced by conventional chemotherapy mediates tumor cell sensitivity to immunotherapy. Cancer Res. 2012 Nov;72(21):5483-5493. Pubmedid: 22942258. Pmcid: PMC4577568.
  • Bai Y, Li J, Fang B, Edwards A, Zhang G, Bui M, Eschrich S, Altiok S, Koomen J, Haura EB. Phosphoproteomics identifies driver tyrosine kinases in sarcoma cell lines and tumors. Cancer Res. 2012 May;72(10):2501-2511. Pubmedid: 22461510. Pmcid: PMC4641440.
  • Kreahling JM, Gemmer JY, Reed D, Letson D, Bui M, Altiok S. MK1775, a selective Wee1 inhibitor, shows single-agent antitumor activity against sarcoma cells. Mol Cancer Ther. 2012 Jan;11(1):174-182. Pubmedid: 22084170. Pmcid: PMC4545500.
  • Lu T, Ramakrishnan R, Altiok S, Youn JI, Cheng P, Celis E, Pisarev V, Sherman S, Sporn MB, Gabrilovich D. Tumor-infiltrating myeloid cells induce tumor cell resistance to cytotoxic T cells in mice. J Clin Invest. 2011 Oct;121(10):4015-4029. Pubmedid: 21911941. Pmcid: PMC3195459.
  • Fu W, Ma L, Chu B, Wang X, Bui MM, Gemmer J, Altiok S, Pledger WJ. The cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor SCH 727965 (dinacliclib) induces the apoptosis of osteosarcoma cells. Mol Cancer Ther. 2011 Jun;10(6):1018-1027. Pubmedid: 21490307. Pmcid: PMC4727401.
  • Reed D, Altiok S. Metastatic soft tissue sarcoma chemotherapy: an opportunity for personalized medicine. Cancer Control. 2011 Jul;18(3):188-195. Pubmedid: 21666581.
  • Zhang G, Fang B, Liu RZ, Lin H, Kinose F, Bai Y, Oguz U, Remily-Wood ER, Li J, Altiok S, Eschrich S, Koomen J, Haura EB. Mass spectrometry mapping of epidermal growth factor receptor phosphorylation related to oncogenic mutations and tyrosine kinase inhibitor sensitivity. J Proteome Res. 2011 Jan;10(1):305-319. Pubmedid: 21080693. Pmcid: PMC3050523.
  • Tanvetyanon T, Robinson L, Sommers KE, Haura E, Kim J, Altiok S, Bepler G. Relationship between Tumor Size and Survival among Patients with Resection of Multiple Synchronous Lung Cancers. J Thorac Oncol. 2010 Jul;5(7):1018-1024. Pubmedid: 20453687.
  • Altiok S, Mezzadra H, Jagannath S, Tsottles N, Rudek MA, Abdallah N, Berman D, Forastiere A, Gibson MK. A novel pharmacodynamic approach to assess and predict tumor response to the epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitor gefitinib in patients with esophageal cancer. Int J Oncol. 2010 Jan;36(1):19-27. Pubmedid: 19956829. Pmcid: PMC3052699.
  • Brazelle W, Kreahling JM, Gemmer J, Ma Y, Cress WD, Haura E, Altiok S. Histone deacetylase inhibitors downregulate checkpoint kinase 1 expression to induce cell death in non-small cell lung cancer cells. PLoS One. 2010 Dec;5(12):e14335. Pubmedid: 21179472. Pmcid: PMC3001870.
  • Ramakrishnan R, Assudani D, Nagaraj S, Hunter T, Cho HI, Antonia S, Altiok S, Celis E, Gabrilovich DI. Chemotherapy enhances tumor cell susceptibility to CTL-mediated killing during cancer immunotherapy in mice. J Clin Invest. 2010 Apr;120(4):1111-1124. Pubmedid: 20234093. Pmcid: PMC2846048.
  • Gao J, McConnell MJ, Yu B, Li J, Balko JM, Black EP, Johnson JO, Lloyd MC, Altiok S, Haura EB. MUC1 is a downstream target of STAT3 and regulates lung cancer cell survival and invasion. Int J Oncol. 2009 Aug;35(2):337-345. Pubmedid: 19578748. Pmcid: PMC4098131.
  • Altiok N, Mezzadra H, Patel P, Koyuturk M, Altiok S. A plant oxylipin, 12-oxo-phytodienoic acid, inhibits proliferation of human breast cancer cells by targeting cyclin D1. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2008 May;109(2):315-323. Pubmedid: 17638069.
  • Altiok N, Koyuturk M, Altiok S. JNK pathway regulates estradiol-induced apoptosis in hormone-dependent human breast cancer cells. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2007 Nov;105(3):247-254. Pubmedid: 17187235.
  • Rubio-Viqueira B, Mezzadra H, Nielsen ME, Jimeno A, Zhang X, Iacobuzio-Donahue C, Maitra A, Hidalgo M, Altiok S. Optimizing the development of targeted agents in pancreatic cancer: tumor fine-needle aspiration biopsy as a platform for novel prospective ex vivo drug sensitivity assays. Mol Cancer Ther. 2007 Feb;6(2):515-523. Pubmedid: 17308050.
  • Hidalgo M, Amador ML, Jimeno A, Mezzadra H, Patel P, Chan A, Nielsen ME, Maitra A, Altiok S. Assessment of gefitinib- and CI-1040-mediated changes in epidermal growth factor receptor signaling in HuCCT-1 human cholangiocarcinoma by serial fine needle aspiration. Mol Cancer Ther. 2006 Jul;5(7):1895-1903. Pubmedid: 16891476.
  • Rubio-Viqueira B, Jimeno A, Cusatis G, Zhang X, Iacobuzio-Donahue C, Karikari C, Shi C, Danenberg K, Danenberg P, Kuramochi H, Tanaka K, Singh S, Salimi-Moosavi H, Bouraoud N, Amador M, Altiok S, Kulesza P, Yeo C, MessersmithW, Eshleman J, Hruban R, Maitra A, Hidalgo M. An in vivo platform for translational drug development in pancreatic cancer. Clin Cancer Res. 2006 Aug;12(15):4652-4661. Pubmedid: 16899615.
  • Wu J, Altiok S, Ali S. A 49-year-old woman with a recurring painful soft tissue ankle mass. Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2005 Sep;129(9):1187-1188. Pubmedid: 16119999.
  • Altiok S. Molecular markers in cervical cytology. Clin Lab Med. 2003 Sep;23(3):709-28, vii. Pubmedid: 14560536.
  • Altiok S, Batt D, Altiok N, Papautsky A, Downward J, Roberts T, Avraham H. Heregulin induces phosphorylation of BRCA1 through phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase/AKT in breast cancer cells. J Biol Chem. 1999 Nov;274(45):32274-32278. Pubmedid: 10542266.
  • Altiok S, Groner B. Regulation of gene expression in mammary epithelial cells by cellular confluence and sequence-specific DNA binding factors. Biochem Soc Symp. 1998;63:115-131. Pubmedid: 9513716 .
  • Tontonoz P, Singer S, Forman B, Sarraf P, Fletcher J, Fletcher C, BrunRP, Mueller E, Altiok S, Oppenheim H, Evans R, Spiegelman B. Terminal differentiation of human liposarcoma cells induced by ligands for peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma and the retinoid X receptor. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997 Jan;94(1):237-241. Pubmedid: 8990192 .
  • Altiok N, Altiok S, Changeux J. Heregulin-stimulated acetylcholine receptor gene expression in muscle: requirement for MAP kinase and evidence for a parallel inhibitory pathway independent of electrical activity. Embo J. 1997 Feb;16(4):717-725. Pubmedid: 9049301 .
  • Altiok S, Xu M, Spiegelman B. PPARgamma induces cell cycle withdrawal: inhibition of E2F/DP DNA-binding activity via down-regulation of PP2A. Genes Dev. 1997 Aug;11(15):1987-1998. Pubmedid: 9271121 .
  • Altiok S, Groner B. beta-Casein mRNA sequesters a single-stranded nucleic acid-binding protein which negatively regulates the beta-casein gene promoter. Mol Cell Biol. 1994 Sep;14(9):6004-6012. Pubmedid: 8065333 .
  • Groner B, Altiok S, Meier V. Hormonal regulation of transcription factor activity in mammary epithelial cells. Mol Cell Endocrinol. 1994 Apr;100(1-2):109-114. Pubmedid: 8056143 .
  • Altiok S, Groner B. Interaction of two sequence-specific single-stranded DNA-binding proteins with an essential region of the beta-casein gene promoter is regulated by lactogenic hormones. Mol Cell Biol. 1993 Dec;13(12):7303-7310. Pubmedid: 8246951 .
  • Altiok S, Bermek E. Effects of mitogenic agents upon glucocorticoid action in human tonsillar T-lymphocytes. Biosci Rep. 1990 Feb;10(1):69-72. Pubmedid: 2111191 .
  • Brun R, Kim J, Hu E, Altiok S, Spiegelman B. Adipocyte differentiation: a transcriptional regulatory cascade. In: Curr Opin Cell Biol. 8 ed. 1996;826-832.