Cancer is a systemic disease. Using both laboratory and clinical research, my group investigates the connections between metabolism, endocrinology, and immunology to discover how the body’s response to a tumor can be used to improve treatment for patients with cancer.
How do tumors interact with the biology of the host system? What can we learn from studying the physiology and biochemistry of the host system in the context of cancer? These are principle questions that drive the research in my laboratory. For example, we investigate the convergence of systemic metabolic stress, endocrinology, and suppressed anti-cancer immunity to discover mechanism-based strategies for combination therapy for patients with cancer. We have shown that interleukin-6 induced metabolic stress is sufficient to downregulate hepatic ketogenesis. This causes significant systemic stress during periods of caloric deficiency that are often part of the cancer care pathway. The resulting elevation of glucocorticoids suppresses anti-tumor immunity in model systems of pancreatic cancer. Using clinical samples and data, we have shown correlative findings of weight loss, reduced ketogenesis, and elevated glucocorticoids in patients with pancreatic cancer. Our work, therefore, confirms that cancer cannot be understood and probably not be treated, by investigating tumors in isolation. We use findings like these to develop strategies for interventional studies with the aim to improve outcome for patients with cancer.
Cancer Research UK Clinician Scientist Award
Wellcome Trust Translational Medicine and Therapeutics Academic Clinical Lectureship
Boehringer Ingelheim Fond PhD Fellowship
German National Merit Scholarship
Cancer research from a different perspective
October 3, 2018
It’s typical to think about cancer in terms of specific tissue types or organs in which cancers can form; like leukemia, breast, brain, or prostate. Cancer researcher Tobias Janowitz, M.D., Ph.D. takes a different approach; one that looks at cancer as a systemic condition. The newest addition to the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) faculty,...
- Cancer, host metabolism, and immunotherapy
- Tumors reprogram the liver, causing wasting and short-circuiting body’s immune response
- Weight loss condition provides insight into failure of cancer immunotherapies
- From cancer evolution to targeting faulty genetics – our new fellows
- In Accordance With Our Best Estimates
- New Model for Estimating Glomerular Filtration Rate and Accurately Dosing Carboplatin in Cancer Patients
- New way of predicting kidney function could improve chemotherapy dosing for many cancer patients
- You made a difference – December 2012
Janowitz, T. and Williams, E. H. and Marshall, A. and Ainsworth, N. and Thomas, P. B. and Sammut, S. J. and Shepherd, S. and White, J. and Mark, P. B. and Lynch, A. G. and Jodrell, D. I. and Tavare, S. and Earl, H. (2017) New Model for Estimating Glomerular Filtration Rate in Patients With Cancer. J Clin Oncol, 35(24) pp. 2798-2805.
Connell, C. M. and Raby, S. and Beh, I. and Flint, T. and Williams, E. and Fearon, D. T. and Jodrell, D. I. and Janowitz, T. (2017) Cancer immunotherapy trial registrations increase exponentially but chronic immunosuppressive glucocorticoid therapy may compromise outcomes. Ann Oncol, 28(7) pp. 1678-1679.
Flint, Thomas R. and Fearon, Douglas T. and Janowitz, Tobias (2017) Connecting the Metabolic and Immune Responses to Cancer. Trends in Molecular Medicine, 23(5) pp. 451-464.
Flint, T. R. and Janowitz, T. and Connell, C. M. and Roberts, E. W. and Denton, A. E. and Coll, A. P. and Jodrell, D. I. and Fearon, D. T. (2016) Tumor-Induced IL-6 Reprograms Host Metabolism to Suppress Anti-tumor Immunity. Cell Metab, 24(5) pp. 672-684.
Ford, H. E. and Marshall, A. and Bridgewater, J. A. and Janowitz, T. and Coxon, F. Y. and Wadsley, J. and Mansoor, W. and Fyfe, D. and Madhusudan, S. and Middleton, G. W. and Swinson, D. and Falk, S. and Chau, I. and Cunningham, D. and Kareclas, P. and Cook, N. and Blazeby, J. M. and Dunn, J. A. (2014) Docetaxel versus active symptom control for refractory oesophagogastric adenocarcinoma (COUGAR-02): an open-label, phase 3 randomised controlled trial. Lancet Oncol, 15(1) pp. 78-86.
Feig, C. and Jones, J. O. and Kraman, M. and Wells, R. J. B. and Deonarine, A. and Chan, D. S. and Connell, C. M. and Roberts, E. W. and Zhao, Q. and Caballero, O. L. and Teichmann, S. A. and Janowitz, T. and Jodrell, D. I. and Tuveson, D. A. and Fearon, D. T. (2013) Targeting CXCL12 from FAP-expressing carcinoma-associated fibroblasts synergizes with anti-PD-L1 immunotherapy in pancreatic cancer. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 110(50) pp. 20212-20217.Additional materials of the author at
CSHL Institutional Repository