Qiang Shen, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor (Tenure-Track)
Department of Clinical Cancer Prevention
Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, TX, USA


Dr. Shen received his medical education from Jiangxi Medical College and Kunming MedicalUniversity in 1981 and 1989, and practiced medicine in China til 1995, He obtained a PhD degree in Cell Biology from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston in 2002. Then he completed a postdoctoral fellowship training at Baylor College of Medicine with Dr. Powel Brown in the areas of breast cancer biology and molecular cancer prevention from 2002 to 2006, and was promoted to Instructor at Baylor from 2006 to 2009. Dr. Shen joined The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in 2009 as a tenure-track Assistant Professor in the Department of Clinical Cancer Prevention. Dr. Shen studies transcription factors including AP-1 and STAT3, kinases, and other signal molecules regulating cellular proliferation, apoptosis, and glucose metabolism in the development and progression ofbreast and other cancers, using molecular, cellular, and transgenic animal model approaches. Dr. Shen has published more than 30 peer-reviewed research articles, and is a co-inventor of two patents.

Research Interest

Dr. Shen’s primary research interest is to identify novel molecular targets and develop effective low-molecular weight drugs for the prevention and treatment of cancers. His research focuses on elucidating the mechanisms by which normal mammary cells malignantly transform into cancer cells and cancer cells progress to metastasis, and on developing innovative strategies for blocking carcinogenesis and controlling metastasis. Currently, he studies the role of transcription factors, glycolytic enzymes, mitochondrial respiratory complexesand kinases in normal cells, cancer cells and animal models. His team also explores how to target these molecules for preventing cancer development and blocking cancer progression to metastasis, by developing new anti-cancer drugs.

Scientific Activities


•(1980) Model Student, Jiangxi Medical College, China
•(1987) Model Student, Kunming Medical College, China
•(1987) Scholarship for Academic Excellence, Kunming Medical College, China
•(1994) Excellent Young Teacher Award, 1st Military Medical University
•(1997) UTMB Associates International Scholarship, University of Texas Medical Branch
•(1998) UTMB Chinese Student Association Service Award, University of Texas Medical Branch
•(1999) Shirley Patricia Parker Memorial Scholarship, University of Texas Medical Branch
•(1999) UTMB Associates Travel Award, University of Texas Medical Branch
•(2001) Arthur V. Simmang Academic Scholarship, University of Texas Medical Branch
•(2003) AACR-Aflac Scholar-in-Training Award, American Association for Cancer Research
•(2005) AACR-Aflac Scholar-in-Training Award, American Association for Cancer Research
•(2007) AACR-Aflac Scholar-in-Training Award, American Association for Cancer Research
•(2007) Career Development Award, Breast Cancer SPORE Program, Baylor College of Medicine
•(2009) NCI K22 Career Transit Award, NIH/NCI
•(2010) Microplate Multimode Reader Instrument Program Grant, Promega Corporation
•(2012-Present) Lecture Professorship, Jiangxi Medical College, China
•(2014-Present) Lecture Professorship, China Academy of Medical Sciences, China
•(2015) DFI Seed Fund Award, Duncan Family Institute for Cancer Prevention and Risk Assessment
•(2015) Holden Family Research Grant in Breast Cancer Prevention, Prevent Cancer Foundation


1. Shen Q, Zhang BY, Lan H. Lipiodo/Cisplatin-hepatic artery embolization for the treatment of primary liver cancer of middle-advanced stages: clinical study. China J Commu Med. 1989; 11: 51.
2. Shao S, Shen Q, Weng G. Malignant primary gastric lymphoma and a report of three cases. China J Commu Med. 1995; 9: 41-42.
3. Shao S, Shen Q, Weng G, Wang Y. Clinical applications of somatostatin in four patients. China J Commu Med. 1996; 10: 103-104.
4. Shao S, Weng G, Wang Y, Shen Q. Report of six cases on the diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic injuries. China J Med Emerg Med Trau. 1996; 6: 1131-1132.
5. Shao S, Shen Q, Weng G, Wang Y. Traumatic liver rupture: diagnosis and treatment in 21 patients. Shenshen J Med. 1996; 9: 16-17.
6. Fan X, Croll RP, Wu B, Fang L, Shen Q, Painter SD, Nagle GT. Molecular cloning of a cDNA encoding the neuropeptides APG Wamide and cerebral peptide 1: localization of APGWamide-like immunoreactivity in the central nervous system and male reproductive organs of Aplysia. J Comp Neurol. 1997; 387(1): 53-62.
7. Shen Q, Brown PH. Novel agents for the prevention of breast cancer: targeting transcription factors and signal transduction pathways. J Mammary Gland Biol Neoplasia. 2003; 8(1): 45-73.
8. Lu C, Speers C, Zhang Y, et al. Effect of epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitor on development of estrogen receptor-negative mammary tumors. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2003; 95(24): 1825-1833. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djg117
9. Shen Q, Singh P. Identification of a novel SP3 binding site in the promoter of human IGFBP4 gene: role of SP3 and AP-1 in regulating promoter activity in CaCo2 cells. Oncogene. 2004; 23(14): 2454-2464. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1207354
10. Liu Y, Lu C, Shen Q, Munoz-Medellin D, Kim H, Brown PH. AP-1 blockade in breast cancer cells causes cell cycle arrest by suppressing G1 cyclin expression and reducing cyclin-dependent kinase activity. Oncogene. 2004; 23(50): 8238-8246. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1207889
11. Shen Q, Brown PH. Transgenic mouse models for the prevention of breast cancer. Mutat Res. 2005; 576(1-2): 93-110.
12. Lu C, Shen Q, DuPré E, Kim H, Hilsenbeck S, Brown PH. cFos is critical for MCF-7 breast cancer cell growth. Oncogene. 2005; 24(43): 6516-6524. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1208905
13. Shen Q, Zhang Y, Uray IP, et al. The AP-1 transcription factor regulates postnatal mammary gland development. Dev Biol. 2006; 295(2): 589-603. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2006.03.042
14. Li Y, Zhang Y, Hill J, et al. The Rexinoid LG100268 prevents the development of preinvasive and invasive estrogen receptor negative tumors in MMTV-erbB2 mice. Clin Cancer Res. 2007; 13(20): 6224-6231. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-06-2681
15. Shen Q, Uray IP, Li Y, et al. The AP-1 transcription factor regulates breast cancer cell growth via cyclins and E2F factors. Oncogene. 2008; 27(3): 366-377.
16. Li Y, Zhang Y, Hill J, et al. The rexinoid, bexarotene, prevents the development of premalignant lesions in MMTV-erbB2 mice. Br J Cancer. 2008; 98(8): 1380-1388. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6604320
17. Shen Q, Uray IP, Li Y, et al. Targeting the activator protein 1 transcription factor for the prevention of estrogen receptor-negative mammary tumors. Cancer Prev Res (Phila Pa). 2008; 1(1): 45-55. doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-08-0034
18. Strecker TE, Shen Q, Zhang Y, et al. Effect of lapatinib on the development of estrogen receptor-negative mammary tumors in mice. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2009; 101(2): 107-113. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djn436
19. Uray IP, Shen Q, Seo HS, et al. Rexinoid-induced expression of IGFBP-6 requires RARbeta-dependent permissive cooperation of retinoid receptors and AP-1. J Biol Chem. 2009; 284(1): 345-353. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M804721200
20. Li Y, Shen Q, Kim HT, et al. The rexinoid bexarotene represses cyclin D1 transcription by inducing the DEC2 transcriptional repressor. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2011; 128(3): 667-677. doi: 10.1007/s10549-010-1083-9
21. Chen H, Yang Z, Ding C, et al. Discovery of O-Alkylamino Tethered Niclosamide Derivatives as Potent and Orally Bioavailable Anticancer Agents. ACS Med Chem Lett. 2013; 4(2): 180-185. doi: 10.1021/ml3003082
22. Chen H, Yang Z, Ding C, et al. Fragment-Based Drug Design and Identification of HJC0123, A Novel Orally Bioavailable STAT3 Inhibitor for Cancer Therapy. Eur J Med Chem. 2013; 62: 498-507. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmech.2013.01.023.
23. Ding C, Zhang Y, Chen H, et al. Novel Nitrogen-Enriched Oridonin Analogues with Thiazole-Fused A-Ring: Protecting Group-Free Synthesis, Enhanced Anticancer Profile, and Improved Aqueous Solubility. J Med Chem. 2013; 56(1): 5048-5058. doi: 10.1021/jm400367n
24. Meng X, Cai C, Wu J, et al. TRPM7 Mediates Breast Cancer Cell Migration and Invasion Through the MAPK Pathway. Cancer Let. 2013; 333(1): 96-102. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2013.01.031
25. Ding C, Zhang Y, Chen H, et al. Overcoming Synthetic Challenges of Oridonin A-Ring Structural Diversification: Regio- and Stereoselective Installation of Azides and 1,2,3-Triazoles at the C-1, C-2, or C-3 Position. Org Lett. 2013; 15(14): 3718-3721. doi: 10.1021/ol4015865
26. Zhou F, Shen Q, Claret FX. Novel Roles of Reactive Oxygen Species in the Pathogenesis of Acute Myeloid Leukemia. J Leukoc Biol. 2013; 94(3): 423-429. doi: 10.1189/jlb.0113006
27. Ding C, Zhang Y, Chen H, et al. Oridonin Ring A-Based Diverse Constructions of Enone Functionality: Identification of Novel Dienone Analogues Effective for Highly Aggressive Breast Cancer by Inducing Apoptosis. J Med Chem. 2013; 56(21): 8814-8825. doi: 10.1021/jm401248x
28. Tu H, Sun H, Lin Y, et al. Oxidative Stress Upregulates PDCD4 Expression in Patients with Gastric Cancer via miR-21. Curr Pharm Des. 2014; 20(11): 1917-1923. doi: 10.2174/13816128113199990547
29. Zhou Q, Facciponte J, Jin M, Shen Q, Lin Q. Humanized NOD-SCID IL2rg-/- Mice as a Preclinical Model for Cancer Research and Its Potential Use for Individualized Cancer Therapies. Cancer Lett. 2014; 344(1): 13-19. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2013.10.015
30. Chen H, Yang Z, Ding C, et al. Discovery of potent anticancer agent HJC0416, an orally bioavailable small molecule inhibitor of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3). Eur J Med Chem. 2014; 82: 195-203. 31. Ye N, Ding Y, Wild C, Shen Q, Zhou J. Small Molecule Inhibitors Targeting Activator Protein 1 (AP-1). J Med Chem. 2014; 57(16): 6930-6948.
32. Ding C, Wang L, Chen H, et al. ent-Kaurane-based regio- and stereoselective inverse electron demand hetero-Diels-Alder reactions: synthesis of dihydropyran-fused diterpenoids. Org Biomol Chem. 2014; 12(42): 8442-8452. doi: 10.1039/c4ob01040j.
33. Yin T, Shi P, Gou S, Shen Q, Wang C. Dendritic Cells Loaded with Pancreatic Cancer Stem Cells (CSCs) Lysates Induce Antitumor Immune Killing Effect in Vitro. PLoS One. 2014; 9(12): e114581. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0114581
34. Tang S, Wang X, Shen Q, et al. Mitochondrial Ca² uniporter is critical for store-operated Ca² entry-dependent breast cancer cell migration. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2015; 458(1): 186-193. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2015.01.092
35. Sun S, Zhou X, Huang Y, et al. Targeting STAT3/miR-21 Axis Inhibits Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition via Regulating CDK5 in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Molecular Cancer. 2015; 14(1): 213. doi: 10.1186/s12943-015-0487-x