Experimental Oncology

YangXin Fu

Associate Professor
Experimental Oncology
Department of Oncology
University of Alberta
5-142M Katz Group Centre
114 Street & 87 Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2E1
Tel: 780.248.1363


The objective of the Fu laboratory is to better understand the molecular mechanisms underlying ovarian tumorigenesis, with a particular interest in the role of Notch signaling pathway in ovarian cancer development and progression.

Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer deaths in women and the leading cause of gynecologic cancer-related death. The high mortality is due to the lack of effective methods for early detection of ovarian cancer. Despite advances in surgical techniques and chemotherapy regimens, relapse will occur in patients with advanced ovarian cancer. Patients become less responsive to chemotherapy with each subsequent relapse due to the development of drug resistance. Thus there is an urgent need to understand the molecular pathogenesis for this heterogeneous disease and to identify potential signaling pathways as therapeutic targets.
Notch signaling determines cell fate by regulating multiple processes such as differentiation, proliferation and apoptosis. Notch signaling pathway has been associated with human cancers and proposed as potential therapeutic target for several types of cancer. We will utilize tissue culture, molecular and cell biology approaches as well as mouse models to investigate whether activation of Notch signaling plays a role in ovarian cancer development and progression, and to identify the underlying molecular mechanisms.
The undergoing projects include 1) determining the role of Notch activation in ovarian cancer using in vitro and in vivo models, 2) identifying downstream effectors of Notch signaling in ovarian cancer cells, and 3) studying how Notch interacts with other signaling pathways in ovarian cancer. We hope that our research can lead to a better treatment for ovarian cancer in the future.  


Jiesi Zhou, Saket Jain, Abul K Azad, Xia Xu, Hai chuan Yu, Zhihua Xu, Roseline Godbout, YangXin Fu*. Notch and TGFβ form a positive regulatory loop and regulate EMT in epithelial ovarian cancer cells, Cellular Siganlling, 28(8):838-49, 2016 (*corresponding author)
Ahmed El-Sehemy, Lynne-Marie Postovit, YangXin Fu*, Nitric oxide signaling in human ovarian cancer: a potential therapeutic target, Nitric Oxide, 54, 30-37, 2016 (*corresponding author)
Samir Barghout, Nubia Zepeda, Zhihua Xu, Helen Steed, Cheng-Han Lee, YangXin Fu*, Elevated β-catenin activity contributes to carboplatin resistance in A2780cp ovarian cancer cells, Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 468, 173-178, 2015 (*corresponding author)
Samir Barghout, Nubia Zepeda, Krista Vincent, Abul Kalam Azad, Zhihua Xu, Christine Yang, Helen Steed, Lynne Postovit, YangXin Fu*, RUNX3 contributes to the chemoresistance of epithelial ovarian cancer cells, Gynecologic Oncology, 138(3), 647-655, 2015 (*corresponding author)
Jennifer L. Ali, Brittany J. Lagasse, Ainsley J. Minuk, Allison J. Love, Gilbert Arthur, Spencer B. Gibson, Ludivine Coudière Morrison, Tamra E. Werbowetski-Ogilvie, YangXin Fu, Mark W. Nachtigal, Differential cellular responses induced by dorsomorphin and LDN-193189 in chemotherapy-sensitive and –resistant human epithelial ovarian cancer cells, International Journal of Cancer, 136(5):E455-69, 2015. 
Abul Kalam Azad, Subhadeep Chakrabarti, Zhihua Xu, Sandra T. Davidge, YangXin Fu*, Coiled-coil domain containing 3 (CCDC3) represses tumor necrosis factor-α/nuclear factor κB-induced endothelial inflammation, Cellular Signalling 26(12): 2793-2800, 2014. (*corresponding author)
"Tiffany J. Tzeng, Lei Cao, YangXin Fu, Huawei Zeng, Wen-Hsing Cheng, Methylseleninic Acid Sensitizes Notch3-Activated OVCA429 Ovarian Cancer Cells to Carboplatin, PLoS ONE 9(7): e101664, 2014. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0101664"
Ahmed El-Sehemy, Alex Chang, Abul Kalam Azad, Nidhi Gupta, Zhihua Xu, Helen Steed, Aly Karsan, YangXin Fu*, Notch activation augments nitric oxide/soluble guanylyl cyclase signaling in immortalized ovarian surface epithelial cells and ovarian cancer cells, Cellular Signalling 25(12):2780-2787, 2013. (*corresponding author)
Laleh Alisaraie, YangXin Fu, Jack. A Tuszynski, Dynamic Change of Heme Environment in Soluble Guanylate Cyclase and Complexation of NO-Independent Drug Agents with H-NOX Domain, Chemical Biology & Drug Design, 81, 359–381, 2013.
Nidhi Gupta, Zhihua Xu, Ahmed El-Sehemy, Helen Steed, YangXin Fu*, Notch3 induces epithelial-mesenchymal transition and attenuates carboplatin-induced apoptosis in ovarian cancer cells, Gynecologic Oncology, 130(1), 200-206, 2013. (*corresponding author)
Alex C.Y. Chang, YangXin Fu, Victoria C. Garside, Kyle Niessen, Linda Chang, Megan Fuller, Audi Setiadi, Justin Smrz, Alastair Kyle, Andrew Minchinton, Marco Marra, Pamela A. Hoodless, and Aly Karsan, Notch Initiates the Endothelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition in the Atrioventricular Canal through Autocrine Activation of Soluble Guanylyl Cyclase, Developmental Cell, 21(2):288-300, 2011
YangXin Fu, Alex Chia YU Chang, Michele Fournier, Linda Chang, Kyle Niessen and Aly Karsan, Runx3 maintains the mesenchymal phenotype after termination of the Notch signal, Journal of Biological Chemistry, 286, 11803-13, 2011 (Epub 2011 Feb 2)
Zhihua Xu, Yanyan Jiang, Helen Steed, Sandra Davidge, and YangXin Fu*, TGFβ and EGF synergistically induce a more invasive phenotype of epithelial ovarian cancer cells, Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 401, 371-381, 2010. (*Corresponding author)
YangXin Fu, Alex Chang, Linda Chang, Kyle Niessen, Shawn Eapen, Audi Setiadi, and Aly Karsan, Differential regulation of TGF b signaling pathways by Notch in human endothelial cells. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 284 , 19452-19462, 2009