Paola A. Gehrig, MD, is a UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center member and Professor and Director of UNC Gynecologic Oncology within the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Area of interest
My clinical interests include gynecologic oncology, surgery in gynecologic malignancies, and complicated gynecologic surgery.
My research interests include a range of clinical/translational research focused on women's cancers.
1 Uterine Serous Carcinoma: Describing the clinical behavior of this uncommon endometrial cancer variant. I have published several papers which describe the aggressive nature of this endometrial cancer variant and in retrospective fashion have shown a potential link to women with a history of breast cancer. Have developed a divisional chemotherapy and radiation protocol for women with this disease and have been able to show a significant improvement in progression free survival for the women on our protocol.
2 Endometrial carcinoma: Many endometrial carcinomas develop through progressive premalignant and malignant stages, however the temporal mechanistic relationship between the common abnormalities is not currently known. However, since 40-76% of endometrial cancers develop an alteration in PTEN gene function, we are provided with the opportunity to potentially impact the cell cycle and cellular proliferation in endometrial cancer by targeting this common mutation. Downstream from PTEN lies mTOR, mammalian target of rapamycin, which can modulate translation and cellular growth. Rapamycin, an antibiotic, inhibits cell growth by binding mTOR thus inactivating it. We have previously demonstrated that rapamycin, both in cell lines and in tumors extracted from women with endometrial carcinoma causes cellular growth arrest. We propose to further investigate the effects of rapamycin in vitro and in vivo and to better describe the mechanistic relationships involved in endometrial carcinogenesis. This investigation is targeted at the development of novel treatment strategies guided by molecular knowledge.
3 Biomarkers in endometrial carcinoma: I am also interested in evaluating biomarkers that may help provide prognostic information for women with endometrial cancer. I have previously described the prognostic significance of estrogen and progesterone receptor status in women with stage I endometrioid adenocarcinoma and am interested in expanding our understanding of this histologic variant as well as the serous papillary variant.
Awards and Honors
• 2003 Lineberger Clinical Cancer Center Translational Award recipient
• 2003 APGO Excellence in Teaching Award
• 2002 Univeristy of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Junior Faculty Development Award