Xin Lu John M. and Mary Jo Boler Assistant Professor

Molecular Understanding and Immunotherapy of Metastatic Cancer
Xin Lu

Research Interests:

Understanding and targeting the tumor microenvironment is at the forefront of current basic and translational cancer research. Targeting tumor microenvironment is closely related to tumor immunology and immunotherapy, one of the most exciting and rapidly evolving areas of cancer research. An intense focus of research in our lab is to investigate the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the cancer ─ tumor microenvironment crosstalk, in particular interactions between cancer cells and the myeloid compartment, in both primary tumors and metastases to bone and other organs. We hypothesize that the efficacy of immune checkpoint blockade drugs (e.g. anti-CTLA4, anti-PD1 antibodies) on refractory metastatic cancer can be potently enhanced when combined with other therapy modalities, including targeted therapy that specifically antagonize immunosuppressive activities yet preserve T cell functions in the tumor microenvironment.

We are equally interested in the most prevalent cancer types that men and women suffer from (prostate cancer and breast cancer), as well as rare cancer types such as penile cancer and Von Hippel-Lindau syndrome (VHL). As part of the Center for Rare and Neglected Diseases (CRND), our mission is to understand and eliminate cancer as a disease in the near future through bench-to-bedside translational research and partnership with drug discovery powerhouses. To achieve this goal, we use integrated approaches centered at cancer genome mining and validation as well as sophisticated inducible transgenic mouse modeling.



  • Cluster Chair, Cellular & Molecular Biology Cluster, Integrated Biomedical Sciences PhD Program, University of Notre Dame, 2019-present
  • Full member, Harper Cancer Research Institute, University of Notre Dame, 2017-present   
  • Junior Chair, Boler-Parseghian Center for Rare and Neglected Diseases, University of Notre Dame, 2017-present 
  • Member, Chemistry-BIochemistry-Biology Interface Program, University of Notre Dame, 2019-present
  • Associate Member, Tumor Microenvironment and Metastasis Program, Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center 2017-Present
  • John M. and Mary Jo Boler Assistant Professor, University of Notre Dame, IN 2017-Present
  • Instructor, Department of Cancer Biology, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 2014-2016
  • HHMI/Jane Coffin Childs Postdoctoral Fellow. Department of Cancer Biology, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 2011-2014
  • HHMI/Jane Coffin Childs Postdoctoral Fellow. Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 2010-2011
  • Ph.D. (Molecular Biology), Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 2004-2010
  • B.S. (Biological Sciences), Tsinghua University, Beijing, China 2000-2004


Recent Papers:

  • Cheng X, Jin Z, Ji X, Shen X, Feng H, Morgenlander W, Ou B, Wu H, Gao H, Ye F, Zhang Y, Peng Y, Liang J, Jiang Y, Zhang T, Qiu W, Lu X#, Zhao R#. ETS variant 5 promotes colorectal cancer angiogenesis by targeting platelet-derived growth factor BB. Int J Cancer. 2019 Jul 1;145(1):179-191. doi: 10.1002/ijc.32071. Epub 2019 Jan 28. PubMed PMID: 30650178.
  • Feng S, Wen X, Lu X#. Nitropeptide Profiling and Identification Illustrated by Angiotensin II. J Vis Exp. 2019 Jun 16;(148). doi: 10.3791/59391. PubMed PMID: 31259896.
  • Zhang L, Shen H, Gong Y, Pang X, Yi M, Guo L, Li J, Arroyo S, Lu X, Ovchinnikov S, Cheng G, Liu X, Jiang X, Feng S, Deng H. Development of a dual-functional conjugate of antigenic peptide and Fc-III mimetics (DCAF) for targeted antibody blocking. Chem Sci. 2019 Mar 21;10(11):3271-3280. doi: 10.1039/c8sc05273e. eCollection 2019 Mar 21. PubMed PMID: 30996912; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6429600.
  • Feng S, Cheng X, Zhang L, Lu X, Chaudhary S, Teng R, Frederickson C, Champion MM, Zhao R, Cheng L, Gong Y, Deng H, Lu X. Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells Inhibit T Cell Activation through Nitrating LCK in Mouse Cancers. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 2018; 115(40):10094-10099. [PMID: 30232256]
  • Lu X*, Pan X*, Wu CJ, Zhao D, Feng S, Zang Y, Lee R, Khadka S, Amin SB, Jin EJ, Shang X, Deng P, Luo Y, Morgenlander WR, Weinrich J, Lu X, Jiang S, Chang Q, Navone NM, Troncoso P, DePinho RA, Wang YA. An In Vivo Screen Identifies PYGO2 as a Driver for Metastatic Prostate Cancer. Cancer Research. 2018; 78(14):3823-3833. [PMID: 29769196]
  • Lu X, Jin E, Cheng X, Feng S, Shang X, Deng P, Jiang S, Chang Q, Rahmy S, Chaudhary S, Lu Xuemin, Wang YA, DePinho RA. Opposing Roles of TGFβ and BMP Signaling in Prostate Cancer Development. Genes & Development. 2017; 31(23-24):2337-2342.  
  • Lu X, Horner JW, Paul E, Shang X, Troncoso P, Deng P, Jiang S, Chang Q, Varma A, Han JW, Spring DJ, Sharma P, Zebala JA, Maeda DY, Wang YA, and DePinho RA. Effective Combinatorial Immunotherapy for Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer. Nature. 2017; 543:728-732.
  • Zhao D, Lu X, Wang G, Lan Z, Liao W, Li J, Liang X, Chen JR, Shah S, Shang X, Tang M, Deng P, Dey P, Chakravarti D, Chen P, Spring DJ, Navone NM, Troncoso P, Zhang J, Wang YA, DePinho RA. Synthetic essentiality of chromatin remodelling factor CHD1 in PTEN-deficient cancer. Nature. 2017;542:484-488.
  • Hu B, Wang Q, Wang YA, Hua S, Sauvé CG, Ong D, Lan ZD, Chang Q, Ho YW, Monasterio MM, Lu X, Zhong Y, Zhang J, Deng P, Tan Z, Wang G, Liao WT, Corley LJ, Yan H, Zhang J, You Y, Liu N, Cai L, Finocchiaro G, Phillips JJ, Berger MS, Spring DJ, Hu J, Sulman EP, Fuller GN, Chin L, Verhaak RG, DePinho RA. Epigenetic Activation of WNT5A Drives Glioblastoma Stem Cell Differentiation and Invasive Growth. Cell. 2016; 167(5):1281-1295
  • Wang G*, Lu X*, Dey P, Deng P, Wu C, Jiang S, Fang Z, Zhao K, Konaparthi R, Hua S, Zhang J, Tapia E,Kapoor A, Wu C, Patel N, Guo Z, Ramamoorthy V, Tieu T, Heffernan T, Zhao D, Shang X, Khadka S, Hou P, Hu B, Jin E, Yao W, Pan X, Ding Z, Shi Y, Li L, Chang Q, Troncoso P, Logothetis C, McArthur M, Chin L, Wang YA, DePinho RA. Targeting YAP-dependent MDSC infiltration impairs tumor progression. Cancer Discovery. 2016 Jan;6(1):80-95. (*Co-first authors with equal contribution)
  • Wan L, Lu X, Yuan S, Wei Y, Guo F, Shen M, Yuan M, Chakrabarti R, Hua Y, Smith HA, Blanco MA, Chekmareva M, Wu H, Bronson RT, Haffty BG, Xin Y, Kang Y. MTDH-SND1 Interaction Is Crucial for Expansion and Activity of Tumor-Initiating Cells in Diverse Oncogene- and Carcinogen-Induced Mammary Tumors. Cancer Cell. 2014: 26(1):92-105
  • Lu X*, Agasti S*, Vinegoni C, Waterman P, DePinho RA, Weissleder R. Optochemogenetics (OCG) allows more precise control of genetic engineering in mice with CreER regulators. Bioconjugate Chemistry. 2012: 23(9):1945-51. (*Co-first author)
  • Ding Z, Wu CJ, Jaskelioff M, Ivanova E, Kost-Alimova M, Protopopov A, Chu GC, Wang G, Lu X, Labrot ES, Hu J, Wang W, Xiao Y, Zhang H, Zhang J, Zhang J, Gan B, Perry SR, Jiang S, Li L, Horner JW, Wang YA, Chin L, DePinho RA. Telomerase reactivation following telomere dysfunction yields murine prostate tumors with bone metastases. Cell. 2012; 148:896-907.
  • Lu X, Mu E, Wei Y, Riethdorf S, Yang Q, Yuan M, Yan J, Hua Y, Tiede B, Lu X, Haffty B, Pantel K, Massagué J, and Kang Y. VCAM-1 promotes osteolytic expansion of indolent bone micrometastasis of breast cancer by engaging α4β1-positive osteoclast progenitors. Cancer Cell. 2011; 20:701-714. (Featured Article)