Tomoo Iwakuma, MD, PhD

Associate Professor
Adjunct faculty, Department of Molecular & Integrative Physiology
M.D.: 1991, Kyushu University
Ph.D.: 1997, Kyushu University
Postdoctoral: 1997-2005, University of Florida, MD Anderson Cancer Center
Assistant Professor: 2005-2011, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center

Dr. Iwakuma's primary research focuses on the field of Cancer Research, specifically on cancer progression in bone and soft tissue sarcoma. Over 50% of human cancer has mutations in the tumor suppressor p53 which regulates cell cycle progression, cell death, senescence, chromosome integrity, DNA repair, and metastasis. Therefore, understanding of the pathway involved in the regulation of p53 is essential for discovering novel cancer therapies. With special focus on the tumor suppressor p53 pathway, Dr. Iwakuma dissects the mechanism of cancer progression using genetically engineered mice, as well as tumor transplantation models, and applies disease models to translational research, to ultimately cure cancer.

Lab Members

Iwakuma lab Atul Iwakuma lab

Alejandro Parrales, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow

Atul Ranjan, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow


Swathi Iyer
Postdoctoral Fellow










Selected Publications (Bold = trainee)

1. Lang GA*, Iwakuma T*, Suh A-Y, Liu G, Rao VA, Parant JM, Valentin-Vega YA, Terzian T, Caldwell LC, Strong LC, El-Naggar AK, Lozano G. Gain of Function of a p53 hot spot mutation in a mouse model of Li-Fraumeni syndrome. Cell 2004, 119 (6): 861-872. *These two authors contributed.
2. Iwakuma T#, Tochigi Y, Van Pelt CS, Caldwell LC, Terzian T, Parant JM, Chau GP, Koch J, Eischen CM, Lozano G#. Mtbp haploinsufficiency in mice increases tumor metastasis. Oncogene 2008, 27(13):1813-1820. PMID: 17906694.
3. Terzian T, Suh Y-A, Iwakuma T, Post SM, Neumann M, Lang GA, Van Pelt CS, Lozano G. The inherent instability of mutant p53 is alleviated by Mdm2 or p16INK4a loss. Genes & Development 2008, 22(10): 1337-1344. PMID: 18483220. PMCID: PMC2377188.
4. Adhikari AS, Iwakuma T#. Mutant p53 gain of oncogenic function: in vivo evidence, mechanism of action and its clinical implications. Fukuoka Igaku Zasshi. 2009, 100(6): 217-228. PMID: 19670804.
5. Adhikari AS, Agarwal N, Wood BM, Constance P, Pochampally RR, and Iwakuma T#. CD117 and Stro-1 identify osteosarcoma tumor-initiating cells associated with metastasis and drug resistance. Cancer Research 2010, 70(11): 4602-4612. PMID: 20460510.
6. Post SM, Quintás-Cardama A, Pant V, Iwakuma T, Hamir A, Jackson JG, Maccio DR, Bond GL, Johnson DG, Levine AJ, Lozano G. A High-Frequency Regulatory Polymorphism in the p53 Pathway Accelerates Tumor Development. Cancer Cell 2010, Sep 14;18(3):220-230. PMID: 20832750, PMCID: PMC2944041.                                             
7. Adhikari AS, Agarwal N, and Iwakuma T#. Metastatic potential of Tumor-Initiating Cells in Solid Tumors. Frontiers in Bioscience 2011, Jan 1;16:1927-1938. PMID: 21196274.
8. Agarwal N, Tochigi Y, Adhikari AS, Cui S, Cui Y, and Iwakuma T#. MTBP plays a crucial role in mitotic progression and chromosome segregation. Cell Death & Differentiation. 2011, 18, 1208-1219; doi:10.1038/cdd.2010.189; PMID: 21274008.
9. Zhao R, Yeung SCJ, Chen J, Iwakuma T, Su CH, Chen B, Qu C, Zhang F, Chen YT, Lin YL, Lee DF, Jin F, Zhu R, Shaikenov T, Sarbassov S, Sahin A, Wang H, Wang H, Lai CC, Tsai FJ, Lozano G, and Lee MH, COP9 signalosome subunit 6 promotes tumorigenesis through stabilization of MDM2. J. Clin. Invest. 2011, 121(3):851-865. PMID: 21317535, PMCID: PMC3049400.
10. Pant V, Xiong S, Iwakuma T, Quintas-Cardama A, and Lozano G. Mdm2-Mdm4 heterodimerization is critical for regulating p53 activity during embryogenesis but dispensable for p53 and Mdm2 stability. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 2011, 108(29):11995-2000. PMID: 21730132, PMCID: PMC3141986.
11. Agarwal N, Adhikari AS, Iyer SV, Hekmatdoost K, Welch DR, and Iwakuma T#. MTBP suppresses cell migration and filopodia formation by inhibiting ACTN4. Oncogene, 2012, doi: 10.1038/onc.2012.69. PMID:22370640.
12. Iwakuma T# and Agarwal N. MDM2 Binding Protein, a novel metastasis suppressor, Cancer Metastasis Review, 2012, Dec;31(3-4):633-40. doi: 10.1007/s10555-012-9364-x, PMID: 22684342.

Last modified: Sep 01, 2016

Tomoo Iwakuma, MD, PhD


Tomoo Iwakuma, MD, PhD
Associate Professor
Adjunct faculty, Department of Molecular & Integrative Physiology

2005 Wahl East, Mailstop 1027
3901 Rainbow Boulevard
Kansas City, KS 66160

P: (913) 588-7412