Basic Medicine, Molecular and Cellular Biology

Anatomic Pathology

Exploring What is Unknown in Steroid-Hormones-Related Tissues and Tumors

Medical Sciences Course

  • Master / Doctoral Degree


SASANO, HironobuSASANO, Hironobu
SASANO, Hironobu

Professor and Chairman. M.D., Ph.D., D.A.B.P

*Concurrent Position

Research Theme

  • Intracrinology of sex steroid dependent neoplasms
  • Analysis of the steroidogenesis in adrenocortical diseases
  • Pathological analysis of neuroendocrine tumor
Research Keywords:

steroids, adrenal cortex, sex steroid dependent tumor, neuroendocrine tumor

Technical Keywords:

immunohistochemistry, RNA microarray, co-culture, LCM

Laboratory Introduction

We have been and are working in the following areas.
1. Intracrinology of estrogen dependent neoplasms: Intracrinology is one of the newly established fields of steroid hormone actions in which precursor steroids are converted to biologically active steroids in their target tissues. This is why estrogen dependent breast cancer can develop and survive with few estradiol in circulation. We are one of the pioneers in establishing this concept. These achievements and on-going research activities are contributing to the establishment of endocrine therapy.
2. Functional pathology of adrenocortical disorders: We were the first one to identify the sites of specific steroidogenesis in human adrenal cortex and its disorders. We have also recently revealed the characterization of aldosterone production and metabolism in the zone glomerulosa of human adrenal and primary aldosteronism, which leads to the novel mode of antihypertensive agents.
3. Pathological analysis of neuroendocrine tumors: We are currently working on molecular pathological and in vitro analysis of human neuroendocrine tumors in order to identify new surrogate markers.
Through these research activities including numerous domestic and international collaborative works, we have published more than 500 original reports in peer-reviewed English journals, since the establishment of our laboratory in 1998.

Figure 1. Intracrinology and Endocrinology. In situ production of steroids in cancer

Figure 1. Intracrinology and Endocrinology. In situ production of steroids in cancer

Figure 2. Adrenal Triple Stain (CYP11B1,CYP11B2,CYP17) with DAPI

Figure 2. Adrenal Triple Stain (CYP11B1,CYP11B2,CYP17) with DAPI

Recent Publications

  • Yamazaki Y, et al. Comparison of the methods for measuring the Ki-67 labeling index in adrenocortical carcinoma: manual versus digital image analysis. Hum Pathol. 2016 Jul;53:41-50.
  • Guestini F, et al. Triple negative breast cancer chemosensitivity and chemoresistance: current advances in biomarkers indentification. Expert Opin Ther Targets. 2016 Jun;20(6):705-20.
  • Kubota-Nakayama F, et al. Expression of steroidogenic enzymes and their transcription factors in cortisol-producing adrenocortical adenomas: immunohistochemical analysis and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction studies. Hum Pathol. 2016 Aug;54:165-73.
  • Iwabuchi E et al. In situ detection of estrogen receptor dimers in breast carcinoma cells in archival materials using proximity ligation assay (PLA). J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2017 Jan;165:159-169.
  • Saito R, et al. Aryl hydrocarbon receptor induced intratumoral aromatase in breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2016 Nov 30. [Epub ahead of print]