Balamurugan Kuppusamy, Ph.D.

Balamurugan Kuppusamy, Ph.D.

  • Center for Cancer Research
  • National Cancer Institute


Dr. Kuppusamy investigates cell signaling pathways involved in breast and glioblastoma tumorigenesis. His recent work discovered that the transcription factor CCAAT/enhancer binding protein delta (CEBPD) can act as a tumor suppressor and in addition also promote metastasis. Mechanistic studies in both mouse and human cells revealed that CEBPD supports adaptation to hypoxia and pro-inflammatory gene expression through suppression of another tumor suppressor called FBXW7. FBXW7 is part of the SCF E3 ubiquitin ligase complex that targets many pro-oncogenic substrates for degradation and was found to also downregulate CEBPD protein. The mutual repression of these two factors may serve to fine-tune the cellular adaptation to hypoxia and inflammatory signaling. BY unraveling the complex signaling pathways involved in metastatic progression of breast cancers, with specific focus on inflammatory and hypoxic tumor microenvironmental conditions, may lead toward the identification of new therapeutic targets.

Areas of Expertise

Hypoxia Signal Transduction
Cancer Stem Cells
Mouse Models
Breast Cancer
CEBPD Transcription Factor
FBXW7 Inflammation


Selected Publications

Hypoxia, partial EMT and collective migration: Emerging culprits in metastasis

K. Saxena, M. K. Jolly*, K. Balamurugan*
Translational Oncol.. 13(11): 100845, 2020.

Slug and E-Cadherin: Stealth Accomplices?

E. Sterneck*, D. K. Poria, and K. Balamurugan*
Front. Mol. Biosci.. 7, Article 138: 1-8, 2020.

C/EBPδ links IL-6 and HIF-1 signaling to promote breast cancer stem cell-associated phenotypes

K. Balamurugan*, D.M.-Villanueva, S. Sharan, G.H. Summers, L.E. Dobrolecki, M.T. Lewis, and E. Sterneck*.
Oncogene. 38(20): 3765-3780, 2019. [ Journal Article ]

HIF-1 at the crossroads of hypoxia, inflammation, and cancer

K. Balamurugan
International J. Cancer. 138(5): 1058-1066, 2016.

FBXW7alpha attenuates inflammatory signalling by downregulating C/EBPD and its target gene Tlr4

K. Balamurugan, S. Sharan, K. Klarmann, Y. Zhang, V. Coppola, T. Roger, D. Morrison, J. Keller, and E. Sterneck
Nature Commun.. 4: 1662, 2013.