Liang  Cao, Ph.D.

Liang Cao, Ph.D.

  • Center for Cancer Research
  • National Cancer Institute
Genetics Branch


Dr. Cao’s current research is on the investigations of tumor biomarkers and their roles in cancer drug development. He did some early work on homologous recombination and tumor suppressor gene functions, both at Harvard and Harvard Medical School. He was an Associate Professor at the Medical School of University of Hong Kong with a research interest on viral oncogenesis. He also led research and development programs in biotech and biopharmaceutical companies, and is an inventor of more than 30 US patents on therapeutics, diagnostics, and bio-assay technologies. At NCI, he was initially involved in using the NGS technology to investigate the pathogenic mechanism of a fusion oncoprotein of in a childhood sarcoma. More recently, his group is focused on biomarkers for early stage drug development, on novel protein assays for treatment assessment, and on circulating tumor DNA analysis for patient selection and monitoring.

Areas of Expertise

1) biomarkers studies in early drug development 2) development of novel tumor antigen tests and protein biomarker analysis in clinical trials 3) circulating tumor DNA analytical technologies in clinical trials


Selected Recent Publications

Genome-wide Identification of PAX3-FKHR Binding Sites in Rhabdomyosarcoma Reveals Candidate Targets Genes Important for Development and Cancer

Cao L, Yu Y, Bilke S, Walker RL, Mayeenuddin LH, Pineda M, Azorsa DO, Yang F, Helman LJ, Meltzer PS
Cancer Res. 70: 6497-6508, 2010. [ Journal Article ]

Circulating Cell-free DNA for Metastatic Cervical Cancer Detection, Genotyping and Monitoring

Kang Z, Stevanović S, Hinrichs CS, Cao L
Clin Cancer Res. 23: 6856-6862, 2017.

Megakaryocyte potentiating factor as a predictive biomarker for therapies against malignant mesothelioma

Cao L, Yu Y, Thomas A, Zhang J, Onda M, Meltzer P, Hassan R, Pastan I.
J Clin Oncol, Prec Oncol. 2: DOI: 10.1200/PO.17.00220, 2018.

Pathway for Generation and Processing of Double Strand Breaks during Meiotic Recombination in S. cerevisiae

Cao L, Alani E, Kleckner N
Cell. 61: 1089-1101, 1990. [ Journal Article ]

Independent Binding of the Retinoblastoma Protein and p107 to the Transcription Factor E2F

Cao L, Faha B, Dembski M, Tsai LH, Harlow E, Dyson N
Nature. 335: 176-179, 1992.


Postdoctoral Fellow (Contr)
Zhigang Kang, M.D., Ph.D.
Research Biologist
Yunkai Yu, M.S.
Research Biologist
David Petersen, B.A.