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Kathryn A. Mason, M.Sc.

Present Title & Affiliation

Primary Appointment

Professor, Department of Experimental Radiation Oncology, Division of Radiation Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX

Research Interests

Radiation therapy has traditionally been the treatment of choice for locally advanced disease but has provided limited benefits both in terms of local tumor control and patient survival. Adding cytotoxic drugs to radiotherapy considerably improved treatment outcome, primarily when drugs were given concurrently with radiotherapy. This was achieved at the expense of increased normal tissue toxicity and morbidity. Further improvements in radiotherapy are needed, and recent emphasis is on molecular targeting, i.e. adding agents that counteract molecular processes dysregulated in cancer cells, which may be responsible for tumor radio-or chemoresistance. Many potential targets for augmentation of radio (or chemo) response have been identified including epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) enzyme, mutated and angiogenic molecules, and inhibitors of DNA damage repair among many others. Agents that selectively inhibit these molecules are becoming available at a rapid rate, and many of them have been shown in our preclinical testing program to be highly effective in improving tumor radioresponse or chemoresponse, without significantly affecting normal tissues. The interaction of EGFR and COX-2 inhibitors with radiation has recently attracted the most investigational interest. Both EGFR and COX-2 inhibitors have entered clinical testing at MDACC and elsewhere in combination with radiotherapy or radiochemotherapy with results that have significantly changed the standard of care for patients with tumors of the upper aerodigestive tract.

Education & Training

Degree-Granting Education

1976 Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX, MSc, Biology
1969 Texas A & M University, College Station, TX, BS, Animal Science


Academic Appointments

Associate Professor, Department of Experimental Radiation Oncology, Division of Radiation Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, 2003-2011

Honors and Awards

2010-2013 Multi-Year Award, University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
2010 Distinguished Service Award, Radiation Research Society
2007-2010 Multi-Year Award, University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
2006 Special Excellence in Mentoring Award, Philadelphia, PA, Radiation Research Society
2004-2007 Multi-Year Award, University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

Professional Memberships

American Association for Cancer Research, Philadelphia, PA
Member, 2011 Program Committee, 2010-2011
Radiation Research Society (RRS)
Secretary Treasurer, 2002-2005

Selected Publications

Peer-Reviewed Original Research Articles

1. Williams JP, Brown SL, Georges G, Huser AK, Hill RP, Hauer-Jensen M, Kirsch DG, Mason KA, MacVittie TJ, Medhora MM, Moulder JE, Okunieff PO, Otterson MF, Robbins ME, Smathers JB, McBride WH. Animal Models for Medical Countermeasures: a CMCR Workshop Report. Radiation Research 173(5):557-578, 2010.
2. Mason KA, Valdecanas D, Hunter NR, Milas L. INO-1001, a novel inhibitor of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase, enhances tumor response to doxorubicin. Invest New Drugs 26(1):1-5, 2008. PMID: 17628743.
3. Wiedenmann N, Valdecanas D, Hunter N, Hyde S, Buchholz TA, Milas L, Mason KA. 130-nm albumin-bound paclitaxel enhances tumor radiocurability and therapeutic gain. Clin Cancer Res 13(6):1868-74, 2007. PMID: 17363543.
4. Liao Z, Mason KA, Milas L. Cyclo-Oxygenase-2 and its inhibition in cancer. Is there a Role? Drugs 67(6):821-845, 2007. PMID: 17428102.
5. Liao Z, Mason KA, Milas L. Cyclooxygenase-2 overexpression and the chemopreventive and therapeutic uses of cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors in lung cancer. Current Research on Cancer 1(2/3):251-278, 2007.
6. Milas L, Fang FM, Mason KA, Valdecanas D, Hunter N, Koto M, Ang KK. Importance of maintenance therapy in C225-induced enhancement of tumor control by fractionated radiation. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 67(2):568-572, 2007. PMID: 17236972.
7. Wiedenmann N, Koto M, Raju U, Milas L, Mason KA. Modulation of tumor radiation response with G3139, a bcl-2 antisense oligonucleotide. Invest New Drugs 25(5):411-416, 2007. PMID: 17492397.
8. Mason KA, Gillin MT, Mohan R, Cox JD. Preclinical biologic assessment of proton beam relative biologic effectiveness at Proton Therapy Center Houston. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 68(4):968-970, 2007. PMID: 17512131.
9. Mason KA, Neal R, Hunter N, Ariga H, Ang K, Milas L. CpG oligodeoxynucleotides are potent enhancers of radio- and chemoresponses of murine tumors. Radiother Oncol 80:192-198, 2006. PMID: 16905212.
10. Raju U, Ariga H, Koto M, Lu X, Pickett J, Valdecanas D, Mason KA, Milas L. Improvement of esophageal adenocarcinoma cell and xenograft responses to radiation by targeting cyclin-dependent kinases. Radiother Oncol 80(2):185-191, 2006. PMID: 16905211.
11. Mason KA. Radiation interactions with taxanes, old and new. Radiat Res 163(6):705-6, 2005. PMID: 16044506.
12. Mason KA, Ariga H, Neal R, Valdecanas D, Hunter N, Krieg AM, Whisnant JK, Milas L. Targeting toll-like receptor 9 with CpG oligodeoxynucleotides enhances tumor response to fractionated radiotherapy. Clin Cancer Res 11(1):361-9, 2005. PMID: 15671567.
13. Nakata E, Hunter N, Mason K, Fan Z, Ang KK, Milas L. C225 antiepidermal growth factor receptor antibody enhances the efficacy of docetaxel chemoradiotherapy. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 59:1163-73, 2004. PMID: 15234052.
14. Milas L, Mason KA, Ariga H, Hunter N, Neal R, Valdecanas D, Krieg AM, Whisnant JK. CpG oligodeoxynucleotide enhances tumor response to radiation. Cancer Res 64(15):5074-7, 2004. PMID: 15289307.
15. Andratschke NH, Dittmann KH, Mason KA, Fan Z, Liao Z, Komaki R, Ang KK, Milas L. Epidermal growth factor receptor as a target to improve treatment of lung cancer. Clin Lung Cancer 5(6):340-52, 2004. PMID: 15217533.
16. Mason KA, Hunter NR, Raju U, Ariga H, Husain A, Valdecanas D, Neal R, Ang KK, Milas L. Flavopiridol increases therapeutic ratio of radiotherapy by preferentially enhancing tumor radioresponse. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 59(4):1181-9, 2004. PMID: 15234054.
17. Nakata E, Mason KA, Hunter N, Husain A, Raju U, Liao Z, Ang KK, Milas L. Potentiation of tumor response to radiation or chemoradiation by selective cyclooxygenase-2 enzyme inhibitors. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 58(2):369-75, 2004. PMID: 14751505.
18. Brock WA, Milas L, Bergh S, Lo R, Szabó C, Mason KA. Radiosensitization of human and rodent cell lines by INO-1001, a novel inhibitor of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase. Cancer Lett 205(2):155-60, 2004. PMID: 15036647.
19. Mason K, Staab A, Hunter N, McBride W, Petersen S, Terry N, Milas L. Enhancement of tumor radioresponse by docetaxel: Involvement of immune system. Int J Oncol 18(3):599-606, 3/2001. PMID: 11179493.

Invited Articles

1. Thariat J, Yildirim G, Mason KA, Garden AS, Milas L, Ang KK. Combination of Radiotherapy with EGFR Antagonists for Head and Neck Carcinoma. Int J Clin Oncol 12(2):99-110, 2007. PMID: 17443277.

Grant & Contract Support

Title: Extension of Radiotherapy Research-Core A: General Laboratory Support Facilities
Funding Source: NIH/NCI
Role: Co-Core Leader
Principal Investigator: Ang
Duration: 6/1/2008 - 5/31/2010
Title: AMENDMENT TO: LS2007-19055; FOXO Expression to improve in vitro cellular response to therapy
Funding Source: Otsuka of America Pharmaceutical
Role: Principal Investigator
Duration: 5/1/2008 - 12/31/2009
Title: In Vivo Preclinical Studies 2 (Sub Proj)
Funding Source: Merck and Company Sub Project
Role: Principal Investigator
Duration: 10/10/2007 - 12/31/2010
Title: Modulation and mitigation of radiation damage with Talactoferrin (TLF)
Funding Source: Agennix, Inc.
Role: Principal Investigator
Duration: 6/23/2006 - 6/30/2007

Last updated: 6/16/2015