David J. VanderWeele, M.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Clinical Investigator

Laboratory of Genitourinary Cancer Pathogenesis


Building 37, Room 1066A
Bethesda, MD 20892-4254



Research Topics

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Western men.  Though the vast majority of men diagnosed with prostate cancer have indolent disease and die of other causes, it is the second leading cause of cancer death in Western men.  Given the morbidity and cost of primary intervention, identifying which men require aggressive treatment remains a key question in the field today.  At the same time, metastatic disease is incurable and causes significant morbidity and mortality.  All conventional cancers initially respond to androgen deprivation therapy, but there is nearly universal development of resistance and progression. 

Our lab is interested in defining and targeting the molecular features that separate organ-confined, curable prostate cancer from metastatic, lethal disease.  A number of labs have contributed to a better understanding of the catalogue of alterations that occur in primary, untreated and end-stage, lethal prostate cancer.  We are using next-generation sequencing techniques to study the heterogeneity and evolution of the disease, from evaluation of localized, multifocal disease to use of circulating tumor cells at later stages.

Based on these data we conduct functional studies using a number of in vitro and in vivo models of prostate cancer.  These studies are designed to evaluate the significance of alterations that appear to be driving prostate cancer progression, and to expose the mechanisms that underly resistance to targeted therapy.


Dr. VanderWeele did his Ph.D. in the laboratory of Charles Rudin at the University of Chicago, where he also received his M.D.  He did his postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Kevin White in the Institute for Genomics and Systems Biology at the University of Chicago before joining the faculty.  In 2015 he came to the Laboratory of Genitourinary Cancer Pathogenesis (LGCP) in the Center for Cancer Research as an Assistant Clinical Investigator.   

Selected Publications

  1. VanderWeele DJ, Brown CD, Taxy JB, Gillard M, Hatcher DM, Tom WR, Stadler WM, White KP. Low-grade prostate cancer diverges early from high grade and metastatic disease. Cancer Sci. 2014;105(8):1079-85.

  2. Reyes EE, VanderWeele DJ, Isikbay M, Duggan R, Campanile A, Stadler WM, Vander Griend DJ, Szmulewitz RZ. Quantitative characterization of androgen receptor protein expression and cellular localization in circulating tumor cells from patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. J Transl Med. 2014;12:313.

  3. Packiam VT, Patel SG, Pariser JJ, Richards KA, Weiner AB, Paner GP, VanderWeele DJ, Zagaja GP, Eggener SE. Contemporary Population-Based Comparison of Localized Ductal Adenocarcinoma and High-Risk Acinar Adenocarcinoma of the Prostate. Urology. 2015;86(4):777-82.

  4. Gillard M, Tom WR, Antic T, Paner GP, Lingen MW, VanderWeele DJ. Next-gen tissue: preservation of molecular and morphological fidelity in prostate tissue. Am J Transl Res. 2015;7(7):1227-35.

This page was last updated on March 16th, 2018