Philip Tofilon, Ph.D.

Senior Investigator

Radiation Oncology Branch


Building 10, Room B3B69B
Bethesda, MD 20892


Research Topics

Dr. Tofilon's research is aimed at understanding the molecular determinants of cellular radiosensitivity with the ultimate goal of developing target-based radiosensitizing agents.

An ongoing project involves radiation-induced gene expression, which has been generally considered to be the result of modifications in transcription. However, our recent studies revealed that radiation induces changes in gene expression not by modulating transcription, but through regulating the translation of existing mRNAs. Studies are presently aimed at understanding the mechanisms mediating the radiation-induced translational control of gene expression and whether this process provides a source of targets for tumor specific radiosensitization.

An additional project focuses on the radiobiology of glioblastomas (GBMs) specifically addressing the influence of the brain microenvironment. These studies involve the use of GBM stem-like cells isolated from human surgical specimens grown in vitro and as intracranial xenografts.


Dr. Tofilon received his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois in 1977. He began his graduate training at UCSF in pharmacology and then moved with his thesis advisor to the University of Nebraska Medical Center where he received his Ph.D. in 1981. Dr. Tofilon returned to UCSF as a postdoctoral fellow in the Brain Tumor Research Center where he began to focus his research on radiobiology. In 1984, he joined the Department of Experimental Radiation Oncology at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center as an assistant professor and was promoted to professor in 1996 with a joint appointment as professor in the Department of Neurosurgery. In June of 2001, Dr. Tofilon relocated to NCI as chief of the newly created Molecular Radiation Therapeutics Branch, RRP, DCTD. In May of 2006 he accepted a position as Professor/Member in the Drug Discovery Department, Moffitt Cancer Center. Finally, in January 2011 he returned to NCI as an investigator in the Radiation Oncology Branch.

Selected Publications

  1. Lü X, de la Peña L, Barker C, Camphausen K, Tofilon PJ. Radiation-induced changes in gene expression involve recruitment of existing messenger RNAs to and away from polysomes. Cancer Res. 2006;66(2):1052-61.
  2. Jamal M, Rath BH, Williams ES, Camphausen K, Tofilon PJ. Microenvironmental regulation of glioblastoma radioresponse. Clin Cancer Res. 2010;16(24):6049-59.
  3. Hayman TJ, Williams ES, Jamal M, Shankavaram UT, Camphausen K, Tofilon PJ. Translation initiation factor eIF4E is a target for tumor cell radiosensitization. Cancer Res. 2012;72(9):2362-72.
  4. Rath BH, Fair JM, Jamal M, Camphausen K, Tofilon PJ. Astrocytes enhance the invasion potential of glioblastoma stem-like cells. PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e54752.
  5. Hayman TJ, Wahba A, Rath BH, Bae H, Kramp T, Shankavaram UT, Camphausen K, Tofilon PJ. The ATP-competitive mTOR inhibitor INK128 enhances in vitro and in vivo radiosensitivity of pancreatic carcinoma cells. Clin Cancer Res. 2014;20(1):110-9.

Related Scientific Focus Areas

This page was last updated on Friday, April 21, 2023