Faculty
Oncology Division
Alphabetical list (active faculty):   
Angela C. Hirbe

Angela C. Hirbe, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor

Department of Medicine

Oncology Division

Medical Oncology

Department of Pediatrics

Clinical Interests

  • Sarcoma
  • Cancer predisposition syndromes

Research Interests

  • Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors
  • Neurofibromatosis type 1
  • Genomics

Contact

  • 314-747-3096 (office)
  • 314-362-7086 (fax)
  • Division of Oncology
    Mail Stop 8056-0041-03
    Washington University
    660 South Euclid Avenue
    St. Louis, MO 63110
  • Room 3304, Couch Biomedical Research Building (lab)

Research

As a practicing medical oncologist in our Adolescent Young Adult (AYA) program, I treat sarcomas and cancer predisposition syndromes. My overarching research goals involve utilization of genomic information from sarcomas to better understand the pathogenesis of these rare tumors and to identify biomarkers and therapeutic targets for these aggressive cancers.  The focus of my laboratory is to utilize genomic information from human sarcoma samples to better understand the development and progression of these cancers.  My main interest is in the pathogenesis of malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNST), an aggressive soft tissue sarcoma that arises from a benign precursor plexiform neurofibroma and occurs at an increased frequency in patients with the Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1) tumor predisposition syndrome.  Approximately 13% of individuals with NF1 will develop MPNSTs during young adulthood. Currently there are no predictive markers of progression to cancer and standard imaging is not reliable for distinguishing the benign precursor from MPNST. As such and the vast majority of people are diagnosed late and will die within 5 years of diagnosis. As such, it is critical to develop better diagnostic biomarkers and therapeutic targets for MPNST.  To begin to address this critical problem, we have developed the largest series of deeply characterized patient-derived MPNST xenografts (PDX) which more accurately reflect the genetic heterogeneity seen in the human condition.  Through characterization of this tool, we now have a better understanding of the genomic landscape of MPNST compared to its benign precursor tumor. There are several ongoing projects in the lab evaluating the utility of candidate genes identified in our genomic studies as potential diagnostic biomarkers and therapeutic targets for MPNST.  Additionally, we are currently working to develop a non-invasive blood test to detect circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) sensitively and specifically in order to diagnose MPNST early and distinguish it from its benign precursor. Finally, we remain active in testing novel drugs and combinations in our PDX system.  Ultimately, these studies have the potential to improve diagnosis and treatments for patients with NF1-MPNST.

Laboratory website: https://hirbelab.wustl.edu