Alexander Y. Nikitin
Professor of Pathology
Alexander Y. Nitkin




Department of Biomedical Sciences
T2 014A Veterinary Research Tower
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853


Web Sites

Department Profile

Lab Website


Alexander Nikitin received his M.D. with Distinction in Internal Medicine from Pavlov First Medical Institute and Ph.D. in Pathology from Petrov Research Institute of Oncology in St. Petersburg, Russia. Following his postdoctoral and junior faculty research at the University of Essen Medical School in Germany and at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio in Texas, he joined Cornell University faculty in 2000. Dr. Nikitin was promoted to Associate Professor of Pathology in 2007. He initiated formation of the Cornell Stem Cell Program and was named its Leader in 2008.

Research Description

The long-term goal of our research is to understand how aberrations in molecular and cellular mechanisms governing tissue homeostasis may lead to cancer initiation and progression. Towards this goal we have established a number of novel autochthonous mouse models of human cancer. By using these models we have demonstrated that the initiating/early genetic alterations and the differentiation status of target cell populations may predetermine advanced cancer traits, such as invasion and metastasis. Our research also uncovered a number of specific molecular mechanisms underlying cancer progression, most notably p53/miR-34/Met axis, which can be used for rational design of diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. Our current research is focused on understanding of the role of stem cell compartments in carcinogenesis and on studies of epithelial ovarian cancer pathogenesis. For more information, please visit our lab home page (

Selected Publications

  • Zhou, Z., Flesken-Nikitin, A., Corney, D. C., Wang, W., Goodrich, D. W., Roy-Burman, P., and Nikitin, A. Yu. (2006). Synergy of p53 and Rb deficiency in a conditional mouse model for metastatic prostate cancer. Cancer Res. 66:7889-7898.
  • Zhou, Z., Flesken-Nikitin, A., and Nikitin, A. Yu. (2007). Prostate cancer associated with p53 and Rb deficiency arises from the stem/progenitor cell-enriched proximal region of prostatic ducts. Cancer Res. 67:5683-5690.
  • Corney, D. C., Flesken-Nikitin, A., Godwin, A. K., Wang, W., and Nikitin, A. Yu. (2007). MicroRNA-34b and -34c are targets of p53 and cooperate in control of cell proliferation and adhesion-independent growth. Cancer Res. 67:8433-8438 (priority report). PMID: 17823410.
  • Corney, D. C., Hwang, C., Matoso, A., Vogt, M., Flesken-Nikitin, A., Godwin, A. K., Kamat, A. A., Sood, A. K., Hermeking, H., , Ellenson, L., H., and Nikitin, A. Yu. (2010). Frequent downregulation of miR-34 family in human ovarian cancers. Clin. Cancer Res. 16: 1119–1128.
  • Cheng, L., Zhou, Z., Flesken-Nikitin, A., Toshkov, I. A., Wang, W., Camps, J., Ried, T., and Nikitin, A. Yu. (2010). Rb inactivation accelerates neoplastic growth and substitutes for recurrent amplification of cIAP1, cIAP2 and Yap1 in sporadic mammary carcinoma associated with p53 deficiency. Oncogene. 29:5700-50711.
  • Choi, J., Curtis, S., Roy, D. M., Flesken-Nikitin, A., and Nikitin, A. Yu. (2010). Local mesenchymal stem/progenitor cells are a preferential target for initiation of adult soft tissue sarcomas associated with p53 and Rb deficiency. Am. J. Pathology. 177:2645-2658.
  • Hwang, C.-I., Matoso, A., Corney, D. C., Flesken-Nikitin, A., Körner, S., Wang, W., Boccaccio, C., Thorgeirsson, S. S., Comoglio, P. M., Hermeking, H., and Nikitin, A. Yu. (2011). Wild-type p53 controls cell motility and invasion by dual regulation of MET expression. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 108:14240-14245.
  • Hwang, C.-I., Choi, J., Zhou, Z., Flesken-Nikitin, A., Tarakhovsky, A., and Nikitin, A. Yu. (2011). MET-dependent cancer invasion may be preprogrammed by early alterations of p53-regulated feedforward loop and triggered by stromal cell-derived HGF. Cell Cycle 10:3834-3840.