Regina M. Santella, PhD


Dr. Regina Santella’s research is focused on the use of biomarkers of exposure and genetic susceptibility to understand risk for cancer development. Her laboratory has developed antibodies and immunoassays to a number of carcinogen-DNA and protein adducts and uses these methods to determine exposure to environmental carcinogens. Other assays have been used to understand genetic susceptibility related to DNA repair capacity. More recently, her laboratory is investigating the use of epigenetic markers, including DNA methylation and microRNA expression, to identify those at increased risk or as early biomarkers of disease.

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • MS, 1971 Organic Chemistry, University of Massachusetts at Amherst
  • PhD, 1976 Biochemistry, City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center


Development of immunologic methods for biological monitoring of human exposure to environmental and occupational carcinogens. These methods allow assessment of risk for cancer development at the individual level.

Selected Publications

Everson RB, Randerath E, Santella RM, Cefalo RC, Avitts TA, and Randerath K.Detection of smoking related covalent DNA adducts in human placenta, Science, 231, 54-57, 1986.

Perera FP, Hemminki K, Grzybowska E, Motykiewicz G, Michalska J, Santella RM, Young TL, Dickey, C, Brandt-Rauf P, DeVivo I, Blaner W, Tsai WY, Chorazy M.Molecular damage from environmental pollution in Poland.Nature 360, 256-158, 1992

Perera F, Mayer J, Jaretzki A, Hearne S, Brenner D, Young TL, Fischman H, Grimes M, Grantham S, Tang MX, Tsai W-Y, Santella RM.Comparison of DNA adducts and sister chromatid exchange in lung cancer cases and controls, Cancer Res., 49, 4446-4451, 1989

Gammon MD, Sagiv SK, Eng SM, Shantakumar S., Gaudet MM, Teitelbaum SL, Britton JA, Terry MB, Wang LW,Qiao Q., Stellman SD, Beyea J, Hatch M, Kabat GC, Wolff MS, Levin B, Neugut AI, and Santella RM. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH)-DNA adducts and breast cancer: a pooled analysis. Arch. Environ. Health 59, 640-649, 2004. PMC4277204

Rossner P, Gammon MD, Terry MB, Agrawal M, Zhang FF, Teitelbaum SL, Eng SM, Gaudet MM,Neugut AI, and Santella RM. Relationship between urinary 15-F2t-isoprostane and 8-oxodeoxyguanosine levels and breast cancer risk.Cancer Epi. Biomarkers & Prevention 15, 639-44, 2006

Cho YH, Shen J, Gammon MD, Zhang YJ, Wang Q, Gonzalez K, Xu X, Bradshaw PT, Teitelbaum SL, Garbowski G, Hibshoosh H, Neugut AI, Chen J, Santella RM.Breast Cancer Res Treat. 131(1):197-205, 2012 PMC3576848

Parada H Jr, Steck SE, Bradshaw PT, Engel LS, Conway K, Teitelbaum SL, Neugut AI, Santella RM, Gammon MD. Grilled, Barbecued, and Smoked Meat Intake and Survival Following Breast Cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2017 Jan 5;109(6). pii: djw299. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djw299.PMID:28052933. PMC5214623.

Wu HC, Wang Q, Yang HI, Ahsan H, Tsai WY, Wang LY, Chen SY, Chen CJ, and Santella RM. Aflatoxin B1 exposure, hepatitis B virus infection and hepatocellular carcinoma in Taiwan. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention 18, 846-853, 2009; PMC3535829

Zhang YJ, Wu H-C, Shen J, Ahsan H, Tsai WY, Yang HI, Wang LY, Chen SY, Chen CJ, and Santella RM. Predicting hepatocellular carcinoma by detection of aberrant promoter methylation in serum DNA. Clinical Cancer Research 13, 2378-2384, 2007.

Wu HC, Wang Q, Yang HI, Tsai WY, Chen CJ, . Global DNA methylation levels in white blood cells as a biomarker for hepatocellular carcinoma risk: a nested case-control study Carcinogenesis. 33, 1340-1345, 2012 PMC3499052

Kennedy, D.O., Agrawal, M., Shen, J., Terry, M.B., Zhang, F.F., Senie, R.T., Motykiewicz, G., and Santella, R.M. DNA repair capacity of lymphoblastoid cell lines from sisters discordant for breast cancer. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 97, 127-132, 2005.

Machella, N., Terry, M.B., Zipprich, J., Gurvich, I., Liao, Y., Senie, R.T., Kennedy, D.O. and Santella, R.M. Double strand breaks repair in lymphoblastoid cell lines from sisters discordant for breast cancer. Carcinogenesis 29, 1367-1372, 2008; PMC2899852