Eric R. Fearon, M.D., Ph.D.
Emanuel N. Maisel Professor of Oncology

Professor, Departments of Internal Medicine, Human Genetics and Pathology

Associate Director for Basic Science and Deputy Director,
University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center

Chief, Division of Molecular Medicine & Genetics, Department of Internal Medicine



Lab address:
1628, 1638 BSRB

Research Interests

Molecular analysis of cancer pathogenesis; βeta-catenin-dependent Wnt signaling; transgenic and knockout mouse models of colon cancer; miRNAs and cancer; CDX2 homeobox gene function.

The research in the Fearon laboratory seeks to address the means by which specific oncogene and tumor suppressor gene defects contribute to the pathogenesis of colon and other cancers and to develop novel strategies for early detection and treatment of colorectal adenomas and carcinomas.


1975-1979 Mount Blue High School, Farmington, Maine
1979-1983 The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD; B.A. (Biophysics)
1983-1990 The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; M.D.
1985-1990 The Johns Hopkins University; Ph.D. (Biology/Program in Human Genetics; mentor - Dr. Bert Vogelstein)

Postdoctoral Training

1990-1992 Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Hematology Division, Dept. of Medicine & the Oncology Center (mentor - Dr. Chi Van Dang)

Honors and Awards

1983 Phi Beta Kappa (Johns Hopkins University)
1983 Martin G. Larrabee undergraduate prize for research in biophysics, Johns Hopkins University
1990 Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)
1990 David Israel Macht Prize for Basic Science Research (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)
1990 Wilson S. Stone Award, UT, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
1992-1995  McDonnell Fellow in Molecular Medicine in Cancer Research, James S. McDonnell Fund
1994 Ruppert B. Turnbull Memorial Lectureship, Visiting Professor, Department of Surgery, Jewish Hospital of St. Louis and Washington University School of Medicine
1996 Louis J. Cole Lecture, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto
1997 Co-Organizer, Keystone Syposium on “Genetics of Human Cancer: Pathogenesis and Diagnosis”
1998 American Society for Clinical Investigation
2000 Lynch Lectureship, University of Notre Dame, Department of Biology, Molecular Biosciences Program
2001 Vice Chair, Gordon Research Conference on Cancer (Newport, RI)
2002 Chair, Gordon Research Conference on Cancer (Newport, RI)
2001 Association of American Physicians
2005 Third Annual DSR Sarma Lectureship in Oncologic Pathology, University of Toronto
2007 Johns Hopkins University Society of Fellows
2009 Co-organizer, Keystone Symposium on “Emerging Themes in Tumor Suppressors: Function and Clinical Implications in the Post-Genomic Era”
2012 Shapiro Lecture, University of Pennsylvania, Division of Gastroenterology

Recent Publications

Watson RL, Spalding AC, Zielske SP, Morgan M, Kim AC, Bommer GT, Eldar-Finkelman H, Giordano T, Fearon ER, Hammer GD, Lawrence TS, Ben-Josef E. GSK3beta and beta-catenin modulate radiation cytotoxicity in pancreatic cancer. Neoplasia (New York, N Y ), 2010 May; 12(5):357-365. (PMID 20454507)  PMC 2864473.

van de Sluis B, Mao X, Zhai Y, Groot AJ, Vermeulen JF, van der Wall E, van Diest PJ, Hofker MH, Wijmenga C, Klomp LW, Cho KR, Fearon ER, Vooijs M, Burstein E. COMMD1 disrupts HIF-1alpha/beta dimerization and inhibits human tumor cell invasion. J Clin Invest, 2010 Jun; 120(6):2119-2130. (PMID 20458141)  PMC 2877941.

Zhai Y, Bommer GT, Feng Y, Wiese AB, Fearon ER, Cho KR. Loss of estrogen receptor 1 enhances cervical cancer invasion. Am J Pathol, 2010 Aug; 177(2):884-895. (PMID 20581058)  PMC 2913367.

Takakura Y, Hinoi T, Oue N, Sasada T, Kawaguchi Y, Okajima M, Akyol A, Fearon ER, Yasui W, Ohdan H. CDX2 regulates multidrug resistance 1 gene expression in malignant intestinal epithelium. Cancer Res, 2010 Sep 1; 70(17):6767-6778. (PMID 20699370) PMC 3153948.

Fearon ER. Molecular genetics of colorectal cancer. Annu Rev Pathol, 2011; 6:479-507. (PMID 21090969).

Fearon ER, Bommer GT. Ancestries hidden in plain sight: methylation patterns for clonal analysis. Gastroenterology, 2011 Apr; 140(4):1139-1143. (PMID 21352867).

Feng Y, Bommer GT, Zhao J, Green M, Sands E, Zhai Y, Brown K, Burberry A, Cho KR, Fearon ER. Mutant KRAS promotes hyperplasia and alters differentiation in the colon epithelium but does not expand the presumptive stem cell pool. Gastroenterology, 2011 Sep; 141(3):1003-1013 e1001-1010. (PMID 21699772)  PMC 3163826.

Zhai Y, Iura A, Yeasmin S, Wiese AB, Wu R, Feng Y, Fearon ER, Cho KR. MSX2 is an oncogenic downstream target of activated WNT signaling in ovarian endometrioid adenocarcinoma. Oncogene, 2011 Oct 6; 30(40):4152-4162. (PMID 21499300)  PMC 3140605.

Kim NH, Kim HS, Li XY, Lee I, Choi HS, Kang SE, Cha SY, Ryu JK, Yoon D, Fearon ER, Rowe RG, Lee S, Maher CA, Weiss SJ, Yook JI. A p53/miRNA-34 axis regulates Snail1-dependent cancer cell epithelial-mesenchymal transition. J Cell Biol, 2011 Oct 31; 195(3):417-433. (PMID 22024162)  PMC 3206336.

Miller SJ, Joshi BP, Feng Y, Gaustad A, Fearon ER, Wang TD. In vivo fluorescence-based endoscopic detection of colon dysplasia in the mouse using a novel peptide probe. PloS one, 2011; 6(3):e17384. (PMID 21408169)  PMC 3050896.

Wu R, Hu TC, Rehemtulla A, Fearon ER, Cho KR. Preclinical testing of PI3K/AKT mTOR signaling inhibitors in a mouse model of ovarian endometrioid adenocarcinoma. Clin Cancer Res, 2011 Dec 1; 17(23):7359-7372. (PMID 21903772)  PMC 3229658.

Blij S, Frum T, Akyol A, Fearon E, Ralston A. Maternal Cdx2 is dispensable for mouse development. Development (Cambridge, England), 2012 Nov; 139(21):3969-3972. (PMID 22992952) PMC 3472595.

Dou W, Mukherjee S, Li H, Venkatesh M, Wang H, Kortagere S, Peleg A, Chilimuri SS, Wang ZT, Feng Y, Fearon ER, Mani S. Alleviation of gut inflammation by Cdx2/Pxr pathway in a mouse model of chemical colitis. PloS one, 2012; 7(7):e36075. (PMID 22815676)PMC 3398007.

Fearon ER, Spence JR. Cancer biology: a new RING to Wnt signaling. Current biology: CB, 2012 Oct 9; 22(19):R849-851. (PMID 23058807).

Grivennikov SI, Wang K, Mucida D, Stewart CA, Schnabl B, Jauch D, Taniguchi K, Yu GY, Osterreicher CH, Hung KE, Datz C, Feng Y, Fearon ER, Oukka M, Tessarollo L, Coppola V, Yarovinsky F, Cheroutre H, Eckmann L, Trinchieri G, Karin M. Adenoma-linked barrier defects and microbial products drive IL-23/IL-17-mediated tumour growth. Nature, 2012 Nov 8; 491(7423):254-258. (PMID 23034650)  PMC 3601659.

Miller SJ, Heist KA, Feng Y, Galban CJ, Rehemtulla A, Ross BD, Fearon ER, Wang TD. Multimodal imaging of growth and rapamycin-induced regression of colonic adenomas in apc mutation-dependent mouse. Trans Oncol, 2012 Oct; 5(5):313-320. (PMID 23066439)  PMC 3468922.

Wu ZQ, Brabletz T, Fearon E, Willis AL, Hu CY, Li XY, Weiss SJ. Canonical Wnt suppressor, Axin2, promotes colon carcinoma oncogenic activity. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 2012 Jul 10; 109(28):11312-11317. (PMID 22745173)  PMC 3396472.

Wu R, Baker SJ, Hu TC, Norman KM, Fearon ER, Cho KR. Type I to type II ovarian carcinoma progression: mutant Trp53 or Pik3ca confers a more aggressive tumor phenotype in a mouse model of ovarian cancer. Am J Pathol, 2013 Apr; 182(4):1391-1399. (PMID 23499052)  PMC 3620412.

Updated: 5/20/13