Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

Balakrishna L. Lokeshwar, Ph.D.

Balakrishna L. Lokeshwar, Ph.D.

Professor of Urology

Description of Research

The research program of Dr. Bal Lokeshwar’s laboratory is focused on the mechanism of cancer progression and enhancing existing systems of therapy. Current projects in his laboratory investigate the role of CXC chemokines and their receptors (CXCRs) that contribute to chronic inflammation, transformation, and accelerate the progression of the disease. The group is engaged in identifying the mechanism of CXCR up-regulation and its impact on cancer progression. In addition, the laboratory is engaged in translational research, where the group is investigating the potential use of a pair of natural products that show promising results in laboratory models of prostate and breast cancers. These agents not only kill tumor cells selectively, but also reverse malignant progression of newly transformed epithelial cells by inhibiting epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT). The mechanism of action of these products are being investigated using molecular and cell biological approaches, such as RNA interference, conditional over-expression, site directed mutagenesis, promoter assays, quantitative mRNA and protein analysis, cell cycle analysis, fluorescence microscopy and the use of transgenic animal models. Furthermore, other projects include development of new markers for renal cell cancers that may help Dr. Lokeshwar and his group non-invasively detect kidney cancers or help them in disease prognosis.


  • Showed that prostate cancer growth is also controlled by the chemokine IL-8 and its receptor, CXCR1 and further showed that a network of chemokine receptors (CXCR1, CXCR4 and CXCR7) directly and indirectly control the proliferation of prostate cancer cells and angiogenesis in models of prostate cancers.
  • Reported that the levels of chemokines in localized tumors are highly predictive of prostate cancer recurrence.
  • Isolated a natural anti-cancer compound from Jamaican Pepper also known as Allspice. The compound, Ericifolin inhibits prostate cancer proliferation by inducing apoptosis and decreasing androgen receptor mRNA levels.
  • Reported that complimentary medicinal product BIRM, an Ecuadorian plant extract, stops prostate cancer growth and metastasis without showing toxicity in normal tissues.

Selected Cancer-Related Publications

  • Shamaladevi N, Lyn DA, Escudero DO, Lokeshwar BL. CXC receptor-1 silencing inhibits androgen-independent prostate cancer. Cancer Res 69:8265-74, 2009. Read more »


Collaborating in the Multidisciplinary Research Program(s):

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