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Devraj Basu, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.S.

Assistant Professor of Otorhinolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and the Veteran's Administration Medical Center
Full Member, Abramson Cancer Center
Department: Otorhinolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery

Contact information
5 Ravdin/Silverstein
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
3400 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Sc.B (Biology)
Brown University, 1994.
M.D. (Medicine)
Washington University School of Medicine, 2001.
Ph.D. (Immunology)
Washington University School of Medicine, 2001.
Post-Graduate Training
Intern, Surgery, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, 2001-2002.
Resident, Otolaryngology, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, 2002-2005.
Chief Resident, Otolaryngology, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, 2005-2006.
Fellow, Head and Neck Surgery and Microvascular Reconstruction, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, 2006-2007.
American Board of Otolaryngology, 2007.
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Description of Research Expertise

There are two facets to my faculty position at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine and Abramson Cancer Center. As a surgeon, I am part of a multidisciplinary team that treats patients with a variety of head and neck cancer types. As a scientist, I lead a laboratory focused on helping patients with the most aggressive forms of squamous cell carcinoma, the most common head and neck cancer. We also pursue less toxic therapies for the growing number HPV virus-related cases of squamous cell carcinoma, which are less often lethal but leave lifelong disabilities in survivors resulting from high dose radiation and chemotherapy. My dual roles support application of tumor materials obtained from surgical practice as preclinical research tools to improve clinical trial design.

Our research addresses how heterogeneity among tumor cells in individual cancers contributes to treatment resistance. Some of this diversity among tumor cells is genetic - it arises from ongoing mutations during rapid cell division. However, other differences appear because cancers grow and evade therapy by exploiting aspects of normal human development. These processes diversify cell types within healthy organs, creating fractions of cells that resist toxic injury and then divide to regenerate damaged tissue. As dysfunctional organs, cancers adopt similar strategies both to escape the body’s own anti-tumor defenses and to avoid being killed by cancer drugs. My lab examines how such “epigenetic” heterogeneity among malignant cells is represented within head and neck cancers. We are evaluating the rapid changes in tumor cell heterogeneity that allow cancers to escape targeted drugs and devising strategies that alter these changes to produce more favorable responses. In doing so, our goals are to establish therapies that improve survival for the worst head and neck cancers and modify management for readily curable tumors in order to avoid severe treatment toxicities.

Description of Clinical Expertise

Surgical treatment of disorders of the head and neck
Benign and malignant tumors of the head and neck
Oral Cancer
Laryngeal Cancer
Salivary Cancer
Sinonasal Cancer
Skin Cancer
Thyroid and parathyroid surgery
Transoral robotic and laser surgery
Endoscopic sinus surgery

Selected Publications

Harmeyer KM, Facompre ND, Herlyn M, Basu D: JARID1 Histone Demethylases: Emerging Targets in Cancer. Trends Cancer 3(10): 713-725, Oct 2017.

Facompre ND, Harmeyer KH, Basu D: Regulation of oncogenic PI3-kinase signaling by JARID1B. Oncotarget 8(5): 7218-7219, January 2017.

Facompre ND, Harmeyer KM, Sole X, Kabraji S, Belden Z, Sahu V, Whelan K, Tanaka K, Weinstein GS, Montone KT, Roesch A, Gimotty PA, Herlyn M, Rustgi AK, Nakagawa H, Ramaswamy S, Basu D: JARID1B Enables Transit between Distinct States of the Stem-like Cell Population in Oral Cancers. Cancer Res 76(18): 5538-49, Sep 2016.

Facompre ND, Harmeyer KM, Sahu V, Gimotty PA, Rustgi AK, Nakagawa H, Basu D: Targeting JARID1B's Demethylase Activity Blocks a Subset of Its Functions in Oral Cancer Oncotarget 9(10): 8985-8998, December 2017.

Facompre ND, Sahu V, Montone KT, Harmeyer KM, Nakagawa H, Rustgi AD, Weinstein GS, Gimotty PA, Basu D : Barriers to Generating PDX Models of HPV-Related Head and Neck Cancer. Laryngoscope 127(12): 2777-2783, Dec 2017.

Natsuizaka M, Whelan K, Kagawa S, Tanaka K, Giroux V, Chandramouleeswaran P, Long A, Sahu V, Darling D, Que J, Yang Y, Katz J, Wileyto E, Basu D, Kita Y, Natsugoe S, Naganuma S, Klein-Szanto A, Diehl JA, Bass A, Wong K, Rustgi A, Nakagawa H: Interplay between Notch1 and Notch3 promotes EMT and tumor initiation in squamous cell carcinoma. Nature Communications 8(1): 1758, Nov 2017.

Basu D, Bewley AF, Sperry SM, Montone KT, Gimotty PA, Rasanen K, Facompre ND, Weinstein GS, Nakagawa H, Diehl JA, Rustgi AK, Herlyn M : EGFR Inhibition Promotes an Aggressive Invasion Pattern Mediated by Mesenchymal-like Tumor Cells within Squamous Cell Carcinomas. Mol Cancer Ther 12(10): 2176-86, Oct 2013.

Facompre N, Nakagawa H, Herlyn M, Basu D: Stem-like cells and therapy resistance in squamous cell carcinomas. Adv Pharmacol 65: 235-65, October 2012.

Basu D, Montone KT, Wang LP, Gimotty PA, Hammond R, Diehl JA, Rustgi AK, Lee JT, Rasanen K, Weinstein GS, Herlyn M: Detecting and targeting mesenchymal-like subpopulations within squamous cell carcinomas. Cell Cycle 10(12): 2008-16, Jun 2011.

Basu D, Ngyen TK, Montone KT, Zhang BS, Wang L, Diehl JA, Rustgi AK, Lee JT, Weinstein GS, Herlyn M: Evidence for mesenchymal-like subpopulations within squamous cell carcinomas possessing chemoresistance and phenotypic plasticity. Oncogene 29(29): 4170-82, Jul 2010.

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Last updated: 04/22/2018
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