Donna Hansel, M.D., Ph.D.

Donna Hansel, MD, PhD

  • Professor
  • Chief, Anatomic Pathology
  • M.D. - Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • Ph.D. - Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • Residency Training: Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • Board Certifications: Anatomic Pathology
  • Clinical specialty: Genitourinary Pathology

Research Interests

My lab is interested in identifying high-yield, targetable pathways in bladder cancer, with a strong emphasis on mTOR signaling and novel downstream targets that are involved in cell motility and invasion. Using metabolic and proteomic approaches, and we have recently discovered a role for mTOR in regulating arginine metabolism and invasive cancer cell tips (invadopodia) formation. A unique aspect of my laboratory is the use of human bladder cancer specimens – both as primary cultures and ex vivo bladder wall cultures – to understand invasion in a “translationally relevant” context.  Our laboratory results have been verified in human cancer specimens, and I have applied this data top the development of diagnostic and prognostic paradigms for patients with bladder cancer.

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Representative Publications

  1. Argininosuccinate Synthetase-1 (ASS1) Loss in High-Grade Neuroendocrine Carcinomas of the Urinary Bladder: Implications for Targeted Therapy with ADI-PEG 20. Gupta S, Sahu D, Bomalaski JS, Frank I, Boorjian SA, Thapa P, Cheville JC, Hansel DE. Endocr Pathol, 2018 Feb 16 doi. 10. 1007/s12022-018-9516-9 [Epub ahead of print].
  2. Analysis of T1 Bladder Cancer on Biopsy and Transurethral Resection Specimens: Comparison and Ranking of T1 Quantification Approaches to Predict Progression to Muscularis Propria Invasion. Leivo MZ, Sahoo D, Hamilton, Mirsadraei L, Shabaik A, Parsons JK, Kader AK, Derweesh, Kane C, Hansel DE. Am J Surg Pathol 2018 2018 Jan; 42(1): e1-e10, doi: 10.1097/PAS.
  3. Serous Carcinoma Mimicking Primary Urothelial Carcinoma on Clinical Evaluation and Pathology: A Potential Diagnostic Pitfall. Mirsadraei L, Hodkoff A, Jones K, Shabaik A, Kader AK, Saenz CC, Montironi R, Tacha DE, Fadare O, Hansel DE. Arch Pathol Lab Med 2018 Feb; 142(2): 168-177.
  4. Differential mTOR Pathway Profiles in Bladder Cancer Cell Line Subtypes to Predict Sensitivity to mTOR Inhibition. Hau AM, Nakasaki M, Nakashima K, Krish G, Hansel DE. Urol Oncol 2017 Oct; 35(10): 593-599.
  5. Argininosuccinate Synthetase 1 Loss in Invasive Bladder Cancer Regulates Survival through General Control Nonderepressible 2 Kinase-Mediated Eukaryotic Initiation Factor 2α Activity and Is Targetable by Pegylate Arginine Deiminase. Sahu D, Gupta S, Hau AM, Nakashima K, Leivo MZ, Searles SC, Elson P, Bomalaski JS, Casteel DE, Boss GR, Hansel DE. Am J Pathol 2016 Dec. 9 pii: S0002-9440(16)30407-2.
  6. mTORC2 Activiation is Regulated by the Urokinase Receptor (uPAR) in Bladder Cancer. Hau Am, Leivo MZ, Gilder AS, HU JJ, Gonias SL, Hansel DE. Cell Signal 2017 Jan; 29:96-106.
  7. The Emerging Molecular Landscape of Urothelial Carcinoma. Solomon JP, Hansel DE. Surg Pathol Clin 2016 Sep; 9(3): 391-404.
  8. Transforming Growth Factor-β is an Upstream Regulator of Mammalian Target of Rapamycin Complex 2-Dependent Bladder Cancer Cell Migration and Invasion. Gupta S, Hau AM, Al-Ahmadie HA, Harwalkar J, Shoskes AC, Elson P, Beach JR, Hussey GS, Schiemann WP, Egelhoff TT, Howe PH, Hansel DE. Am J Path 2016 May; 186(5):1351-60.
  9. Mammalian Target of Rapamycin Complex 2 (mTOR) is Critical Determinant of Bladder Cancer Invasion. PLoS One 2013 Nov 27;8(11):e81081.
  10. Mammalian Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) Regulates Cellular Proliferation and Tumor Growth in Urothelial Carcinoma. Hansel DE, Platt E, Orloff M, Harwalker J, Sethu S, Hicks JL, De Marzo A, Steinle RE, Hsi ED, Theodorescu D, Ching CB, Eng C. Am J Pathol. 2010 Jun; 176(6):3062-72.
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Dr. Hansel obtained her B.A. in Biology from the Johns Hopkins University and her M.D., Ph.D. degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine as part of the Medical Scientist Training Program. She subsequently completed a research fellowship in the Genetics and Pathology Departments at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam and completed a residency and genitourinary pathology fellowship at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Dr. Hansel joined the Cleveland Clinic Staff in 2006 as a subspecialty genitourinary pathologist. She was appointed as an Assistant Professor of Anatomic Pathology at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of the Case Western Reserve University, followed by promotion to Associate Professor in 2010. While at the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Hansel oversaw the grant-funded prospective multi-institutional collection of bladder cancer specimens for the Cancer Genome Atlas Project. In 2013, Dr. Hansel was recruited to the University of California at San Diego as a Professor of Pathology with Tenure and Chief of the Division of Anatomic Pathology. She oversees an interdisciplinary research program in bladder cancer that incorporates advanced-OMICs technologies in the analysis of human bladder cancers, identifying cell signaling pathways that may be targets for bladder cancer therapeutics development.

Dr. Hansel has authored over 100 peer-reviewed publications, edited or authored 5 textbooks on urologic pathology and biospecimen repositories, and has participated in more than 70 national or international talks on bladder cancer. She has participated in the Kidney-Urinary tract panel for the 8th Edition of the AJCC Cancer Staging Manual and was a member of the working group for the 4th edition of the WHO Classification of Tumours of the Urinary System and Male Genital Organs. She is currently the Deputy Executive Editor in Chief for Advances in Anatomic Pathology and on the editorial boards of American Journal of Pathology and American Journal of Surgical Pathology.  She has mentored over 30 residents, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. She is a member of Alpha Omega Alpha and has been recently awarded the Ramzi S. Cotran Young Investigator Award from the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology. She has received funding from the National Institutes of Health, American Cancer Society, Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, and Prostate Cancer Foundation.

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