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Associate Professor Axel Thomson


  • Associate Professor, Division of Urology, McGill University, McGill University Health Centre


My research is focussed upon stromal:epithelial interactions and the role that they play in prostate development and disease. In particular, I am interested in identifying the molecules and mechanisms active in the stroma that control the growth of epithelia, and have used NGS profiling to identify gene expression in developmental mesenchyme and cancer associated fibroblasts. We have identified and tested the role of several pathways in prostate development and tumor growth, and recently determined that developmental pathways could be used to reduce tumor growth, when re-expressed in prostate cancer associated fibroblasts. We are also using our developmental NGS gene profiling studies using subsets of mesenchyme to identify novel markers that may have utility as predictive stromal markers in prostate cancer.

Best publications:

Orr, B., O. C. Grace, P. Brown, A. C.P. Riddick, G. D. Stewart, O. E. Franco, S. W. Hayward, and Thomson, A. A. (2013). Reduction of pro-tumourigenic activity of prostate cancer associated fibroblasts using Dlk1 or SCUBE1. Disease Models and Mechanisms. 6 (2):530-536.

Orr, B., Riddick, A. C. P., Stewart, G, Anderson, R. A., Franco, O., Hayward, S. W., and  Thomson, A. A. (2012). Identification of stromally expressed molecules in the prostate by Tag profiling of cancer-associated fibroblasts, normal fibroblasts and fetal prostate. Oncogene. 31:1130-1142.

Vanpoucke, G., Orr, B., Grace, O.C., Chan, R., Williams, K., Franco, O.E., Hayward, S.W., and Thomson, A.A. (2007) Transcriptional profiling of inductive mesenchyme to identify molecules involved in prostate development and disease. Genome Biology, 8:R213

Freestone, S.H., Marker, P., Grace, O.C., Tomlinson, D.C., Cunha, G.R., Harnden, P., and A.A. Thomson (2003). Sonic Hedgehog regulates prostatic growth and epithelial differentiation. Developmental Biology, 264: 352-362.

Thomson, A.A., Timms, B.G, Barton, L,., Cunha, G.R., and O.C. Grace. (2002). The role of smooth muscle in regulating prostatic induction. Development. 129, 1905-1912.


Stromal/epithelial interactions, Prostate development,.

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