Gunma University Initiative for Advanced Research > Laboratory > Integrated Oncology Research > Dr. YOKOBORI Laboratory

Dr. YOKOBORI Laboratory

Exploratory research on new cancer markers and therapeutic target molecules

At present, it is attempted to achieve long-term survival if cancer was detected at an early stage, but this is difficult to achieve in patients with advanced cancers. The goal of this research laboratory is to diagnose cancer at a stage when it can still be cured, and to cure advanced cancers.

Research Fields

Molecular oncology, intratumor heterogeneity, cancer biomarkers


Intractable, cancer markers, molecular targeted therapy, cancer immunotherapy

Difficulties in diagnosing and treating cancer

Figure 1

Unlike viruses and bacteria, which cause infectious diseases, cancer is not easy to diagnose because it originates from one’s own cells and therefore has many features in common with normal cells. In actual clinical practice, pathologists can diagnose cancer by observing morphological features that differ from normal tissues under the microscope. However, for observing such microscopic features the tumor tissue itself is required, and therefore it is necessary to perform invasive examinations and surgery such as the insertion of instruments (e.g., endoscopes or needles) into the patient’s body. In our lab we focus on research for the development of tumor markers for early diagnosis, and blood biomarkers that are collected by using minimally invasive methods.

In cancer research, cancer cells on culture dishes can be easily killed with anticancer drugs, but cancer tissue cannot be easily eradicated in vivo. As shown in Figure 1, cancer cells (purple) form together with surrounding stromal cells (green) and immune cells (red) a complex interrelationship within tumor tissues. It is known that this causes resistance to existing anticancer drugs and promotes metastatic tumor infiltration.
We also conduct continuous research on the development of therapeutic tools that target this intra-tumor complexity (heterogeneity).

Our lab’s research policy and ongoing research projects


  • CD36 Expression Is Associated with Cancer Aggressiveness and Energy Source in Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma.
    Yoshida T, Yokobori T*, Saito H, Kuriyama K, Kumakura Y, Honjo H, Hara K, Sakai M, Miyazaki T, Obinata H, Erkhem-Ochir B, Gombodorj N, Sohda M, Saeki H, Kuwano H, Shirabe K.
    Ann Surg Oncol. 2021 Feb;28(2):1217-1227. *Co-corresponding author
  • High Stromal TGFBI in Lung Cancer and Intratumoral CD8-Positive T Cells were Associated with Poor Prognosis and Therapeutic Resistance to Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors.
    Nakazawa N, Yokobori T*, Kaira K, Turtoi A, Baatar S, Gombodorj N, Handa T, Tsukagoshi M, Ubukata Y, Kimura A, Kogure N, Ogata K, Maeno T, Sohda M, Yajima T, Shimizu K, Mogi A, Kuwano H, Saeki H, Shirabe K.
    Ann Surg Oncol. 2020 Mar;27(3):933-942. *Corresponding author
  • Metastatic colorectal cancer cells maintain the TGFβ program and use TGFBI to fuel angiogenesis.
    Chiavarina B, Costanza B, Ronca R, Blomme A, Rezzola S, Chiodelli P, Giguelay A, Belthier G, Doumont G, Van Simaeys G, Lacroix S, Yokobori T, Erkhem-Ochir B, Balaguer P, Cavailles V, Fabbrizio E, Di Valentin E, Gofflot S, Detry O, Jerusalem G, Goldman S, Delvenne P, Bellahcène A, Pannequin J, Castronovo V, Turtoi A*.
    Theranostics. 2021 Jan 1;11(4):1626-1640. *Corresponding author