Department of Medicine

Department of Medicine

  Division of Hematology/Oncology

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photo James Gordon Herman, MD

Professor of Medicine

Co-Leader, UPCI Lung Cancer Program


Phone: 412-623-7769

Office: 2.18d Hillman Cancer Center
Phone: 412-623-7769
Fax: 412-623-7768
Education and Training
BA Chemistry, Hope College, 1984
MD, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 1989
Intern in Medicine, Duke University, 1990
Resident in Medicine, Duke University, 1992
Medical Oncology Fellowship, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 1996
Research Interest
I am currently associate director of the Hematology/Oncology Fellowship program at the University of Pittsburgh. My research program explores changes in DNA methylation in cancer and we were the first to demonstrate that tumor suppressor genes are silenced by promoter region methylation. We have characterized changes in methylation associated with the development and progression of cancer, including the demonstration of changes in DNA methylation in premalignant lesions. Current research is aimed at utilizing these findings to improve the management of patients through the development of prognostic, predictive, and early detection epigenetic biomarkers, and in studies of epigenetic therapy. We have developed new methods for study of DNA methylation (methylation specific PCR, in Situ MSP, ERMA, and more recently nanotechnology based detection methods, included MS-QFRET and MOB, DREAMing). These sensitive methods have been used for the early detection of cancer and for developing predictive biomarkers. I am a member of TCGA (The Cancer Genome Atlas) and have characterized genome wide epigenetic changes in cancer in multiple forms of cancer.
Clinical Interest
I currently serve as Lung Program Co-Director at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and Lung SPORE Program Director.
Educational Interest
Dr. Herman has been involved in the study of cancer epigenetics with a particular focus on upper aerodigestive cancer (lung and esophagus). I have mentored 10 residents or clinical fellows, 13 post-doctoral fellows, 3 medical students, as well as being the primary thesis mentor for 6 graduate students.
For my complete bibliography, Click Here.
Selected Publications:
Juergens RRA, Wrangle J, Vendetti FP, Murphy SC, Zhao M, Coleman B, Sebree R, Rodgers K, Hooker CM, Franco N, Lee B, Tasi S, Delgado IE, Rudek MA, Belinsky SA, Herman JG, Baylin SB, Bock MV, Rudin CM. Combination epigenetic therapy has efficacy in patients with refractory advanced non-small cell lung cancer. Cancer Discovery. 2011; 7: 598-607.
Brock MV, Hooker CM, Ota-Machida E, Han Y, Guo M, Ames S, Glockner S, Piantadosi S, Gabielson E, Pridham G, Pelosky K, Belinsky SA, Yang SC, Baylin SB, Herman JG. DNA methylation markers and early recurrence in stage I lung cancer. New England Journal of Medicine. 2008; 358(11): 1118-28.
Esteller M, Gaidano G, Goodman SN, Zagonel V, Capello D, Botto B, Rossi D, Gloghini A, Vitolo U, Carbone A, Baylin SB, Herman JG. Hypermethylation of the DNA repair gene O(6)-methylguanine DNA methyltransferase and survival of patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2002; 94(1): 26-32.
Esteller M, Garcia-Foncillas J, Andion E, Goodman SN, Hidalgo OF, Vanaclocha V, Baylin SB, Herman JG. Detection of aberrant promoter hypermethylation of tumor suppressor genes in serum DNA from non-small cell lung cancer patients. New England Journal of Medicine. 2000; 343(19): 1350-4.
Esteller M, Sanchez-Cespedes M, Rosell R, Sidransky D, Baylin SB, Herman JG. Inactivation of the DNA-repair gene MGMT and the clinical response of gliomas to alkylating agents. New England Journal of Medicine. 2000; 343(19): 1350-4.
Herman JG, Umar A, Polyak K, Graff JR, Ahuja N, Issa JP, Markowitz S, Willson JK, Hamilton SR, Kinzler KW, Kane MF, Kolodner RD, Vogelstein B, Kunkel TA, Baylin SB. Incidence and functional consequences of hMLH1 promoter hypermethylation in colorectal carcinoma. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA. 1998; 95(12): 6870-5.
Belinsky SA, Nikula KJ, Palmisano WA, Michels R, Saccomanno G, Gabrielson E, Baylin SB, Herman JG. Aberrant methylation of p16(INK4a) is an early event in lung cancer and a potential biomarker for early diagnosis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. 1998; 95(20): 11891-6.
Herman JG, Graff JR, Myohanen S, Nelkin BD, Baylin SB. Methylation-specific PCR: a novel PCR assay for methylation status of CpG islands. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. 1996; 93(18): 9821-6.
Herman JG, Latif F, Weng Y, Lerman MI, Zbar B, Liu S, Samid D, Duan DS, Gnarra JR, Linehan WM. Silencing of the VHL tumor-suppressor gene by DNA methylation in renal carcinoma. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. 1994; 91(21): 9700-4.
Notable Achievements
TEFAF Chair in Oncology and Visiting Professor, GROW-University of Maastricht School of Medicine, 2006
Thompson Scientific, 3rd most highly cited research in Oncology, 1995-2005
Science Watch, 2nd most cited researcher in epigenetics, 2009