Christoforos Thomas

Christoforos Thomas, PhD

Associate Professor of Cancer Biology in Medicine, Academic Institute
Associate Member, Research Institute
Houston Methodist

Thomas Lab

Christoforos Thomas, PhD, received his bachelor’s degree from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and pursued his doctoral training at the University of Ioannina Medical School in Greece (1998-2004) to study the redox regulation of cancer cell cycle progression. Dr. Thomas conducted postdoctoral research at Karolinska Institute in Sweden (2005-2009) to investigate the biology of estrogen receptors in cancer. He then joined the University of Houston’s Center of Nuclear Receptors and Cell Signaling as Research Assistant Professor (2010-2017) and after continuing as Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine and the Abramson Cancer Center he was recruited to Houston Methodist Research Institute in February 2022.

Description of Research

Dr. Thomas’s laboratory has focused on the following research:

  • Investigating the mechanisms by which estrogen receptors (ERs) influence cancer initiation, progression and response to therapy. The lab has focused on interactions of ERs with p53, stress response and growth factor receptor signaling in breast and lung cancer.
  • Delineating pathways that regulate ER expression in cells. Chromatin modifiers impacting transcription together with signaling kinases and ubiquitin proteasome pathway that control protein stability have been investigated as potential drivers of altered ER expression in malignant breast with the aim to identify novel factors with prognostic and therapeutic value.
  • Exploring estrogen receptor beta (ERß) as novel biomarker and therapeutic target in inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) that represents the most aggressive form of breast cancer. Associating ERß with clinical phenotypes and evaluating ERß agonists as anti-metastatic regimen in preclinical IBC models has been the focus of our studies.
  • Studying the involvement of abnormal estrogen signaling in breast tumorigenesis in the context of defective p53 pathway using mouse models that mimic the pathology of Li-Fraumeni Syndrome (LFS) and breast cancer tissues from affected individuals.
  • Determining how ER signaling influences breast cancer progression by altering the tumor microenvironment using novel mouse models of breast cancer with altered ER signaling.


ERß as a mediator of estrogen signaling in inflammatory breast cancer
Nagandla, H & Thomas, C 2023, , Oncotarget, vol. 14, pp. 576-578.

Dll1-Mediated Notch Signaling Drives Tumor Cell Cross-talk with Cancer-Associated Fibroblasts to Promote Radioresistance in Breast Cancer
Nandi, A, Debnath, R, Nayak, A, To, TKJ, Thacker, G, Reilly, M, Gumber, S, Karagounis, I, Li, N, Lengner, CJ, Haldar, M, Welm, AL, Blanco, AM, Thomas, C & Chakrabarti, R 2022, , Cancer research, vol. 82, no. 20, pp. 3718-3733.

Dll1-Mediated Notch Signaling Drives Tumor Cell Cross-talk with Cancer-Associated Fibroblasts to Promote Radioresistance in Breast Cancer
Thomas, C, Nandi, A, Debnath, R, Nayak, A, To, TKJ, Thacker, G, Reilly, M, Gumber, S, Karagounis, I, Li, N, Lengner, CJ, Haldar, M, Welm, AL, Blanco, AM & Chakrabarti, R 2022, , Cancer research, vol. 82, pp. 3718–33.

Estrogen receptor b-mediated inhibition of actin-based cell migration suppresses metastasis of inflammatory breast cancer
Thomas, C, Karagounis, IV, Srivastava, RK, Vrettos, N, Nikolos, F, Francois, N, Huang, M, Gong, S, Long, Q, Kumar, S, Koumenis, C, Krishnamurthy, S, Ueno, NT, Chakrabarti, R & Maity, A 2021, , Cancer research, vol. 81, no. 9, pp. 2399-2414.

Combination of CHEK1/2 inhibition and ionizing radiation results in abscopal tumor response through increased micronuclei formation
Chao, HH, Karagounis, IV, Thomas, C, François, NB, Facciabene, A, Koumenis, C & Maity, A 2020, , Oncogene, vol. 39, no. 22, pp. 4344-4357.

Estrogen-dependent DLL1-mediated Notch signaling promotes luminal breast cancer
Kumar, S, Srivastav, RK, Wilkes, DW, Ross, T, Kim, S, Kowalski, J, Chatla, S, Zhang, Q, Nayak, A, Guha, M, Fuchs, SY, Thomas, C & Chakrabarti, R 2019, , Oncogene, vol. 38, no. 12, pp. 2092-2107.

Estrogen receptor ß and breast cancer
Thomas, C & Gustafsson, J-A 2019, . in Cancer Drug Discovery and Development. Cancer Drug Discovery and Development, Humana Press, pp. 309-342.

ERß alters the chemosensitivity of luminal breast cancer cells by regulating p53 function
Bado, I, Pham, E, Soibam, B, Nikolos, F, Gustafsson, JÅ & Thomas, C 2018, , Oncotarget, vol. 9, no. 32, pp. 22509-22522.

ERb Sensitizes NSCLC to Chemotherapy by Regulating DNA Damage Response
Nikolos, F, Thomas, C, Bado, I & Gustafsson, J-A 2018, , Molecular Cancer Research, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 233-242.

Somatic loss of estrogen receptor beta and p53 synergize to induce breast tumorigenesis
Bado, I, Nikolos, F, Rajapaksa, G, Wu, W, Castaneda, J, Krishnamurthy, S, Webb, P, Gustafsson, JÅ & Thomas, C 2017, , Breast Cancer Research, vol. 19, no. 1, 79.

ERß decreases the invasiveness of triple-negative breast cancer cells by regulating mutant p53 oncogenic function
Bado, I, Nikolos, F, Rajapaksa, G, Gustafsson, JÅ & Thomas, C 2016, , Oncotarget, vol. 7, no. 12, pp. 13599-13611.

Estrogen signaling and unfolded protein response in breast cancer
Rajapaksa, G, Thomas, C & Gustafsson, J-A 2016, , Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Progesterone receptor-estrogen receptor crosstalk: A novel insight
Thomas, C & Gustafsson, JÅ 2015, , Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism, vol. 26, no. 9, pp. 453-454.

Estrogen receptor mutations and functional consequences for breast cancer
Thomas, C & Gustafsson, J-A 2015, , Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism, vol. 26, no. 9, pp. 467-476.

ERß decreases breast cancer cell survival by regulating the IRE1/XBP-1 pathway
Rajapaksa, G, Nikolos, F, Bado, I, Clarke, R, Gustafsson, J & Thomas, C 2015, , Oncogene, vol. 34, no. 31, pp. 4130-4141.

Pleiotropic signaling evoked by tumor necrosis factor in podocytes
Abkhezr, M, Kim, EY, Roshanravan, H, Nikolos, F, Thomas, C, Hagmann, H, Benzing, T & Dryer, SE 2015, , American Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology, vol. 309, no. 2, pp. F98-F108.

ERß regulates NSCLC phenotypes by controlling oncogenic RAS signaling
Nikolos, F, Thomas, C, Rajapaksa, G, Bado, I & Gustafsson, JA 2014, , Molecular Cancer Research, vol. 12, no. 6, pp. 843-854.

Characteristics and survival of patients with advanced cancer and p53 mutations
Said, R, Ye, Y, Hong, DS, Janku, F, Fu, S, Naing, A, Wheler, JJ, Kurzrock, R, Thomas, C, Palmer, GA, Hess, KR, Aldape, K & Tsimberidou, AM 2014, , Oncotarget, vol. 5, no. 11, pp. 3871-3879.

ERß1 represses basal-like breast cancer epithelial to mesenchymal transition by destabilizing EGFR
Thomas, C, Rajapaksa, G, Nikolos, F, Hao, R, Katchy, A, McCollum, CW, Bondesson, M, Quinlan, P, Thompson, A, Krishnamurthy, S, Esteva, FJ & Gustafsson, JÅ 2012, , Breast Cancer Research, vol. 14, no. 6, R148.

Targeting PES1 for restoring the ERa/ERßratio in breast cancer
Thomas, C & Gustafsson, JÅ 2012, , Journal of Clinical Investigation, vol. 122, no. 8, pp. 2771-2773.