An elevated calcitonin level is a highly sensitive marker for medullary thyroid carcinoma.


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Jong-In Park

The goal of the Park lab is to identify fundamental molecular mechanisms that underlie the development/maintenance of medullary thyroid cancer (MTC).  Further, his research aims to develop novel therapeutic strategies for effective treatment of MTC.  They previously identified leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) as an autocrine/paracrine factor that can trigger tumor suppressive responses in MTC and pheochromocytoma.  An important current effort in his lab is to evaluate therapeutic potential of recombinant LIF in a preclinical MTC model.  His research is also focused on evaluating mortalin and the mitochondrial metabolism regulated by mortalin as potential therapeutic targets in MTC based upon their observation that mortalin is upregulated and can facilitate tumor cell survival and growth in MTC.


1. Park , J.-I., Strock, C. J., Ball, D. W., Nelkin, B. D. (2003) The Ras/Raf/MEK/ERK Pathway Induces Autocrine/Paracrine Growth Inhibition via the Leukemia Inhibitory Factor/JAK/STAT Pathway. Molecular and Cellular Biology, 23 (2): 543-554 (PMID: 12509453). 

2. Sriuranpong, V., Park, J.-I., Amornphimoltham, P., Patel, V., Nelkin, B. D., Gutkind, J. S. (2003) Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor-independent Constitutive Activation of STAT3 in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma Is Mediated by the Autocrine/Paracrine Stimulation of the Interleukin 6/gp130 Cytokine System. Cancer Research, 63 (11): 2948-2956 (PMID: 12782602).

3. Strock, C. J., Park, J.-I., Rosen, M., Dionne, C., Ruggeri, B., Jones-Bolin, S., Denmeade, S. R., Ball, D. W., Nelkin, B. D. (2003) CEP-701 and CEP-751 Inhibit Constitutively Activated RET Tyrosine Kinase Activity and Block Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma Cell Growth. Cancer Research, 63 (17): 5559-5563 (PMID: 14500395).

4. Park, J.-I., Powers, J. F., Tischler, A. S., Strock, C. J., Ball, D. W., Nelkin, B. D. (2005) GDNF-Induced Leukemia Inhibitory Factor Can Mediate Differentiation via the MEK/ERK Pathway in Pheochromocytoma Cells Derived from nf1 Knockout Mice Experimental Cell Research, 303 (1): 79-88 (PMID: 15572029).

5. Park, J.-I., Strock, C. J., Ball, D. W., Nelkin, B. D. (2005) Interleukin-1b Can Mediate Growth Arrest and Differentiation via the Leukemia Inhibitory Factor/JAK/STAT Pathway in Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma Cells. Cytokine, 29 (3): 125-134 (PMID: 15613280).

6. Kim, E.-J., Park, J.-I., Nelkin, B. D. (2005) IFI16 Is an Essential Mediator of Growth Inhibition, but not Differentiation, Induced by the Leukemia Inhibitory Factor/JAK/STAT Pathway in Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma Cells. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 280 (6): 4913-4920 (PMID: 15572361).

7. Strock, C. J., Park, J.-I., Rosen, D. M., Ruggeri, B., Denmeade, S. R., Ball, D. W., Nelkin, B. D. (2006) Activity of Irinotecan and the Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor CEP-751 in Medullary Thyroid Cancer. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 91 (1): 79-84 (PMID: 16263812).

8. Hong, S., Yoon, S., Moelling, C., Arthan, D., Park, J.-I. (2009) Non-Catalytic Function of Extracellular Signal-Regulated Kinase ½ (ERK1/2) Can Promote Raf/MEK/ERK-Mediated Growth Arrest Signaling. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 284 (48): 33006-33018 (PMID: 19805545).

9. Arthan, D., Hong, S., Park, J.-I., (2010) Leukemia inhibitory factor can mediate Ras/Raf/MEK/ERK-induced growth inhibitory signaling in medullary thyroid cancer cells. Cancer Letters 297 (1): 31-41 (PMID: 20570039).

10. Starenki, D., Singh, N., Jensen, D., Peterson, F., Park, J.-I., (2013) Recombinant leukemia inhibitory factor suppresses human medullary thyroid carcinoma cell line xenografts in mice. Cancer Letters, 339 (1): 144-151 (PMID: 23856028; PMCID: PMC3771534).

11. Starenki, D., Park, J.-I., (2013) Mitochondria-targeted nitroxide, Mito-CP, suppresses medullary thyroid carcinoma cell survival in vitro and in vivo. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 98 (4):1529-1540 (PMID: 23509102; PMCID: PMC3615196) (

12. Wu, P.*, Hong, S.*, Veeranki, S., Karkhanis, M., Starenki, D., Plaza, J., Park, J.-I., (2013) A mortalin/HSPA9-mediated switch in tumor suppressive signaling of Raf/MEK/ERK. Molecular and Cellular Biology, 33 (20): 4051-4067 (PMID: 23959801). *equal contribution