Liliana Soroceanu, M.D., Ph.D., Senior Scientist

California Pacific CURRENTS: The online journal of CPMC Research Institute

Uncovering the role of human cytomegalovirus in glioblastoma pathogenesis, and developing novel therapies for glioblastoma
  • Id-1 knockdown in primary human glioblastomas

    Id-1 knockdown in primary human glioblastomas (GBM) reduces neurosphere growth and Sox2 levels.

    A, primary GBM cells were processed for Id-1 immunofluorescence (left) and double immunofluorescence Id-1/Sox2 (right). Propidium iodide was used to counterstain cell nuclei. Bar, 100 µm.

    B, primary GBM cells were treated with control scrambled (ctl) or Id-1 siRNA (smart pool of 4 targeting oligonucleotides), and cell lysates were used to hybridize with a stem cell antibody array. The spots corresponding to Sox2 (1), Oct-3/4 (2), and Nanog (3) are indicated.

    C, a portion of the cell lysates was used to confirm Id-1 knockdown in GBM #1 and downregulation of Sox2, Oct-3/4, Nanog, Snail, and p-FAK levels by Western blot analysis.

    D, primary GBM cells treated with control (ctl) or Id-1 siRNA were observed in a neurosphere formation assay. Microphotographs were captured 120 hours following initial cell plating. Bar, 100 µm.

    Source: Soroceanu L, et al. Cancer Res 2013;73:1559-69. (Adapted from Figure 4)


Research Overview

  • Dr. Soroceanu’s earlier research in collaboration with Dr. Charles Cobbs was aimed at determining the role of human cytomegalovirus (CMV) in tumorigenesis and understanding its oncomodulatory effects. Ongoing investigations in the Soroceanu lab will further explore CMV and its actions in promoting the immunosuppressive environment of brain tumors, and determine the effects of antiviral therapies as anti-tumor agents for glioblastoma.
  • Working with fellow CPMCRI researchers Drs. Pierre Desprez and Sean McAllister, Dr. Soroceanu is studying the inhibition and down-regulation of the protein Id-1 in brain tumor cells by cannabinoid compounds including cannabidiol (CBD). She is also determining the efficacy of CBD and related compounds in sensitizing tumors to frontline therapeutics (e.g., chemotherapy).
  • With researchers in the Kashani lab at CPMCRI, Dr. Soroceanu is investigating the mechanisms by which PHIP enhances the aggressiveness of cancer and determining whether inhibiting the protein will alter the aggressive behaviors of gliomas in vivo.
  • Dr. Soroceanu leads the basic science component of the Cancer Avatar Project at CPMCRI.


Dr. Soroceanu received her M.D. from the School of Medicine at the University of Iasi, Romania, and her Ph.D. in neurobiology from the University of Alabama. Before joining CPMCRI in 2006, she completed post-doctoral work in neuro-oncology at Genentech.


Publication Search


de Semir D, Bezrookove V, Nosrati M, Dar AA, Wu C, Shen J, Rieken C, Venkatasubramanian M, Miller JR 3rd, Desprez PY, McAllister S, Soroceanu L, Debs RJ, Salomonis N, Schadendorf D, Cleaver JE, Kashani-Sabet M, PHIP as a therapeutic target for driver-negative subtypes of melanoma, breast, and lung cancer. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

Ngô HM, Zhou Y, Lorenzi H, Wang K, Kim TK, Zhou Y, El Bissati K, Mui E, Fraczek L, Rajagopala SV, Roberts CW, Henriquez FL, Montpetit A, Blackwell JM, Jamieson SE, Wheeler K, Begeman IJ, Naranjo-Galvis C, Alliey-Rodriguez N, Davis RG, Soroceanu L, Cobbs C, Steindler DA, Boyer K, Noble AG, Swisher CN, Heydemann PT, Rabiah P, Withers S, Soteropoulos P, Hood L, McLeod R, Toxoplasma Modulates Signature Pathways of Human Epilepsy, Neurodegeneration & Cancer. Sci Rep

Ghosh D, Funk CC, Caballero J, Shah N, Rouleau K, Earls JC, Soroceanu L, Foltz G, Cobbs CS, Price ND, Hood L, A Cell-Surface Membrane Protein Signature for Glioblastoma. Cell Syst

Yount G, Soroceanu L, Wang HJ, Singer E, Yount R, Luu T, Yang LX, Selective Toxicity of a Highly Potent Camptothecin Analogue: A Pilot Study with Glioblastoma Multiforme Cells. Anticancer Res

Soroceanu L, Matlaf L, Khan S, Akhavan A, Singer E, Bezrookove V, Decker S, Ghanny S, Hadaczek P, Bengtsson H, Ohlfest J, Luciani-Torres MG, Harkins L, Perry A, Guo H, Soteropoulos P, Cobbs CS, Cytomegalovirus Immediate-Early Proteins Promote Stemness Properties in Glioblastoma. Cancer Res

McAllister SD, Soroceanu L, Desprez PY, The Antitumor Activity of Plant-Derived Non-Psychoactive Cannabinoids. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol

Liliana Soroceanu, M.D., Ph.D., Senior Scientist
Primary Research Interests
  • Role of cytomegalovirus in the development of malignant gliomas
  • Anti-viral therapy for glioblastoma
  • Cannabinoids as antineoplastic agents
  • The biology of glioma stem cells
  • Targeting therapeutic resistance in glioma using non-toxic ROS modulators

Lab Members

Neetha Eduthan, MS
Alyssia Oh, B.Sc.
Research Associate
Eric Singer, B.Sc.
Research Associate
Lynn Wang, MS
Research Associate