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Munir R. Tanas, MD

Associate Professor of Pathology

Contact Information

Primary Office
1023 Medical Laboratories (ML)
500 Newton Road
Iowa City, IA 52242


BS, Biochemistry, Whitworth College, Spokane, WA
MD, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Resident, Anatomic Pathology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Fellow, Surgical Pathology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Fellow, Bone and Soft Tissue Pathology, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH
Postdoctoral Fellow, Molecular Genetics, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH

Licensure and Certifications

Doctor of Medicine - State Medical Board of Ohio
Board Certification in Anatomic Pathology - American Board of Pathology

Education/Training Program Affiliations

Cancer Biology Graduate Program, Department of Pathology Graduate Program, Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Molecular Medicine, Medical Scientist Training Program

Center, Program and Institute Affiliations

Center for Biocatalysis and Bioprocessing, Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center

Research Summary

Our lab studies the role of the Hippo pathway in sarcomas. Sarcomas are difficult to treat cancers that arise in the bone and soft tissues (muscle, adipose tissue, peripheral nerve, blood vessels, connective tissue). Metastatic sarcoma has a poor prognosis, with a 5 year survival of approximately 15%. Additional therapeutic targets are needed for these cancers; our lab has focused on the Hippo pathway as a novel therapeutic target.

The Hippo pathway (https://tanas.lab.uiowa.edu/research) is composed of a series of serine/threonine kinases that negatively regulate TAZ and YAP. TAZ and YAP are closely related transcriptional co-activators and oncoproteins in many different cancers including sarcomas. We have previously shown that TAZ and YAP are activated in over 50% of sarcomas, making this pathway a central one for sarcomas.

Our current projects in the lab focus on: 1. Mechanisms of oncogene activation 2. Upstream signal transduction mechanisms 3. Epigenetics 4. Tumorigenesis and metastasis 5. Identification of new therapeutic drugs.

Our model systems include: 1. Clinical sarcoma samples including tissue microarrays 2. Sarcoma cell lines 3. Genetic and xenograft sarcoma mouse models.


Desai, C., Thomason, J., Kohlmeyer, J. L., Reisetter, A. C., Ahirwar, P., Jahanseir, K., Leidinger, M., Ofori-Amanfo, G., Fritchie, K., Velu, S. E., Breheny, P., Quelle, D. E. & Tanas, M. R. (2021). Prognostic and therapeutic value of the Hippo pathway, RABL6A, and p53-MDM2 axes in sarcomas. Oncotarget, 12(8), 740-755. PMID: 33889298.

Kohlmeyer, J. L., Gordon, D. J., Tanas, M. R., Dodd, R. D., Monga, V., Darbro, B. W. & Quelle, D. E. (2021). Combination therapies for MPNSTs targeting RABL6A-RB1 signaling. Oncotarget, 12(1), 10-14. PMID: 33456709.

Morrow, N. C., Tanas, M. R., Syed, N. A. & Rajan Kd, A. (2020). Solitary adult orbital myofibroma: Report of a case and review of the literature. (Vols. 20). pp. 100955. American journal of ophthalmology case reports. PMID: 33089011.

Kohlmeyer, J. L., Gordon, D. J., Tanas, M. R., Monga, V., Dodd, R. D. & Quelle, D. E. (2020). CDKs in sarcoma: Mediators of disease and emerging therapeutic targets. (Vols. 21). (8) International Journal of Molecular Sciences. DOI: 10.3390/ijms21083018.

Kohlmeyer, J. L., Kaemmer, C. A., Pulliam, C., Maharjan, C. K., Moreno Samayoa, A., Major, H. J., Cornick, K. E., Knepper-Adrian, V., Khanna, R., Sieren, J. C., Leidinger, M., Meyerholz, D. K., Zamba, K. D., Weimer, J., Dodd, R. D., Darbro, B., Tanas, M. R. & Quelle, D. E. (2020). RABL6A is an essential driver of MPNSTs that negatively regulates the RB1 pathway and sensitizes tumor cells to CDK4/6 inhibitors. Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research. PMID: 32086342.

Waters, R., Horvai, A., Greipp, P., John, I., Demicco, E. G., Dickson, B. C., Tanas, M. R., Larsen, B. T., Ud Din, N., Creytens, D. H., Bahrami, A., Doyle, L. A., Jo, V. Y., Al-Ibraheemi, A., Thway, K., Jenkins, S. M., Siontis, B., Folpe, A. & Fritchie, K. (2019). Atypical lipomatous tumour/well-differentiated liposarcoma and de-differentiated liposarcoma in patients aged = 40 years: a study of 116 patients. Histopathology, 75(6), 833-842. PMID: 31471922.

Al-Ibraheemi, A., Broehm, C., Tanas, M. R., Horvai, A. E., Rubin, B. P., Cheah, A. L., Thway, K., Fisher, C., Bahrami, A., Folpe, A. L. & Fritchie, K. J. (2019). Desmoplastic Small Round Cell Tumors With Atypical Presentations: A Report of 34 Cases. International Journal of Surgical Pathology, 27(3), 236-243. PMID: 30522375.

Brown-Joel, Z. O., Bellizzi, A. M., Darbro, B. W., Snow, A. N., Tanas, M. R., Keeney, M. E., Stone, M. S., Wanat, K. A. & Roth, G. M. (2019). A case of primary cutaneous Ewing sarcoma in a neutropenic patient. Journal of Cutaneous Pathology, 46(3), 238-241. PMID: 30582191.

Merritt, N. M., Fullenkamp, C. A., Hall, S. L., Qian, Q., Desai, C., Thomason, J., Lambertz, A. M., Dupuy, A. J., Darbro, B. & Tanas, M. R. (2018). A comprehensive evaluation of Hippo pathway silencing in sarcomas. Oncotarget, 9(60), 31620-31636. PMID: 30167083.

White, K. A., Swier, V. J., Cain, J. T., Kohlmeyer, J. L., Meyerholz, D. K., Tanas, M. R., Uthoff, J., Hammond, E., Li, H., Rohret, F. A., Goeken, A., Chan, C. H., Leidinger, M. R., Umesalma, S., Wallace, M. R., Dodd, R. D., Panzer, K., Tang, A. H., Darbro, B. W., Moutal, A., Cai, S., Li, W., Bellampalli, S. S., Khanna, R., Rogers, C. S., Sieren, J. C., Quelle, D. E. & Weimer, J. M. (2018). A porcine model of neurofibromatosis type 1 that mimics the human disease. JCI insight, 3(12). PMID: 29925695.

Abarca, T., Gao, Y., Monga, V., Tanas, M. R., Milhem, M. M. & Miller, B. J. (2018). Improved survival for extremity soft tissue sarcoma treated in high-volume facilities. Journal of surgical oncology, 117(7), 1479-1486. PMID: 29633281.

Monga, V., Swami, U., Tanas, M., Bossler, A., Mott, S. L., Smith, B. J. & Milhem, M. (2018). A Phase I/II Study Targeting Angiogenesis Using Bevacizumab Combined with Chemotherapy and a Histone Deacetylase Inhibitor (Valproic Acid) in Advanced Sarcomas. Cancers, 10(2). PMID: 29462961.

Buchakjian, M. R., Merritt, N. M., Moose, D. L., Dupuy, A. J., Tanas, M. R. & Henry, M. D. (2017). A Trp53fl/flPtenfl/fl mouse model of undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma mediated by adeno-Cre injection and in vivo bioluminescence imaging. PloS one, 12(8), e0183469. PMID: 28841687.

Guseva, N. V., Jaber, O., Tanas, M. R., Stence, A. A., Sompallae, R., Schade, J., Fillman, A. N., Miller, B. J., Bossler, A. D. & Ma, D. (2017). Anchored multiplex PCR for targeted next-generation sequencing reveals recurrent and novel USP6 fusions and upregulation of USP6 expression in aneurysmal bone cyst. Genes, chromosomes & cancer, 56(4), 266-277. PMID: 27910166.

Bean, G. R., Kremer, J. C., Prudner, B. C., Schenone, A. D., Yao, J. C., Schultze, M. B., Chen, D. Y., Tanas, M. R., Adkins, D. R., Bomalaski, J., Rubin, B. P., Michel, L. S. & Van Tine, B. A. (2016). A metabolic synthetic lethal strategy with arginine deprivation and chloroquine leads to cell death in ASS1-deficient sarcomas. Cell death & disease, 7(10), e2406. PMID: 27735949.

Guseva, N. V., Tanas, M. R., Stence, A. A., Sompallae, R., Schade, J. C., Bossler, A. D., Bellizzi, A. M. & Ma, D. (2016). The NAB2-STAT6 gene fusion in solitary fibrous tumor can be reliably detected by anchored multiplexed PCR for targeted next-generation sequencing. Cancer genetics, 209(7-8), 303-12. PMID: 27292373.

Fullenkamp, C. A., Hall, S. L., Jaber, O. I., Pakalniskis, B. L., Savage, E. C., Savage, J. M., Ofori-Amanfo, G. K., Lambertz, A. M., Ivins, S. D., Stipp, C. S., Miller, B. J., Milhem, M. M. & Tanas, M. R. (2016). TAZ and YAP are frequently activated oncoproteins in sarcomas. Oncotarget. PMID: 27129148.

Patel, N. R., Salim, A. A., Sayeed, H., Sarabia, S. F., Hollingsworth, F., Warren, M., Jakacky, J., Tanas, M., Oliveira, A. M., Rubin, B. P., Lazar, A. J., López-Terrada, D. & Wang, W. L. (2015). Molecular characterization of epithelioid haemangioendotheliomas identifies novel WWTR1-CAMTA1 fusion variants. Histopathology. PMID: 25817592.

Tanas, M. R., Ma, S., Jadaan, F. O., Ng, C. K., Weigelt, B., Reis-Filho, J. S. & Rubin, B. P. (2015). Mechanism of action of a WWTR1(TAZ)-CAMTA1 fusion oncoprotein. Oncogene, [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 25961935.

Cheah, A. L., Billings, S. D., Goldblum, J. R., Carver, P., Tanas, M. Z. & Rubin, B. P. (2014). STAT6 rabbit monoclonal antibody is a robust diagnostic tool for the distinction of solitary fibrous tumour from its mimics. Pathology, 46(5), 389-95. PMID: 24977739.

Bohman, S. L., Goldblum, J. R., Rubin, B. P., Tanas, M. R. & Billings, S. D. (2014). Angiomatoid fibrous histiocytoma: an expansion of the clinical and histological spectrum. Pathology, 46(3), 199-204. PMID: 24614712.

Tanas, M. R., Sboner, A., Oliveira, A. M., Erickson-Johnson, M. R., Hespelt, J., Hanwright, P. J., Flanagan, J., Luo, Y., Fenwick, K., Natrajan, R., Mitsopoulos, C., Zvelebil, M., Hoch, B. L., Weiss, S. W., Debiec-Rychter, M., Sciot, R., West, R. B., Lazar, A. J., Ashworth, A., Reis-Filho, J. S., Lord, C. J., Gerstein, M. B., Rubin, M. A. & Rubin, B. P. (2011). Identification of a disease-defining gene fusion in epithelioid hemangioendothelioma. Science translational medicine, 3(98), 98ra82. PMID: 21885404.

Tanas, M. R., Rubin, B. P., Montgomery, E. A., Turner, S. L., Cook, J. R., Tubbs, R. R., Billings, S. D. & Goldblum, J. R. (2010). Utility of FISH in the diagnosis of angiomatoid fibrous histiocytoma: a series of 18 cases. Modern pathology, 23(1), 93-7. PMID: 19801966.

Tanas, M. R., Rubin, B. P., Tubbs, R. R., Billings, S. D., Downs-Kelly, E. & Goldblum, J. R. (2010). Utilization of fluorescence in situ hybridization in the diagnosis of 230 mesenchymal neoplasms: an institutional experience. Archives of pathology & laboratory medicine, 134(12), 1797-803. PMID: 21128778.

Tanas, M. R., Goldblum, J. R. (2009). Fluorescence in situ hybridization in the diagnosis of soft tissue neoplasms: a review. Advances in anatomic pathology, 16(6), 383-91. PMID: 19851129.

Tanas, M. R., Rubin, B. P. (2009). Malignant neuroectodermal tumor with melanocytic and rhabdomyoblastic differentiation. Rare tumors, 1(2), e26. PMID: 21139905.

Tanas, M. R., Sthapanachai, C., Nonaka, D., Melamed, J., Oliveiera, A. M., Erickson-Johnson, M. R. & Rubin, B. P. (2009). Pseudosarcomatous fibroblastic/myofibroblastic proliferation in perinephric adipose tissue adjacent to renal cell carcinoma: a lesion mimicking well-differentiated liposarcoma. Modern pathology, 22(9), 1196-1200. PMID: 19525929.

Wolf, P. S., Flum, D. R., Tanas, M. R., Rubin, B. P. & Mann, G. N. (2008). Epithelioid sarcoma: the University of Washington experience. American journal of surgery, 196(3), 407-12. PMID: 18436180.

Rubin, B. P., Antonescu, C. R., Scott-Browne, J. P., Comstock, M. L., Gu, Y., Tanas, M. R., Ware, C. B. & Woodell, J. (2005). A knock-in mouse model of gastrointestinal stromal tumor harboring kit K641E. Cancer research, 65(15), 6631-9. PMID: 16061643..

Badjou, S., Powers, G. D. & Tanas, M. R. (1997). Proceedings. Ultrasonic Measurement of Postural Stability andControl. Tenth IEEE Symposium on Computer-based Medical Systems, 164-165.