Kevin Bennewith

Dr. Kevin Bennewith is a scientist at the BC Cancer Agency and an assistant professor in the Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine at the University of British Columbia. His research is funded by the Terry Fox Foundation, the BC Cancer Foundation, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Bennewith’s laboratory is dedicated to improving the diagnosis and treatment of patients with metastatic cancer.

Nine out of 10 Canadians who die of cancer have a tumour that has metastasized or spread to other parts of their body. Metastasis occurs when tumour cells escape from the original (primary) tumour and grow into life-threatening metastatic tumours in other organs. The effective treatment of metastatic cancer presents a unique challenge to oncologists, and improving our understanding of how tumour cells metastasize holds great promise for designing more effective therapies.

There is substantial evidence that the oxygenation level of tumour cells affects how a patient responds to therapy. Most tumours contain cells at lower oxygen levels than normal tissues, and these low-oxygen (hypoxic) tumour cells make tumours more aggressive, resistant to therapy, and metastatic. Bennewith’s research team is studying how hypoxic tumour cells promote the spread of cancer cells and the growth of metastatic tumours in tissues. Bennewith’s expertise in hypoxia and metastasis research combined with his unique research program will help to create more effective methods to detect and treat metastatic cancer in the clinic.

Key Publications

Bennewith KL, Dedhar S. Targeting hypoxic tumour cells to overcome metastasis. BMC Cancer. 2011 Nov 30;11:504. doi: 10.1186/1471-2407-11-504. (PubMed abstract)

Hamilton MJ, Banáth JP, Lam V, Lepard NE, Krystal G, Bennewith KL. Serum inhibits the immunosuppressive function of myeloid-derived suppressor cells isolated from 4T1 tumor-bearing mice. Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2012 May;61(5):643-54. doi: 10.1007/s00262-011-1125-0. Epub 2011 Oct 22. (PubMed abstract)

Bosiljcic M, Hamilton MJ, Banath JP, Lepard NE, McDougal DC, Jia JX, Krystal G, Bennewith KL. Myeloid suppressor cells regulate the lung environment–letter. Cancer Res. 2011 Jul 15;71(14):5050-1; author reply 5052-3. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-10-3982. Epub 2011 Jul 12. (PubMed abstract)

Bennewith KL, Huang X, Ham CM, Graves EE, Erler JT, Kambham N, Feazell J, Yang GP, Koong A, Giaccia AJ. The role of tumor cell-derived connective tissue growth factor (CTGF/CCN2) in pancreatic tumor growth. Cancer Res. 2009 Feb 1;69(3):775-84. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-08-0987. (PubMed abstract)

Erler JT, Bennewith KL, Cox TR, Lang G, Bird D, Koong A, Le QT, Giaccia AJ. Hypoxia-induced lysyl oxidase is a critical mediator of bone marrow cell recruitment to form the premetastatic niche. Cancer Cell. 2009 Jan 6;15(1):35-44. doi: 10.1016/j.ccr.2008.11.012. (PubMed abstract)