Dr. Elena Kurenova Elena Kurenova, PhD

Elena Kurenova


About Elena Kurenova


Dr. Elena Kurenova joined the staff of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center (Roswell Park) in 2009 as a research scientist and Associate Professor of Oncology in the Department of Surgical Oncology. Dr. Kurenova came to Roswell Park from the University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, where she served as a research assistant professor in the Department of Surgery.

Dr. Kurenova earned her doctoral degree at the Moscow State University, Russia in 1991 and completed postdoctoral fellowships at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Research Triangle Park, NC (1997) and at the Thurston Arthritis Research Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC (2001).

Dr. Kurenova’s research is focused on Focal Adhesion Kinase (FAK) - tyrosine kinase that functions as a key orchestrator of signals leading to survival of cancer cells, invasion and metastasis. FAK interacts with a number of critical proteins involved in survival signaling in cancer cells, some of which were discovered by phage display approach. Dr. Kurenova’s research team hypothesized that targeting a protein-protein interface with drug-like small molecules is a feasible strategy for inhibiting tumor growth. They aim to elucidate the mechanisms of these FAK-related survival signals and develop novel therapeutic strategies to inhibit this signaling in human tumors. They selected small molecule that disrupts protein-protein interaction of FAK with VEGFR3 and causes cancer cell death in vitro and in vivo. Her research has shown that serine/threonine kinase RIP - a major component of the death receptor complex, binds to FAK. Her research efforts have led to the hypothesis that this interaction is a critical component for suppressing apoptosis in tumor cells. Her laboratory is focused on understanding the mechanism of FAK-RIP interaction and signaling which may provide a molecular basis for the development of new cancer therapeutics.

Dr. Kurenova is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).

Dr. Kurenova has authored or co-authored more than 40 journal publications, book chapters and abstracts. She is an ad hoc reviewer for the Annals of Surgical Oncology, Clinical Oncology, Medicinal Chemistry and Oncogene.



Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center

  • Adjunct Faculty
  • Department of Cell Stress Biology


Education and Training:

  • 1991 - PhD - Moscow State University, Russia


  • 1997 - Postdoctoral Fellowship - National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Research Triangle Park, NC
  • 2001 - Postdoctoral Fellowship - Thurston Arthritis Research Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC

Professional Memberships:

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  • American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)


  • Bass I.A., Kurenova E.V., and Mekhedov, S.L. 1982 Cloning of the promoter located before the structural gene for the beta-subunit of the RNA polymerase of E. coli. Mol. Biol. (Russian) 16: 575-580.
  • Danilevskaya, O.N., Kurenova, E.V., Leibovitch B.A., Shevelev, A. Yu., Bass, I. A., and Khesin, R.B. 1984 Telomeres and P-element of Drosophila melanogaster contain sequences that replicate autonomously in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Mol. Gen. Genet. 197: 342-344
  • Danilevskaya, O.N., Kurenova, E.V., and Kaverina E.N. 1988 Localization of ARS in P element of D. melanogaster. Genet., Microbiol. & Virol. (Russian) 4: 41-44.
  • Leibovitch B.A., Kurenova E.V., and Danilevskaya, O.N. 1990 Variability of in situ hybridization of labelled probes with telomeric and some internal regions of Drosophila chromosomes. Cytology & Genetics (Russian) 24: 23-28.
  • Danilevskaya, O.N., Kurenova E.V., Leibovitch B.A., Bass I.A., and Pavlova M.N. 1990 The family of Drosophila genomes' repeated sequences having telomeric localization: properties and polymorphism. Genetics (Russian) 26: 474-484.
  • Kurenova E.V., Leibovitch B.A., Bass I.A., Bebikhov D.V., Pavlova M.N., and Danilevskaya, O.N. 1990 Hoppel - the family of D. melanogaster mobile elements flanked by short inverted repeats and localized preferentially within heterochromatic genomic regions. Genetics (Russian) 26: 1701-1712.
  • Danilevskaya, O.N., Kurenova E.V., Pavlova M.N., Bebikhov D.V., Link A.J., Koga A., Vellek A., and Hartl D.L. 1991 He-T family sequences in Y chromosome of D. melanogaster share homology with the Y-linked Stellate genes. Chromosoma 100: 118-124.
  • Danilevskaya, O.N., Petrov D.A., Pavlova M.N., Koga A., Kurenova E.V., and Hartl D.L. 1992 A novel repetitive DNA element associated with telomeric sequences in D. melanogaster. Chromosoma 102: 32-40.
  • Danilevskaya, O.N., Lofsky A., Kurenova E.V., and Pardue M.-L. 1993 The Y chromosome of Drosophila melanogaster contains a distinctive subclass of HeT-A-related repeats. Genetics 134: 531-543.
  • Kurenova E., and Mason J.M. 1997 Telomere functions. A review. Biochemistry (Moscow), Nov; 62(11): 1242-53
  • Kurenova E., Champion L., Biessmann H., and Mason J.M. 1998 Directional gene silencing induced by a complex subtelomeric satellite from Drosophila. Chromosoma 107: 311-20.
  • Mason J.M., Haoudi A., Konev A.Y., Kurenova E., Walter M.F., Biessmann H. 2000 Control of telomere elongation and telomeric silencing in Drosophila melanogaster. Genetica 109: 61-70.
  • Kurenova E., Xu L-H., Yang X., Baldwin A.S. Jr., Craven R.J., Hanks S.K., Liu Z-G., and Cance W.G. 2004 The Focal Adhesion Kinase Suppresses Apoptosis by Binding to the Death Domain of Receptor Interacting Protein. Mol Cell Biol. 24:4361-4371.
  • C.A. Garces, E.V. Kurenova, V.M. Golubovskaya, and W.G. Cance. 2006 Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-3 (VEGFR-3) and Focal Adhesion Kinase (FAK) Bind and Suppress Apoptosis in Breast Cancer Cells. Cancer Res. 66:1446-54.
  • E. Kurenova, V. Golubovskaya, W.G. Cance. 2006 The Tumor Biology of Focal Adhesion Kinase. (Review) Cellscience Reviews, 3 (1): 1742-8130
  • S. George, A. Nagaram, C. Garces, E.V. Kurenova and E.A. Beierle. 2006 Oxidative stress induces FAK and AKT activation in human neuroblastoma cells. J Surg Res, 130 (2): 179
  • Beierle EA, Trujillo A, Nagaram A, Kurenova EV, Finch R, Ma X, Vella J, Cance WG, Golubovskaya VM. 2007 N-MYC regulates focal adhesion kinase expression in human neuroblastoma. J Biol Chem. 282:12503-16.
  • Funa NS, Reddy K, Bhandarkar S, Kurenova EV, Yang L, Cance WG, Welsh M, Arbiser JL. Shb 2007 Gene Knockdown Increases the Susceptibility of SVR Endothelial Tumor Cells to Apoptotic Stimuli In Vitro and In Vivo. J Invest Dermatol. 2008 Mar;128(3):710-6.
  • Liu W, Bloom DA, Cance WG, Kurenova EV, Golubovskaya VM, Hochwald SN. FAK and IGF-IR interact to provide survival signals in human pancreatic adenocarcinoma cells. Carcinogenesis. 2008; 29(6): 1096-1107
  • Beierle EA, Trujillo A, Nagaram A, Golubovskaya VM, Cance WG, Kurenova EV. 2008 TAE226 inhibits human neuroblastoma cell survival. Cancer Invest. 26 (2):145-51.
  • Golubovskaya V, Finch R, Zheng M, Kurenova EV, Cance WG. 2008 The 7 amino-acid site in the proline-rich region of the N-terminal domain of p53 is involved in interaction with FAK and is critical for p53 functioning. Biochem J., 411(1):151-60.
  • EA. Beierle, NA. Massoll, J. Hartwich, EV. Kurenova, VM. Golubovskaya, WG. Cance, P. McGrady and WB. London. 2008 Focal Adhesion Kinase Expression in Human Neuroblastoma: Immunohistochemical and Real-time PCR Analyses. Clinical Cancer Research 14(11): 3299-3305
  • Magis AT, Bailey KM, Kurenova EV, Hernandez Prada JA, Cance WG, Ostrov DA. 2008 Crystallization of the focal adhesion kinase targeting (FAT) domain in a primitive orthorhombic space group. Acta Crystallogr Sect F Struct Biol Cryst Commun. 64(Pt 6):564-6. Epub 2008 May 30.
  • Kweh F, Zheng M, Kurenova E, Wallace M, Golubovskaya V, Cance WG. Neurofibromin physically interacts with the N-terminal domain of focal adhesion kinase. Mol Carcinog 2009; 48(11):1005-1017.
  • Kurenova EV, Hunt DL, He D, Fu AD, Massoll NA, Golubovskaya VM, Garces CA, Cance WG. Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-3 promotes breast cancer cell proliferation, motility and survival in vitro and tumor formation in vivo. Cell Cycle 2009; 8(14):2266-2280.
  • Kurenova EV, Hunt Dl, He D, Magis AT, Ostrov DA, Cance WG. Small molecule chloropyramine hydrochloride (C4) targets the binding site of focal adhesion kinase and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 3 and suppresses breast cancer growth in vivo. J Med Chem 2009; 52(15):4716-4724.
  • Zheng D, Kurenova E, Ucar D, Golubovskaya V, Magis A, Ostrov D, Cance WG, Hochwald SN. Targeting of the protein interaction site between FAK and IGF-1R. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2009; 388(2):301-305.
  • Zheng D, Golubovskaya V, Kurenova E, Wood C, Massoll NA, Ostrov D, Cance WG, Hochwald SN. A novel strategy to inhibit FAK and IGF-1R decreases growth of pancreatic cancer xenografts. Mol Carcinog 2010; 49(2):200-209.
  • Beierle EA, Ma X, Trujillo A, Kurenova EV, Cance WG, Golubovskaya VM. Inhibition of focal adhesion kinase and src increases detachment and apoptosis in human neuroblastoma cell lines. Mol Carcinog 2010 Mar;49(3): 224-34.
  • Kurenova E, Liau J, Seshadri M, Bshara W, Cance W. The novel FAK inhibitor CFAK-C4 targeted to the binding site of VEGFR-3 inhibits pancreatic cancer proliferation and interferes with tumor vasculogenesis. Annals of oncology 2011; 22(Suppl. 5):v57-v58
  • Ucar DA, Cox A, He D-H, Ostrov DA, Kurenova E, Hochwald SN. A novel small molecule inhibitor of FAK and IGF-1R protein interactions decreases growth of human esophageal carcinoma. Anti-cancer agents in medicinal chemistry 2011; 11(7):629-637
  • Kurenova EV, Liao J, He D, Hunt DL, Chekhau A, Hochwald SN, Ostrov DA, Cance WG. Effect of a novel FAK inhibitor targeted to the binding site of VEGFR3 on pancreatic cancer proliferation in vitro and in vivo: 2011 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium. Journal of clinical oncology 2011; 29(4 Suppl.):214
  • Thudium KE, Telang U, Wang P, Diegelman P, Buitrago S, Curtain L, Kurenova E, Cance W, Fetterly G. Pharmacokinetics (PK) and tissue penetration of the novel VEGFR-3/FAK inhibitor, Chloropyramine. Proceedings of the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2011; 52:Abstract #4257
  • Ucar DA, Cox A, He D-H, Patel R, Kurenova E, Hochwald SN. A novel therapeutic strategy for malignancy: Specific disruption of FAK and IGF-1R interaction with a small molecule compound. Proceedings of the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2010; 51:Abstract #2538
  • Ucar DA, Kurenova E, Garrett TJ, Cance WG, Nyberg C, Cox A, Massoll N, Ostrov DA, Lawrence N, Sebti SM, Zajac-Kaye M, Hochwald SN. Disruption of the protein interaction between FAK and IGF-1R inhibits melanoma tumor growth. Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.) 2012; 11(17):3250-3259