School of Medicine

Wayne State University School of Medicine


R. Daniel Bonfil, Ph.D.
Professor of Urology, Pathology, and Oncology
Wayne State University - School of Medicine
Scott Hall, 9105
540 E. Canfield
Detroit, MI 48201
Phone: (313) 577-2879
Fax (313) 577-0057

My major research goal is to elucidate the molecular events responsible for the establishment and expansion of the metastatic deposit of prostate cancer cells in the bone microenvironment.  I currently direct the basic research laboratory of prostate cancer bone metastasis, and actively collaborate with clinicians to conduct translational studies. We have demonstrated for the first time the contribution of tumor-associated membrane type 1-matrix metalloproteinase (MT1-MMP) to intraosseous tumor growth and bone remodeling, and to proteolytic shedding of membrane-anchored receptor activator of nuclear factor-κB ligand (RANKL) expressed by prostate cancer cells.  During the last years, we focused on the role of different receptor tyrosine kinases in prostate and breast cancer bone metastasis, both in individual and collaborative projects.  My laboratory is actively involved in molecular profiling of circulating tumor cells and micrometastasis, and the study of mechanisms underlying exit of bone-resident cancer cells from dormancy, with the ultimate goal of identifying novel predictive and prognostic biomarkers and potential therapeutic targets in metastatic prostate and breast cancer. 

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Education and Training

M.Sc. (1981), Ph.D. (1986): University of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Postdoctoral Fellowship (1996-1988): Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA, USA, in the field of Cancer Biology

Professional Experience

Other Experience and Professional Memberships

  • 1998- Active Member, American Association for Cancer Research
  • 2000- Member, Metastasis Research Society.
  • 1990- Member, Argentine Society of Clinical Investigation
  • 1991-1993 Scientific Advisor, Oncologic Foundation (FOE), Buenos Aires, Argentina.
  • 1999-2004 Scientific Advisor, Argentine Foundation for Cancer Research (FAIC), Mendoza, Argentina.
  • 2002- Member, Proteases and Cancer Program, Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, Detroit, MI
  • 1998- Reviewer for Grant Funding in Medical Sciences, FONCYT (National Fund for Science and Technology).
  • 1998- Reviewer for Grants, Research Fellowship admissions and Scientific Promotions, CONICET (National Council for Scientific and Technological Research, Argentina).
  • 10/2003 Reviewer for Internal Funding Program, Competing and Mentor Grant Applications, Henry Ford Hospital (Detroit, MI)
  • 10/2004 Reviewer for Internal Funding Program, Competing and Mentor Grant Applications, Henry Ford Hospital (Detroit, MI)
  • 10/2005 Reviewer for Internal Funding Program, Competing and Mentor Grant Applications, Henry Ford Hospital (Detroit, MI)
  • 05/2006 Scientific Reviewer for Scientific Peer Review Breast Cancer Research Program (BCRP), Concept-Pathobiology #1 Study Section, Con-PBY-1, Fiscal Year 2005 United States Department of Defense Prostate Cancer Research Program.
  • 10/2006 Reviewer for Internal Funding Program, Competing and Mentor Grant Applications, Henry Ford Hospital (Detroit, MI).
  • 07/2008 Scientist Reviewer for Breast Cancer Research Program (BCRP), Pathobiology #4 Study Section, United States Department of Defense Prostate Cancer Research Program.
  • 2008- Editorial Board, Current Oncology; Section Editor, Oncologic Pathology
  • 2010- Editorial Board, Prostate Cancer
  • 2010- Editorial Board, American Journal of Cancer Research


  • 1983: Prize "Eufemio Uballes", National Academy of Medicine, Buenos Aires.
  • 1986: Prize "René Barón", Argentine League against Cancer (LALCEC), Buenos Aires.
  • 1990: International Cancer Technology Transfer Fellowship (ICRETT), granted by the International Union against Cancer (UICC), Switzerland.
  • 1992: Research scholar granted by the Ministry of Health of Spain.
  • 2001: First Prize in Biomedical Area, Society of Biology of Rosario, Argentina.  

  • Mainetti, L.E., Zhe, X., Diedrich, J., Saliganan, A.D., Cher, M.L., Heath, E., Kim, H-R.C., Bonfil, R.D. Bone-induced c-kit expression in prostate cancer: a driver of intraosseous tumor growth.  Int. J. Cancer 136: 11-20, 2015. 
  • Dzinic, S.H., Chen, K., Thakur, A., Kaplun, A., Bonfil, R.D., Li, X., Liu, J., Bernardo, M.M., Saliganan, A., Back, J.B., Yano, H., Schalk, D.L., Tomaszewski, E.N., Beydoun, A.S., Dyson, G., Mujagic, A., Krass, D., Dean, I., Mi, Q-S., Heath, E., Sakr, W., Lum, L.G., Sheng, S. Maspin Expression Elicits Anti-tumor Host Immunity.  Oncotarget 5: 11225-36, 2014. 
  • Fridman, R., Benton, G., Aranoutova, I., Kleinman, H.K., Bonfil, R.D.    Increased initiation and growth of tumor cell lines, cancer stem cells, and biopsy material in mice using basement membrane matrix protein (Cultrex®/Matrigel™) coinjection.  Nature Protocols 7: 1138-44, 2012. (Role: wrote the manuscript with R.F., R.D.B., G.B. and I.A., and performed the experiments and optimized certain aspects of the procedure).
  • Najy, A.J., Jung, Y.S., Won, J.J., Conley-LaComb, M.K., Saliganan, A.,Kim, C.J., Heath, E., Cher, M.L., Bonfil, R.D., Kim, H-R. C. Cediranib inhibits both the Intraosseous Growth of PDGF D positive prostate cancer cells and the associated bone reaction.  Prostate 72: 1328-38, 2012.
  • Sabbota, A.L., Kim, H-R.C., Zhe, X., Fridman, R., Bonfil, R.D., Cher, M.L. Shedding of RANKL by Tumor-Associated MT1-MMP Activates Src-dependent Prostate Cancer Cell Migration. Cancer Res. 70: 5558-5566, 2010.
  • Wiesner, C., Nabha, S. M., Dos Santos, E. B., Yamamoto, H., Meng, H., Melchior, S. W., Bittinger, F., Thüroff, J. W., Vessella, R. L., Cher, M. L., Bonfil, R. D.  C-Kit and Its Ligand Stem Cell Factor: Potential Contribution to Prostate Cancer Bone Metastasis. Neoplasia  10: 996-1003, 2008 (Role: senior author, responsible for the scientific content of the work, writing, editing and proofing the entire paper).
  • Bonfil, R. D., Dong, Z., Trindade Filho, J. C., Sabbota, A., Osenkowski, P., Nabha, S., Yamamoto, H., Chinni, S. R., Zhao, H., Mobashery, S., Vessella, R. L., Fridman, R., Cher, M. L.  Prostate cancer-associated membrane type-1 matrix metalloproteinase: its pivotal role in bone response and intraosseous tumor growth Am. J. Pathol. 170: 2100-11, 2007.


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