Michelle M. Le Beau, PhD

Professor of Medicine, Section of Hematology/Oncology

Director, The University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center

Director, Cancer Cytogenetics Laboratory

Dr. Michelle Le Beau, as Director of the Cancer Cytogenetics Laboratory since 1985 and an ABMG board-certified clinical cytogeneticist, directs a cancer diagnostics laboratory, which performs cytogenetic analysis of leukemias, lymphomas, and solid tumors. For nearly a decade, Dr. Le Beau served as the head of cytogenetic studies of lymphoma for the Children’s Cancer Group (now COG), and was a member of the Cytogenetics Review Committee for Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB). She also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the American College of Medical Genetics. She was a member of the NIH Pathology B Study Section (1996-2001) and CAMP Study Section (2001-2006), served as the Chair of this Study Section from 2004-2006, and was a member of the NCI Cancer Centers Review Parent Committee (2005-2009). She has served on numerous editorial boards, including Blood, British Journal of Haematology, Leukemia, and Leukemia Research, and served as Associate Editor of Genes, Chromosomes, and Cancer (1989-2005).

Dr. Le Beau is an international leader in cancer cytogenetics and genetics, and is recognized for her work in identifying recurring cytogenetic abnormalities, in defining the clinical, morphological, and cytogenetic subsets of leukemia, in identifying the genetic pathways that lead to myeloid leukemias, and on the application of fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) technology for clinical diagnostics and gene mapping. Much of her work has focused on t-MDS/t-AML. She was appointed as the cancer genetics expert for the 2008 revision of the WHO Classification of Tumours of Haematopoietic and Lymphoid Tissues. Dr. Le Beau has published more than 410 papers on cytogenetic and molecular genetic abnormalities in human leukemias and on the application of FISH technology for clinical diagnostics and gene mapping. She is the principal investigator on an NCI-sponsored Program Project Grant “Etiology of Alkylator-Induced Myeloid Leukemia”, a project leader on a NASA-sponsored NSCOR grant (Radiation-induced t-AML), and a project leader on a Specialized Center for Research (SCOR) grant from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Dr. Le Beau’s research focuses on the molecular analysis of the recurring chromosomal abnormalities in human leukemias and lymphomas, correlating specific abnormalities with morphological and clinical features, and the development of risk-adapted therapy. Ongoing projects include (1) the molecular cloning of a myeloid leukemia-related gene involved in the –5/del(5q) characteristic of therapy-related acute myeloid leukemia (t-AML); (2) genomic profiling and the identification of genetic pathways leading to t-AML, as well as susceptibility alleles for this disease; (3) genetic characterization of murine models recapitulating the genetic mutations in acute myeloid leukemia, identification of secondary, cooperating mutations and genetic pathways, and the application of these models for pre-clinical drug testing; and (4) elucidation of the mechanism for the genetic instability characteristic of chromosomal fragile sites.

Selected Publications from 2010 – 2011

  • Stoddart A, Tennant TR, Fernald AA, Anastasi J, Brodsky FM, Le Beau MM. The clathrin-binding domain of CALM-AF10 alters the phenotype of myeloid neoplasms in mice. Oncogene [Epub ahead of print], 2011.
  • Stoddart A, McNerney ME, Bartom E, Bergerson R, Young DJ, Qian Z, Wang J, Fernald AA, Davis EM, Larson RA, White KP, Le Beau MM. Genetic pathways leading to therapy-related myeloid neoplasms. Mediterr J Hematol Infect Dis 3:e2011019, 2011.
  • Jones L, Wei G, Sevcikova S, Phan V, Jain S, Shieh A, Wong JC, Li M, Dubansky J, Maunakea ML, Ochoa R, Zhu G, Tennant TR, Shannon KM, Lowe SW, Le Beau MM, Kogan SC. Gain of MYC underlies recurrent trisomy of the MYC chromosome in acute promyelocytic leukemia. J Exp Med 207:2581-2594, 2010.
  • Mohrin M, Bourke E, Alexander D, Warr MR, Barry-Holson K, Le Beau MM, Morrison CG, Passegué E. Hematopoietic stem cell quiescence promotes error-prone DNA repair and mutagenesis. Cell Stem Cell 7:174-185, 2010.
  • Godley LA, Njiaju UO, Green M, Weiner H, Lin S, Odenike O, Rich ES, Artz A, Van Besien K, Daugherty CK, Zhang Y, Le Beau MM, Stock W, Larson RA. Treatment of therapy-related myeloid neoplasms with high-dose cytarabine/mitoxantrone followed by hematopoietic stem cell transplant. Leuk Lymphoma 51:995-1006, 2010.
  • Wong JC, Zhang Y, Lieuw KH, Tran MT, Forgo E, Weinfurtner K, Alzamora P, Kogan SC, Akagi K, Wolff L, Le Beau MM, Killeen N, Shannon K. Use of chromosome engineering to model a segmental deletion of chromosome band 7q22 found in myeloid malignancies. Blood 115:4524-4532, 2010.
  • Wang J, Fernald AA, Anastasi J, Le Beau MM, Qian Z. Haploinsufficiency of Apc leads to ineffective hematopoiesis. Blood 115:3481-3488, 2010.
  • Palakodeti A, Lucas I, Jiang Y, Young DJ, Fernald AA, Karrison T, Le Beau MM. Impaired replication dynamics at the FRA3B common fragile site. Hum Mol Genet 19:99-110, 2010.


  • Odenike O, Le Beau MM. The dawn of the molecular era of the myelodysplastic syndromes. N Engl J Med 364:2545-2546, 2011.
  • Godley LA, Cunningham J, Dolan ME, Huang RS, Gurbuxani S, McNerney ME, Larson RA, Leong H, Lussier Y, Onel K, Odenike O, Stock W, White KP, Le Beau MM. An integrated genomic approach to the assessment and treatment of acute myeloid leukemia. Semin Oncol 38:215-224, 2011.
  • Qian Z, Joslin JM, Tennant TR, Reshmi SC, Young DJ, Stoddart A, Larson RA, Le Beau MM. Cytogenetic and genetic pathways in therapy-related acute myeloid leukemia. Chem Biol Interact 184:50-57, 2010.

Selected Presentations

  • “The Molecular Genetics of Therapy-Related Acute Myeloid Leukemia”
    Invited Speaker at Case Western Reserve University, Comprehensive Cancer Center Blood Club
    Cleveland, OH
    September 2010
  • “Molecular Analysis of the Deletions of 5q in Therapy-Related Myeloid Leukemias”
    Invited Speaker at the Specialized Center of Research Retreat, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Cold Spring Harbor National Laboratory
    Cold Spring Harbor, New York
    March 2011
  • “Genetics Pathways Leading to Therapy-Related Myeloid Neoplasms”
    Invited Speaker at the Fourth International Symposium on Secondary Leukemia and Leukemogenesis
    Rome, Italy
    March 2011