Scott Tomlins, MD, PhD

Associate Professor, Departments of Pathology and Urology
Member, Michigan Center for Translational Pathology


Scott A. Tomlins, M.D., Ph.D., obtained his M.D. and Ph.D. at the University of Michigan Medical School (UMMS). His thesis, completed under the mentorship of Arul Chinnaiyan, M.D., Ph.D., described the identification and characterization of recurrent ETS gene fusions in prostate cancer. He completed residency in Anatomic Pathology at the University of Michigan Health System in June 2012 and is an Assistant Professor of Pathology and Urology, and a member of the Michigan Center for Translational Pathology (MCTP) at UMMS. Dr. Tomlins is an active member of the diagnostic Genitourinary Pathology service and principal investigator of a lab funded by the NIH, Department of Defense and the Prostate Cancer Foundation. He has co-authored over 100 manuscripts, focusing on the integrative analysis, functional characterization and clinical translation of cancer genomics. He led the first exome sequencing based study of castration resistant prostate cancer and more recently has focused on the development, validation and application of broadly applicable precision oncology approaches. In 2013, in recognition of his work in the molecular pathology of prostate cancer, he was awarded the inaugural AAAS Martin and Rose Wachtel Cancer Research Award for Young Investigators.

Research Interests

Dr. Tomlins' research has focused on using high-throughput techniques to characterize the cancer genome and transcriptome to identify cancer-specific aberrations to better understand cancer biology and identify clinically relevant biomarkers and therapeutic targets. My most important contribution has been discovering TMPRSS2:ETS gene fusions in prostate cancer, which play a fundamental role in prostate cancer development and have potential as biomarkers for early detection, risk stratification and therapeutic targeting. This finding was the basis for efforts to molecularly subclassify prostate cancer, which also incorporates additional gene fusions we identified as well as a subtype over-expressing SPINK1, a protease which may be targeted therapeutically. My ongoing research involves further characterizing molecular subtypes of prostate cancer and identifying diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers that can be clinically translated. In addition to prostate cancer, I am interested in characterizing the molecular pathology of other genitourinary malignancies, breast cancer and adrenocortical carcinomas using high throughput technologies and precision medicine approaches.


Clonal evaluation of prostate cancer foci in biopsies with discontinuous tumor involvement by dual ERG/SPINK1 immunohistochemistry. Fontugne J, Davis K, Palanisamy N, Udager A, Mehra R, McDaniel AS, Siddiqui J, Rubin MA, Mosquera JM, Tomlins SA. Mod Pathol. 2016 Feb;29(2):157-65. doi: 10.1038/modpathol.2015.148. Epub 2016 Jan 8. PMC4732921

Genomic Profiling of Penile Squamous Cell Carcinoma Reveals New Opportunities for Targeted Therapy.
McDaniel AS, Hovelson DH, Cani AK, Liu CJ, Zhai Y, Zhang Y, Weizer AZ, Mehra R, Feng FY, Alva AS, Morgan TM, Montgomery JS, Siddiqui J, Sadis S, Bandla S, Williams PD, Cho KR, Rhodes DR, Tomlins SA. Cancer Res. 2015 Dec 15;75(24):5219-27. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-15-1004. PMID: 26670561 [PubMed - in process]

The Molecular Taxonomy of Primary Prostate Cancer. Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network. Cell. 2015 Nov 5;163(4):1011-25. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2015.10.025. PMC4695400

Aldosterone-stimulating somatic gene mutations are common in normal adrenal glands. Nishimoto K, Tomlins SA, Kuick R, Cani AK, Giordano TJ, Hovelson DH, Liu CJ, Sanjanwala AR, Edwards MA, Gomez-Sanchez CE, Nanba K, Rainey WE. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Aug 18;112(33):E4591-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1505529112. Epub 2015 Aug 3. PMC4547250 Free PMC Article

Next-Generation Sequencing of Tubal Intraepithelial Carcinomas. McDaniel AS, Stall JN, Hovelson DH, Cani AK, Liu CJ, Tomlins SA, Cho KR. JAMA Oncol. 2015 Nov;1(8):1128-32. doi: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2015.1618. PMID: 26181193 [PubMed - in process]

Urine TMPRSS2:ERG Plus PCA3 for Individualized Prostate Cancer Risk Assessment. Tomlins SA, Day JR, Lonigro RJ, Hovelson DH, Siddiqui J, Kunju LP, Dunn RL, Meyer S, Hodge P, Groskopf J, Wei JT, Chinnaiyan AM. Eur Urol. 2015 May 15. pii: S0302-2838(15)00397-8. doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2015.04.039. [Epub ahead of print] PMC4644724

Characterization of 1577 primary prostate cancers reveals novel biological and clinicopathologic insights into molecular subtypes.
Tomlins SA, Alshalalfa M, Davicioni E, Erho N, Yousefi K, Zhao S, Haddad Z, Den RB, Dicker AP, Trock BJ, DeMarzo AM, Ross AE, Schaeffer EM, Klein EA, Magi-Galluzzi C, Karnes RJ, Jenkins RB, Feng FY. Eur Urol. 2015 Oct;68(4):555-67. doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2015.04.033. Epub 2015 May 8. PMC4562381

Development and validation of a scalable next-generation sequencing system for assessing relevant somatic variants in solid tumors. Hovelson DH, McDaniel AS, Cani AK, Johnson B, Rhodes K, Williams PD, Bandla S, Bien G, Choppa P, Hyland F, Gottimukkala R, Liu G, Manivannan M, Schageman J, Ballesteros-Villagrana E, Grasso CS, Quist MJ, Yadati V, Amin A, Siddiqui J, Betz BL, Knudsen KE, Cooney KA, Feng FY, Roh MH, Nelson PS, Liu CJ, Beer DG, Wyngaard P, Chinnaiyan AM, Sadis S, Rhodes DR, Tomlins SA. Neoplasia. 2015 Apr;17(4):385-99. doi: 10.1016/j.neo.2015.03.004. PMC4415141 

Integrative molecular profiling of routine clinical prostate cancer specimens. Grasso CS, Cani AK, Hovelson DH, Quist MJ, Douville NJ, Yadati V, Amin AM, Nelson PS, Betz BL, Liu CJ, Knudsen KE, Cooney KA, Feng FY, McDaniel AS, Tomlins SA. Ann Oncol. 2015 Jun;26(6):1110-8. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdv134. Epub 2015 Mar 3. PMC4516047

Next-Gen Sequencing Exposes Frequent MED12 Mutations and Actionable Therapeutic Targets in Phyllodes Tumors. Cani AK, Hovelson DH, McDaniel AS, Sadis S, Haller MJ, Yadati V, Amin AM, Bratley J, Bandla S, Williams PD, Rhodes K, Liu CJ, Quist MJ, Rhodes DR, Grasso CS, Kleer CG, Tomlins SA. Mol Cancer Res. 2015 Apr;13(4):613-9. doi: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-14-0578. Epub 2015 Jan 15. PMID: 25593300 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]