Amy Skubitz, PhD

Professor, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology

Amy Skubitz

Contact Info

Office Phone 612-625-5920

Fax 612-625-1121

Office Address:
MMC 395 Mayo
420 Delaware
Minneapolis, MN 55455

University of Minnesota (Laboratory Medicine and Pathology), 1988

PhD, Johns Hopkins University (Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics), 1984

BS, University of Maryland (Biochemistry), 1980


Awards & Recognition

  • Postdoctoral Fellowship Award, American Cancer Society, 1986 - 1988
  • National Research Service Award, National Institutes of Health, 1986
  • Noxell Foundation Scholarship, University of Maryland, 1979 - 1980
  • Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Scholarship , University of Maryland, 1979
  • Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society, University of Maryland, 1979
  • Phi Sigma Phi National Honor Society, University of Maryland, 1979
  • General Honors Program, University of Maryland, 1976 - 1980
  • Dean's List Scholar, University of Maryland, 1976 - 1980
  • Bowie Woman's Club Scholarship , University of Maryland, 1976 - 1977


Research Summary/Interests

Dr. Skubitz is Professor of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women's Health, and Director of the Ovarian Cancer Early Detection Program. Her studies of cell adhesion molecules and receptors laid the foundation for her current research into how ovarian cancer cells adhere to the extracellular matrix, to each other, and to cells that line the peritoneal cavity, which contains the ovaries. In ovarian cancer, tumor cells are shed from the surface of the ovaries into the surrounding peritoneal fluid (ascites) and form multi-cellular aggregates or spheroids. 

Ovarian cancer is marked by localized cell adhesion and invasion, typically involving neighboring organs in the peritoneal cavity. Skubitz and her colleagues have studied proteins known to be involved in cell adhesion, including laminin, fibronectin, type IV collagen, and integrins and also the carbohydrate hyaluronan and its receptor CD44. They employed gene expression microarray technology to analyze more than a thousand different tumor and normal tissues in a search for biomarkers for ovarian cancer. They identified Nectin-4, a cell-cell adhesion molecule that can be shed from the ovarian cancer cell surface and enter the bloodstream, suggesting that Nectin-4 could potentially serve as both a tissue and serum marker for ovarian cancer. Ongoing studies are focused on elucidating the biological role of Nectin-4 in ovarian cancer progression.

In related research, Skubitz is analyzing fluid samples from human Pap tests for evidence of ovarian cancer. Her hypothesis is that proteins or peptides can be shed from the ovarian tumor, pass through the fallopian tubes and enter the cervix, where they could potentially be detectable in fluid collected in a standard Pap test. Mass spectrometry is being used to identify and quantify ovarian cancer specific protein markers.


PubMed publications

Selected publications since 2004

  • Buchanan, P.C., Boylan, K.L.M., Walcheck, B., Heinze, R., Geller, M.A., Argenta, P.A., and Skubitz, A.P.N. (2017) Ectodomain shedding of the cell adhesion molecule Nectin-4 in ovarian cancer is mediated by ADAM10 and ADAM17. Journal of Biological Chemistry 292(15):6339-6351.
  • Felices M, Chu S, Kodal B, Bendzick L, Ryan C, Lenvik AJ, Boylan KL, Wong HC, Skubitz AP, Miller JS, Geller MA. IL-15 super-agonist (ALT-803) enhances natural killer (NK) cell function against ovarian cancer. Gynecol Oncol. 2017 Feb 21. pii: S0090-8258(17)30149-X. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2017.02.028. [Epub ahead of print] PMID:28236454
  • Boylan, K.L.M., Buchanan, P.C., Manion, R. D., Shukla, D.M., Braumberger, K., Bruggemeyer, C., and Skubitz, A.P.N. (2017) The expression of Nectin-4 on the surface of ovarian cancer cells alters their ability to adhere, migrate, aggregate, and proliferation. Oncotarget 8(6):9717-9738.
  • Hubel, A., Spindler, R., Skubitz, A.P.N. (2014) Storage of biospecimens: Selection of the optimal storage temperature. Biopreservation and Biobanking 12(3):1-11. PMID: 24918763
  • Boylan, K.L.M., Afiuni-Zadeh, S., Geller, M.A., Hickey, K., Griffin, T.J., Pambuccian, S.E., and Skubitz, A.P.N. (2014) A feasibility study to identify proteins in the residual Pap test fluid of women with normal cytology by mass spectrometry-based proteomics. Clinical Proteomics 11:30.
  • Skubitz, A.P.N., Taras, E. P., Boylan, K.L.M., Waldron, N.N., Oh, S. Panoskaltsis-Mortari, A.,and Vallera, D.A. (2013) Targeting CD133 in an in vivo ovarian cancer model reduces ovarian cancer progression. Gynecologic Oncology 130:579–587.
  • Betsou F, Lehmann S, Ashton G, Barnes M, Benson EE, Coppola D, DeSouza Y, Eliason J, Glazer B, Guadagni F, Harding K, Horsfall DJ, Kleeberger C, Nanni U, Prasad A, Shea K, Skubitz A, Somiari S, Gunter E. [Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers Prevention 2010 Apr;19(4):1004-11.
  • Boylan, K.L.M., Andersen, J.D., Anderson, L.B., Higgins, L., and Skubitz, A.P.N. Quantitative proteomic analysis by iTRAQ® for the identification of candidate biomarkers in ovarian cancer serum. Proteome Science 2010 8:31-39.
  • Andersen, J.D., Boylan, K.L.M., Jemmerson, R., Geller, M.A., Misemer, B., Harrington, K.M., Weivoda, S., Witthuhn, B.A., Argenta, P., Vogel, R.I., and Skubitz, A.P.N. Leucine-rich alpha-2-glycoprotein-1 is upregulated in sera and tumors of ovarian cancer patients. Journal of Ovarian Research 2010 3:21-34.
  • DeRycke M.S., Pambuccian S.E., Gilks C.B., Kalloger S.E., Ghidouche A., Lopez M., Bliss R.L., Geller M.A., Argenta P.A., Harrington K.M., and Skubitz A.P.N. Nectin 4 overexpression in ovarian cancer tissues and serum: Potential role as a serum biomarker. American Journal of Clinical Pathology 2010 134:835-845.
  • Andersen JD, Boylan KL, Xue FS, Anderson LB, Witthuhn BA, Markowski TW, Higgins L, Skubitz AP. Identification of candidate biomarkers in ovarian cancer serum by depletion of highly abundant proteins and differential in-gel electrophoresis. Electrophoresis. 2010 Jan;31(4):599-610.
  • DeRycke MS, Andersen JD, Harrington KM, Pambuccian SE, Kalloger SE, Boylan KL, Argenta PA,Skubitz AP. S100A1 expression in ovarian and endometrial endometrioid carcinomas is a prognostic indicator of relapse-free survival. Am J Clin Pathol. 2009 Dec;132(6):846-56.
  • Betsou, F., Barnes, R., Burke, T., Coppola, D., DeSouza, Y., Eliason, J., Glazer, B., Horsfall, D., Kleeberger, C., Lehmann, S., Prasad, A., Skubitz, A., Somiari, S., Gunter E. Human biospecimen research: Experimental protocol and quality control tools [Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers Prevention 18:1017-1025.
  • Pitt, K.E. (Editor-in-Chief), Campbell, L.D., Skubitz, A.P.N., Somiari, S.B., Sexton, K.C., and Pugh, R.S. (Associate Editors) 2008 Best practices for repositories: Collection, storage, retrieval, and distribution of biological materials for research. Cell Preservation Technology 6(1):3-58.
  • Skubitz KM, Skubitz AP. Interdependency of CEACAM-1, -3, -6, and -8 induced human neutrophil adhesion to endothelial cells. J Transl Med. 2008 Dec 10;6:78.
  • Skubitz KM, Pambuccian S, Manivel JC, Skubitz AP. Identification of heterogeneity among soft tissue sarcomas by gene expression profiles from different tumors. J Transl Med. 2008 May 6;6:23.
  • Tchagang AB, Tewfik AH, DeRycke MS, Skubitz KM, Skubitz APN. Early detection of ovarian cancer using group biomarkers. Mol Cancer Ther. 2008;7:27-37.
  • Burleson KM, Boente MP, Pambuccian SE, Skubitz APN. Disaggregation and invasion of ovarian carcinoma ascites spheroids. J Transl Med. 2006;4:6.
  • Skubitz KM, Zimmerman W, Kammerer R, Pambuccian S, Skubitz APN. Differential gene expression identifies subgroups of renal cell carcinoma. J Lab Clin Med. 2006;147:250-267.
  • Skubitz APN, Pambuccian SE, Argenta PA, Skubitz KM. Differential gene expression identifies subgroups of ovarian carcinoma. Transl Res. 2006;148:223-248.
  • Iida J, Skubitz APN, McCarthy JB, Skubitz KM. Protein kinase activity is associated with CD63 in melanoma cells. J Transl Med. 2005;3:42-50.
  • Skubitz, K.M., Cheng, E.Y., Clohisy, D.R., Thompson, R.C., and Skubitz, A. (2005) Differential gene expression in liposarcoma, lipoma, and adipose tissue. Cancer Invest. 23:105-118.
  • Hibbs K, Skubitz KM, Pambuccian S, Casey RC, Burleson KM, Oegema TR Jr, Thiele JJ, Grindle SM, Bliss R, Skubitz APN. Differential gene expression in ovarian carcinoma: Identification of potential biomarkers. Am J Path. 2004;165:397-414.
  • Skubitz, K.M. and Skubitz, A.P.N. (2004) Gene expression in aggressive fibromatosis. J. Lab. Clin. Med. 143:89-98.
  • Burleson, K.M., Casey, R.C., Skubitz, K.M., Pambuccian, S.E., Oegema, T.R., and Skubitz, A.P.N. (2004) Ovarian carcinoma ascites spheroids adhere to extracellular matrix components and mesothelial cell monolayers. Gynecologic Oncology 93:170-181.
  • Skubitz, K.M., and Skubitz, A.P.N. (2004) Characterization of sarcomas by means of gene expression. J. Lab. Clin. Med. 144:78-91.
  • Skubitz KM, Cheng EY, Clohisy DR, Thompson RC, Skubitz A.P.N. Gene expression in giant-cell tumors. J. Lab Clin Med. 2004.144:193-200.
  • Hibbs, K., Skubitz, K.M, Pambuccian, S.E., Casey, R.C., Burleson, K.M, Oegema, T.R., Thiele, J.J., Grindle, S.M., Bliss, R.L., and Skubitz, A.P.N. (2004) Differential gene expression in ovarian carcinoma: Identification of potential biomarkers. Amer. J. Pathol. 165(2):397-414.
  • Skubitz, K.M. and Skubitz, A.P.N. (2004) Role of gene expression arrays in sarcomas. Current Oncology Reports 6:309-314.
  • Skubitz, K.M., Cheng, E.Y., Clohisy, D.R., Thompson, R.C., and Skubitz, A.P.N. (2004) Gene expression in giant-cell tumors. J. Lab. Clin. Med. 144:193-200.
  • Burleson, K.M., Hansen, L.K., Skubitz, A.P.N. (2004) Ovarian carcinoma spheroids disaggregate on type I collagen and invade live human mesothelial cell monolayers. Clin. & Exper. Metast. 21:685-697.


Academic Interests and Focus

Dr. Skubitz is Director of the Ovarian Cancer Early Detection Program