Department of Biopharmaceutical Sciences

College of Pharmacy

Debra A. Tonetti, Ph.D.

Debra A. Tonetti, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Pharmacology

Contact Information
833 South Wood Street
451 PHARM, MC 865
Chicago, IL 60612-7231
Office: (312) 413-1169
Fax: (312) 996-1698


Ph.D. - Loyola University of Chicago - 1990

Research Interests

Protein Kinase C signaling as a mechanism of tamoxifen-resistant
breast cancer
(Related Publications)

Pregnancy Associated Breast Cancer
(Related Publications)

Interaction of soy phytoestrogens with tamoxifen for the chemoprevention of breast cancer
(Related Publications)



Weiss MS, Peñalver Bernabé, Shin S, Asztalos S, Dubbury SJ, Mui MD, Bellis AD, Bluver D, Tonetti DA, Saez-Rodriguez J, Broadbelt LJ, Jeruss JS, and Shea LD. Dynamic transcription factor activity and networks during ErbB2 breast oncogenesis and targeted therapy. Integr Biol (Camb). 2014. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 25303361.

Stanford JC, Young C, Hicks D, Owens P, Williams A, Vaught DB, Morrison MM, Lim J, Williams M, Brantley-Sieders DM, Balko JM, Tonetti D, Earp HS 3rd and Cook RS. Efferocytosis produces a prometastatic landscape during postpartum mammary gland involution. J Clin Invest. 2014; pii: 76375. doi: 10.1172/JCI76375. [Epub ahead of print]

Molloy ME, Perez White BE, Gherezghiher T, Michalsen BT, Xiong R, Patel H, Zhao H, Maximov PY, Jordan VC Obe, Thatcher GR and Tonetti DA. Novel Selective Estrogen Mimics for the Treatment of Tamoxifen-Resistant Breast Cancer. Mol Cancer Ther. 2014; pii: molcanther.0319.2014. [Epub ahead of print]

Peng M, Emmadi R, Wang Z, Wiley EL, Gann PH, Khan SA, Banerji N, McDonald W, Asztalos S, Pham TN, Tonetti DA and Tyner AL. PTK6/BRK is expressed in the normal mammary gland and activated at the plasma membrane in breast tumors. Oncotarget. 2014;5(15):6038-48.

Yun, J, Rizzo, P, Pannuti, A., Zhu, H., Hicks, C, Zhu, X., D'Souza, G., Backus, K., Denning, MF, Coon, J, Sun, M., Bresnick, EH, Osipo, C., Wu, J, Strack, P.R., Tonetti, DA and Miele, L. PKCα causes estrogen-independent breast cancer cell growth via AP-1/ Notch-4/cyclin D1pathway. Oncogenesis. 2013; Aug 5;2:e60.

Zheng,Y., Wang, Z., Bie, W., Brauer, P., Perez White, B., Li, J., Nogueira,V., Raychaudhuri, P., Hay, N., Tonetti, D. Macias, V., Kajdacsy-Balla, A.and Angela Tyner. Activation of Protein Tyrosine Kinase 6 at the Membrane Regulates the Epithelial Mesenchymal Transition in Prostate Cancer. Cancer Research. 2013; 73(17):5426-37.

Perez White, BE., Molloy, ME., Zhang, Y., Zhao, H., and Tonetti, DA, "Extranuclear ERa is Associated With Regression of PKCa -Overexpressing Tamoxifen-Resistant Breast Cancer,", Molecular Cancer. 2013; 12(1):34.

Debra A. Tonetti, Weihua Gao, Diana Escarzaga, Kelly Walters, April Szafran, and John S. Coon, "PKC and ER Are Associated with Triple-Negative Breast Cancers in African American and Caucasian Patients," International Journal of Breast Cancer, vol.2012, Article ID 740353, 9 pages, 2012. doi:10.1155/2012/740353

Halasi M, Zhao H, Dahari H, Bhat U, Gonzalez E, Lyubimo A, Tonetti DA, Gartel A Thiazole antibiotics against breast cancer. Cell Cycle. 2010 Mar 15;9(6). [Epub ahead of print]

Asztalos S, Gann PH, Hayes MK, Nonn L, Beam CA, Dai Y, Wiley EL, Tonetti DA. Gene expression patterns in the human breast after pregnancy. Cancer Prev Res (Phila Pa). 2010 Mar;3(3):301-11. Epub 2010 Feb 23. DOI

Kim HY, Sohn J, Wijewickrama GT, Edirisinghe P, Gherezghiher T, Hemachandra M, Lu PY, Chandrasena RE, Molloy ME, Tonetti DA, Thatcher GR. Click synthesis of estradiol-cyclodextrin conjugates as cell compartment selective estrogens.. Bioorg Med Chem. 2010 Jan 15;18(2):809-21. Epub 2009 Nov 27. DOI

Zhang Y, Zhao H, Asztalos S, Chisamore M.J, Sitabkhan Y, Tonetti DA. 2009. Estradiol-Induced Regression in T47D:A18/PKC Tumors Requires the Estrogen Receptor and Interaction with the Extracellular Matrix. Mol Cancer Res. 2009 April; 7(4); 498-510.

Rizzo P, Miao H, D'Souza G, Osipo C, Song LL, Yun J, Zhao H, Mascarenhas J, Wyatt D, Antico G, Hao L, Yao K, Rajan P, Hicks C, Siziopikou K, Selvaggi S, Bashir A, Bhandari D, Marchese A, Lendahl U, Qin JZ, Tonetti DA, Albain K, Nickoloff BJ, Miele L. Cross-talk between notch and the estrogen receptor in breast cancer suggests novel therapeutic approaches. Cancer Res. 2008 Jul 1;68(13):5226-35. Erratum in: Cancer Res. 2008 Sep 1;68(17):7246. Song, Lynda L [added]. DOI

Tonetti DA, Zhang Y, Zhao H, Lim SB, Constantinou AI. The Effect of the Phytoestrogens Genistein, Daidzein, and Equol on the Growth of Tamoxifen-Resistant T47D/PKCalpha. Nutr Cancer. 2007;58(2):222-9.

Lin X, Yu Y, Zhao H, Zhang Y, Manela J, Tonetti DA. Overexpression of PKC{alpha} is required to impart estradiol inhibition and tamoxifen-resistance in a T47D human breast cancer tumor model. Carcinogenesis. 2006 Aug;27(8):1538-46. Epub 2006 Mar 2. DOI

Constantinou AI, White BE, Tonetti DA, Yang Y, Liang W, Li W, van Breemen RB. The soy isoflavone daidzein improves the capacity of tamoxifen to prevent mammary tumours. Eur J Cancer. 2005 Mar;41(4):647-54. Epub 2005 Jan 18. DOI

Peng X, Mehta RG, Tonetti DA, Christov K. Identification of novel RARbeta2 transcript variants with short 5'-UTRs in normal and cancerous breast epithelial cells. Oncogene. 2005 Feb 10; 24(7): 1296-301. Epub 2004 Nov 22. DOI

Ee PL, Kamalakaran S, Tonetti DA, He X, Ross DD, Beck WT. Identification of a novel estrogen response element in the breast cancer resistance protein (ABCG2) gene. Cancer Res. 2004;64(4):1247-51. DOI

Tonetti DA. Prevention of breast cancer by recapitulation of pregnancy hormone levels. Breast Cancer Res. 2004;6(1):E8. DOI

Courses taught

Phar 404 course coordinator, Principles of Action and Therapeutics, IV
BPS 502 course co-coordinator, BPS I
Phar 321 Drug Delivery Systems I
BPS 594 Pharmacognomics