J. Thomas Pento, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus

Pharmaceutical Sciences

Phone (405) 271-6593 x47244

Fax (405) 271-7505

Office CPB 325

Email tom-pento@ouhsc.edu


Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer found in women and results in the death of approximately 46,000 women each year in the US. An important characteristic of tumor malignancy and the major cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with cancer is the ability of tumor cells to metastasize and spread to distant sites in the body. Thus, a major focus of the research in my laboratory over the past 40 years has been the development of chemopreventive strategies designed to control or prevent the metastatic process. In this research we have developed unique models of cellular metastasis which are employed to study tumor cell motility and the metastatic process; compared the antimetastatic activity of candidate antiestrogenic compounds using human breast cancer cell lines; examined mechanisms of breast cancer cell motility and changes in tumor cell morphology; identified endogenous growth factors that enhance tumor cell motility and metastasis and identified novel therapeutic targets for the treatment or prevention of cancer metastasis.

Based on the results of our previous studies with Keratinocyte Growth Factor (KGF), and the existing literature, it appears that KGF would be an ideal therapeutic target, since it is produced by stromal tissue surrounding breast tumors, appears to be involved in premalignant progression of breast epithelial cells and may act as an early signal in tumor cell proliferation and the initiation of the metastatic process. We have shown that KGF produces massive stimulation of human breast cancer cells in culture and metastatic development in nude mouse xenografts. These results indicate that KGF is an early signal in the progression and metastatic development of breast cancer, and thus inhibition of KGF/KGFR and related signal transduction would be an ideal and novel therapeutic target.

Publications & Presentations

    76. Pento J. Influence of lanthanum on calcium transport and retention in the rat duodenum. Nutrition and metabolism. 1978; 22 : 362-7

    77. Pento J. Lanthanum inhibition of calcitonin secretion and calcium uptake in porcine thyroid slices. Molecular and cellular endocrinology. 1977; 9 : 223-6

    78. Robinson C P, Choi J J, Pento J. Enhancement of intestinal glucose transport following chronic parathion poisoning. Journal of pharmaceutical sciences. 1977; 66 : 879-80

    79. Pento J, Waite L C, Tracy P J, Kenny A D. Adaptation to calcium deprivation in the rat: effects of parathyroidectomy. The American journal of physiology. 1977; 232 : E336-42

    80. Pento J. Diphenylhydantoin inhibition of pentagastrin-stimulated calcitonin secretion in the pig. Hormone and metabolic research = Hormon- und Stoffwechselforschung = Hormones et metabolisme. 1976; 8 : 399-401


    1. Selective KGFR Antagonists for the prevention of cancer metastasis. NIH. Start Date: 2008. End Date: 2010.

Awards and Honors

no results


                                                                                            1.  Degree: Ph D. University of Missouri. Date: 1970.  

                                                                                            2.  Degree: MS. West Virginia University. Date: 1967.  

                                                                                            3.  Degree: BA. West Virginia University. Date: 1965.  

Administrative Assignments


    1. Role: Department Chairperson. Scope: Department. Description: Served as Chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Responsible for the administration of the Department. Date: 2000.


    2. Role: Department Chairperson. Scope: Department. Description: Served as head of the Division of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacodynamics. Responsible for the administration of this academic division of the College of Pharmacy. Date: 1982.


    3. Role: Department Chairperson. Scope: Department. Description: Served as Sction Chief, Responsible for the administration of the Division of Phramacodynamics and Toxicology. Date: 1979.