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Francine Dembitzer

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  • Anatomic Pathology


  • MD, Mount Sinai School of Medicine

  • Residency, Pathology
    Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center

  • Residency, Pathology
    New York University Medical Center

  • Residency, Pathology
    Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Ctr.

  • Fellowship, Pediatric Pathology
    Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Ctr.

  • Fellowship, Cytopathology
    Mount Sinai School of Medicine

  • Fellowship, Clinical Hematology
    Mount Sinai School of Medicine


Research Interests:


Biomarkers of Malignancy

The gC1qR is a multifunctional cellular protein which interacts with components of complement, kinin, and coagulation cascades, and select microbial pathogens. It is a ubiquitously expressed, highly anionic cellular protein of 33kDA that was initially identified and characterized as a receptor for the globular heads of C1q, localized predominantly to the mitochondrial matrix but is also found in other cellular compartments, including the endoplasmic reticulum and nucleus, as well as the cell surface, where it may be associated with lipid rafts.  Although the biologic significance of gC1qR’s multi-departmental distribution is yet to be elucidated, the relevance of gC1qR as an important modulator of ligands both inside and outside the cell is recognized increasingly.

Several binding partners have been identified for cell surface gC1qR, including C1q and high molecular weight kininogen.  Interaction of these ligands with gC1qR leads to classical complement pathway activation with generation of inflammatory cytokines, cell adhesion, and activation of the kinin system with production of bradykinin and consequent vascular permeability, respectively.  It has also been demonstrated that the C-terminal cytoplasmic tail of membrane type-1 metalloproteinase (MT1-MMP), a key enzyme primarily recruited to the leading edge of migrating tumor cells, binds gC1qR.  Although a direct functional link between these two proteins remains to be established, this observation suggests that the transient association of gC1qR with MT1-MMP may be involved in mechanisms regulating the presentation of MT1-MMP at the surface of tumor cells.  In this regard, enhanced gC1qR expression has been described in human cancers, particularly in adenocarcinomas.

In collaboration with Dr. Ellinor Peerschke of and Dr. Berhane Ghebrehiwet of Stony Brook, the role of gC1qR in different human tissues is the focus of our research effort. Most recently, we have compared gC1qR expression in normal, inflammatory, dysplastic and malignant tissues of both epithelial and mesenchymal origin employing immunohistochemical techniques. Malignancies of epithelial derivation demonstrated marked expression, suggesting a role for gC1qR as a potential new diagnostic and therapeutic target. Beyond that, our data demonstrate expression in normal/benign proliferating and continuously dividing cells, as well as in inflammatory lesions, suggesting a potential link between gC1qR expression and cell replication and activation.

Presently, we are working on the definitive localization of gC1qR in the cell employing EM and immunofluorescent techniques in order to better understand the role of gC1qR in different cellular processes, both normal and pathologic.  In addition, we are working to define the mechanisms of up and down regulation of this protein which we believe to be part of the immunohistochemical signature of epithelial malignancies.


Dembitzer FR, Ledford Kraemer MR, Meijer P, Peerschke EI. Lupus anticoagulant testing: performance and practices by north american clinical laboratories. American journal of clinical pathology 2010 Nov; 134(5).

Dembitzer FR, Suarez Y, Aledort LM, Peerschke EI. Screening coagulation testing using the APTT: which reagent to choose?. American journal of hematology 2010 Sep; 85(9).

Shaw JP, Dembitzer FR, Wisnivesky JP, Litle VR, Weiser TS, Yun J, Chin C, Swanson SJ. Video-assisted thoracoscopic lobectomy: state of the art and future directions. The Annals of thoracic surgery 2008 Feb; 85(2).

Burstein DE, Oami S, Dembitzer F, Chu C, Cernaianu G, Leytin A, Misilim E, Jammula SR, Strauchen J, Kohtz DS. Monoclonal antibody specific for histone H1 phosphorylated by cyclin-dependent kinases: a novel immunohistochemical probe of proliferation and neoplasia. Modern pathology : an official journal of the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology, Inc 2002 Jul; 15(7).

Dembitzer FR, Kinoshita Y, Burstein D, Phelps RG, Beasley MB, Garcia R, Harpaz N, Jaffer S, Thung SN, Unger PD, Ghebrehiwet B, Peerschke EI. gC1qR Expression in Normal and Pathologic Human Tissues: Differential Expression in Tissues of Epithelial and Mesenchymal Origin. The journal of histochemistry and cytochemistry : official journal of the Histochemistry Society 2012 Jun; 60(6).

Fritsma GA, Dembitzer FR, Randhawa A, Marques MB, Van Cott EM, Adcock-Funk D, Peerschke EI. Recommendations for appropriate activated partial thromboplastin time reagent selection and utilization. American journal of clinical pathology 2012 Jun; 137(6).

Industry Relationships

Physicians and scientists on the faculty of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai often interact with pharmaceutical, device and biotechnology companies to improve patient care, develop new therapies and achieve scientific breakthroughs. In order to promote an ethical and transparent environment for conducting research, providing clinical care and teaching, Mount Sinai requires that salaried faculty inform the School of their relationships with such companies.

Dr. Dembitzer did not report having any of the following types of financial relationships with industry during 2015 and/or 2016: consulting, scientific advisory board, industry-sponsored lectures, service on Board of Directors, participation on industry-sponsored committees, equity ownership valued at greater than 5% of a publicly traded company or any value in a privately held company. Please note that this information may differ from information posted on corporate sites due to timing or classification differences.

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