Shafaat A. Rabbani

Shafaat Rabbani


Shafaat A. Rabbani, M.D.

Professor, Department of Medicine
McGill University Health Centre, 1001 Decarie Blvd. Room EM1.3232

Montreal, Quebec H4A 3J1

Tel: 514-843-1632

shafaat.rabbani [at]

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Shafaat Rabbani is a Professor of Medicine at McGill University Montreal, Canada. He is also associate member of Departments of Physiology, Oncology and Human Genetics at McGill University Health Centre. Dr. Rabbani received his medical education at King Edward Medical College Lahore Pakistan. His research led to the characterization of Parathyroid Hormone Related Peptide as the main pathogenetic factor responsible of hypercalcemia of malignancy. He developed several syngeneic and xenograft models of breast and prostate cancer which mimicked the ability of these malignancies to metastasize to the skeleton. Pioneering work carried out in his laboratory led to identification Urokinase as a mitogen for cells of the osteoblast phenotype and a key protease involved in tumor invasion, growth, and metastasis. His group was the first to demonstrate the role of DNA methylation as a key molecular mechanism regulating urokinase gene transcription. Dr. Rabbani serves as a reviewer for several high impact journals and on several study sections in Canada and United States. Dr. Rabbani has issued and filed patents in his area of expertise which has continued to be the role of growth factors and proteases in skeletal metastasis. Over the years he has served as a consultant and member if the scientific advisory board of a number biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies in Canada and United States.


Epigenetics, DNA methylation, breast Cancer, prostate Cancer, urokinase, osteoporosis, DNA methylation, parathyroid hormone related peptide

Research or Clinical Activities

Using blood from patients with breast cancer and osteoporosis we are determining the DNA methylation landscape of these patients. The blood based “DNA methylation signatures” will be customized as noninvasive exquisite biomarkers that will be introduced into clinical practice and change the way we predict, diagnose stratify for therapy and follow up the progression of disease.

We are evaluating novel therapeutic and preventive approach to breast cancer metastasis based on blocking DNA demethylation processes using well established xenograft and transgenic models of breast, prostate cancer, and melanoma. Collectively the results from these studies will provide a molecular mechanistic basis for both prevention and treatment of breast cancer which will be translated into human clinical trials.

Our group is developing novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies to block uPA production and its interaction with cell surface uPAR to block tumor growth and metastasis. Using our well- established models of breast and prostate cancer; we are examining the efficacy of various therapeutic strategies to block tumor progression. Additionally, determination of the methylation of uPA and PAI-1 is being developed as a reliable diagnostic and prognostic marker in cancer.

Selected Recent Publications

Mahmood N, Arakelian A, Szyf M, Rabbani SA. Methyl-CpG binding domain protein 2 plays a causal role in breast cancer growth and Metastasis. bioRxiv, 2020.10.06.328989.

Mehdi A, Mehdi, A., Attias, M., Mahmood, N., Arakelian, A., Mihalcioiu, C., Piccirillo, C.A., Szyf, M., and Rabbani, S.A. (2020). Enhanced Anticancer Effect of a Combination of S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) and Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor (ICPi) in a Syngeneic Mouse Model of Advanced Melanoma. Frontiers in Oncology. 2020, 10:

Niaz Mahmood, Ani Arakelian, David Cheishvili, Moshe Szyf and Shafaat A. Rabbani S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) in combination with Decitabine shows enhanced anti-cancer effects in repressing breast cancer growth and metastasis. Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine. 2020,1-16. doi: 10.1111/jcmm.15642.

Ali Mehdi, David Cheishvili, Ani Arakelian, Tarek A Bismar, Moshe Szyf and Shafaat Rabbani DNA Methylation Signatures of Prostate Cancer in Peripheral T-cells. BMC Cancer. 2020 Jun 23;20(1):588. doi: 10.1186/s12885-020-07078-8.

Niaz Mahmood, Ani Arakelian, William J. Muller, Moshe Szyf and Shafaat A. Rabbani. Methyl donor S-adenosylmethionine in combination with 25-Hydroxyvitamin D blocks mammary tumor growth and non-skeletal and skeletal metastasis. Bone Research. 2020 Jul 22;8:28. doi: 10.1038/s41413-020-0103-6. eCollection.

PubMed Publications – S. Rabbani


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