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Alpa M. Nick, M.D.

Present Title & Affiliation

Primary Appointment

Assistant Professor, Department of Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine, Division of Surgery, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX

Bio Statement

Dr. Alpa Nick is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Gynecologic Oncology. She provides surgical and medical care to women with gynecologic malignancies, with a special interest in minimally invasive surgical treatment for appropriately selected patients with cervical, endometrial and ovarian carcinoma.

Dr. Nick’s primary research interests include assessment of perioperative outcomes among patients undergoing minimally invasive surgery for the treatment of gynecologic malignancies, the development of novel therapies for the treatment of ovarian cancer, and biomarkers for the detection of ovarian cancer. In addition, she is the co-investigator for several research protocols including a study evaluating the efficacy of a novel breath-based bioassay for the detection of ovarian cancer. Dr. Nick has authored and co-authored numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals on these and other subjects. 

Dr. Nick is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncologists, the American Association of Cancer Research, the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists, and the European Society of Gynecologic Oncology. In addition, she serves as a reviewer for several journals including Obstetrics and Gynecology International and Gynecologic Oncology. 

Education & Training

Degree-Granting Education

2009 University of Texas, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Houston, TX, MS, Human Biology and Patient-based Research
2003 Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, School of Medicine, Shreveport, LA, MD, Medicine
1998 Louisiana State University, Shreveport, LA, BS, magna cum laude, Biochemistry


Other Appointments/Responsibilities

Clinical Specialist, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, 2009-2011

Institutional Committee Activities

Member, Fellowship Admissions Subcommittee, 2010-2011
Member, Fellowship Didactic Curriculum Subcommittee, 2010
Member, Fellowship Planning Committee, 2009-2010

Honors and Awards

2011 Scholar-in-Training Award finalist, American Association of Cancer Research (AACR)
2009 Ovarian Cancer Research Grant, Gynecologic Cancer Foundation (GCF)/Ann Schreiber
2008 J.G. Moore Award for Best Basic Science Paper, "Therapeutic Gene Silencing in Ovarian Carcinoma: Making the Case for P130CAS", Western Association of Gynecologic Oncologists Annual Meeting,
2008 Trainee Excellence Award, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
2006-2007 Administrative Chief Resident, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
2006 Felix Rutledge Fellowship, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
2003 Horace E. Thompson, M.D. Award for Excellence in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine
2002 Alpha Omega Alpha, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine
1997-1998 University Award for Academic Excellence in Biochemistry, Louisiana State University
1997 American Heart Association Grant for Undergraduate Research, Louisiana State University
1997 Outstanding Student in Biochemistry, Louisiana State University
1995-1996 Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society, Louisiana State University

Professional Memberships

AAGL, Cypress, CA
Member, 12/2011
American Association for Cancer Research
Member, 8/2007-present
American Society of Clinical Oncology
Member, 7/2007-present
Society of Gynecologic Oncologists
Member, 7/2007-present

Selected Publications

Peer-Reviewed Original Research Articles

1. Nick AM, Frumovitz MM, Soliman PT, Schmeler KM, Ramirez PT. Fertility sparing surgery for treatment of early-stage cervical cancer: Open vs. robotic radical trachelectomy. Gynecol Oncol 124(2):276-80, 2/2012. e-Pub 10/27/2011. PMID: 22035808.
2. Nick AM, Stone RL, Armaiz-Pena G, Ozpolat B, Tekedereli I, Graybill WS, Landen CN, Villares G, Vivas-Mejia P, Bottsford-Miller J, Kim HS, Lee JS, Kim SM, Baggerly KA, Ram PT, Deavers MT, Coleman RL, Lopez-Berestein G, Sood AK. Silencing of p130Cas in Ovarian Carcinoma: A Novel Mechanism for Tumor Cell Death. J Natl Cancer Inst 103(21):1596-612, 11/2/2011. e-Pub 9/28/2011. PMCID: PMC3206039.
3. Soliman PT, Frumovitz M, Sun CC, Dos Reis R, Schmeler KM, Nick AM, Westin SN, Brown J, Levenback CF, Ramirez PT. Radical hysterectomy: A comparison of surgical approaches after adoption of robotic surgery in gynecologic oncology. Gynecol Oncol 123(2):333-6, 11/2011. e-Pub 8/27/2011. PMID: 21872911.
4. Hu W, Lu C, Dong HH, Huang J, Shen DY, Stone RL, Nick AM, Shahzad MM, Mora E, Jennings NB, Lee SJ, Roh JW, Matsuo K, Nishimura M, Goodman BW, Jaffe RB, Langley RR, Deavers MT, Lopez-Berestein G, Coleman RL, Sood AK. Biological roles of tumor and endothelial delta-like ligand 4 in ovarian cancer. Cancer Res 71(18):6030-9, 9/15/2011. e-Pub 7/27/2011. PMCID: PMC3174342.
5. Steg AD, Katre AA, Goodman B, Han HD, Nick AM, Stone RL, Coleman RL, Alvarez RD, Lopez-Berestein G, Sood AK, Landen CN. Targeting the Notch ligand Jagged1 in both tumor cell and stroma in ovarian cancer. Clin Cancer Res 17(17):5674-85, 9/1/2011. e-Pub 7/13/2011. PMCID: PMC3166981.
6. Nick AM, Ramirez PT. The impact of robotic surgery on gynecologic oncology. J Gynecol Oncol 22(3):196-202, 9/2011. e-Pub 9/28/2011. PMCID: PMC3188719.
7. Ndofor BT, Soliman PT, Schmeler KM, Nick AM, Frumovitz M, Ramirez PT. Rate of port-site metastasis is uncommon in patients undergoing robotic surgery for gynecological malignancies. Int J Gynecol Cancer 21(5):936-40, 7/2011. PMID: 21633306.
8. Kim HS, Han HD, Armaiz-Pena GN, Stone RL, Nam EJ, Lee JW, Shahzad MM, Nick AM, Lee SJ, Roh JW, Nishimura M, Mangala LS, Bottsford-Miller J, Gallick GE, Lopez-Berestein G, Sood AK. Functional roles of Src and Fgr in ovarian carcinoma. Clin Cancer Res 17(7):1713-21, 4/1/2011. e-Pub 2/7/2011. PMCID: PMC3077122.
9. Merritt WM, Kamat AA, Hwang JY, Bottsford-Miller J, Lu C, Lin YG, Coffey D, Spannuth WA, Nugent E, Han LY, Landen CN, Nick AM, Stone RL, Coffman K, Bruckheimer E, Broaddus RR, Gershenson DM, Coleman RL, Sood AK. Clinical and biological impact of EphA2 overexpression and angiogenesis in endometrial cancer. Cancer Biol Ther 10(12):1306-14, 1/12/2011. e-Pub 12/15/2010. PMCID: PMC3047089.
10. Agarwal S, Schmeler KM, Ramirez PT, Sun CC, Nick A, Dos Reis R, Brown J, Frumovitz M. Outcomes of patients undergoing radical hysterectomy for cervical cancer of high-risk histological subtypes. Int J Gynecol Cancer 21(1):123-7, 1/2011. PMID: 21178574.
11. Nick AM, Lange J, Frumovitz M, Soliman PT, Schmeler KM, Schlumbrecht MP, dos Reis R, Ramirez PT. Rate of vaginal cuff separation following laparoscopic or robotic hysterectomy. Gynecol Oncol 120(1):47-51, 1/2011. e-Pub 9/24/2010. PMID: 20869763.
12. Landen CN, Goodman B, Katre AA, Steg AD, Nick AM, Stone RL, Miller LD, Mejia PV, Jennings NB, Gershenson DM, Bast RC, Coleman RL, Lopez-Berestein G, Sood AK. Targeting aldehyde dehydrogenase cancer stem cells in ovarian cancer. Mol Cancer Ther 9(12):3186-99, 12/2010. e-Pub 10/1/2010. PMCID: PMC3005138.
13. Langley G, Smith W, Nick A, Rhodes H. Tramadol-induced flushing managed with aspirin premedication. J Pain Symptom Manage 40(6):7-8, 12/2010. PMID: 21145467.
14. Smith AL, Frumovitz M, Schmeler KM, dos Reis R, Nick AM, Coleman RL, Ramirez PT. Conservative surgery in early-stage cervical cancer: what percentage of patients may be eligible for conization and lymphadenectomy? Gynecol Oncol 119(2):183-6, 11/2010. e-Pub 8/12/2010. PMID: 20708227.
15. Nick AM, Schmeler KM, Frumovitz MM, Soliman PT, Spannuth WA, Burzawa JK, Coleman RL, Wei C, dos Reis R, Ramirez PT. Risk of thromboembolic disease in patients undergoing laparoscopic gynecologic surgery. Obstet Gynecol 116(4):956-61, 10/2010. PMID: 20859161.
16. Lu C, Han HD, Mangala LS, Ali-Fehmi R, Newton CS, Ozbun L, Armaiz-Pena GN, Hu W, Stone RL, Munkarah A, Ravoori MK, Shahzad MM, Lee JW, Mora E, Langley RR, Carroll AR, Matsuo K, Spannuth WA, Schmandt R, Jennings NB, Goodman BW, Jaffe RB, Nick AM, Kim HS, Guven EO, Chen YH, Li LY, Hsu MC, Coleman RL, Calin GA, Denkbas EB, Lim JY, Lee JS, Kundra V, Birrer MJ, Hung MC, Lopez-Berestein G, Sood AK. Regulation of tumor angiogenesis by EZH2. Cancer Cell 18(2):185-97, 8/9/2010. PMCID: PMC2923653.
17. Han HD, Mangala LS, Lee JW, Shahzad MM, Kim HS, Shen D, Nam EJ, Mora EM, Stone RL, Lu C, Lee SJ, Roh JW, Nick AM, Lopez-Berestein G, Sood AK. Targeted gene silencing using RGD-labeled chitosan nanoparticles. Clin Cancer Res 16(15):3910-22, 8/1/2010. e-Pub 6/10/2010. PMCID: PMC2912984.
18. Spannuth WA, Mangala LS, Stone RL, Carroll AR, Nishimura M, Shahzad MM, Lee SJ, Moreno-Smith M, Nick AM, Liu R, Jennings NB, Lin YG, Merritt WM, Coleman RL, Vivas-Mejia PE, Zhou Y, Krasnoperov V, Lopez-Berestein G, Gill PS, Sood AK. Converging evidence for efficacy from parallel EphB4-targeted approaches in ovarian carcinoma. Mol Cancer Ther 9(8):2377-88, 8/2010. e-Pub 8/3/2010. PMCID: PMC2933364.
19. Lee JW, Stone RL, Lee SJ, Nam EJ, Roh JW, Nick AM, Han HD, Shahzad MM, Kim HS, Mangala LS, Jennings NB, Mao S, Gooya J, Jackson D, Coleman RL, Sood AK. EphA2 targeted chemotherapy using an antibody drug conjugate in endometrial carcinoma. Clin Cancer Res 16(9):2562-70, 5/1/2010. e-Pub 4/13/2010. PMID: 20388851.
20. Tanaka T, Mangala LS, Vivas-Mejia PE, Nieves-Alicea R, Mann AP, Mora E, Han HD, Shahzad MM, Liu X, Bhavane R, Gu J, Fakhoury JR, Chiappini C, Lu C, Matsuo K, Godin B, Stone RL, Nick AM, Lopez-Berestein G, Sood AK, Ferrari M. Sustained small interfering RNA delivery by mesoporous silicon particles. Cancer Res 70(9):3687-96, 5/1/2010. PMCID: PMC3202607.
21. Sood AK, Armaiz-Pena GN, Halder J, Nick AM, Stone RL, Hu W, Carroll AR, Spannuth WA, Deavers MT, Allen JK, Han LY, Kamat AA, Shahzad MM, McIntyre BW, Diaz-Montero CM, Jennings NB, Lin YG, Merritt WM, DeGeest K, Vivas-Mejia PE, Lopez-Berestein G, Schaller MD, Cole SW, Lutgendorf SK. Adrenergic modulation of focal adhesion kinase protects human ovarian cancer cells from anoikis. J Clin Invest 120(5):1515-23, 5/2010. e-Pub 4/12/2010. PMCID: PMC2860925.
22. Merritt WM, Nick AM, Carroll AR, Lu C, Matsuo K, Dumble M, Jennings N, Zhang S, Lin YG, Spannuth WA, Kamat AA, Stone RL, Shahzad MM, Coleman RL, Kumar R, Sood AK. Bridging the gap between cytotoxic and biologic therapy with metronomic topotecan and pazopanib in ovarian cancer. Mol Cancer Ther 9(4):985-95, 4/2010. e-Pub 4/6/2010. PMCID: PMC2852465.
23. Lu C, Shahzad MM, Moreno-Smith M, Lin YG, Jennings NB, Allen JK, Landen CN, Mangala LS, Armaiz-Pena GN, Schmandt R, Nick AM, Stone RL, Jaffe RB, Coleman RL, Sood AK. Targeting pericytes with a PDGF-B aptamer in human ovarian carcinoma models. Cancer Biol Ther 9(3):176-82, 2/2010. e-Pub 2/16/2010. PMCID: PMC3155813.
24. Vivas-Mejia P, Benito JM, Fernandez A, Han HD, Mangala L, Rodriguez-Aguayo C, Chavez-Reyes A, Lin YG, Carey MS, Nick AM, Stone RL, Kim HS, Claret FX, Bornmann W, Hennessy BT, Sanguino A, Peng Z, Sood AK, Lopez-Berestein G. c-Jun-NH2-kinase-1 inhibition leads to antitumor activity in ovarian cancer. Clin Cancer Res 16(1):184-94, 1/1/2010. e-Pub 12/22/2009. PMID: 20028751.
25. Kim TJ, Landen CN, Lin YG, Mangala LS, Lu C, Nick AM, Stone RL, Merritt WM, Armaiz-Pena G, Jennings NB, Coleman RL, Tice DA, Sood AK. Combined anti-angiogenic therapy against VEGF and integrin alphaVbeta3 in an orthotopic model of ovarian cancer. Cancer Biol Ther 8(23):2263-72, 12/2009. e-Pub 12/19/2009. PMID: 19829059.
26. Tao X, Sood AK, Deavers MT, Schmeler KM, Nick AM, Coleman RL, Milojevic L, Gershenson DM, Brown J. Anti-angiogenesis therapy with bevacizumab for patients with ovarian granulosa cell tumors. Gynecol Oncol 114(3):431-6, 9/2009. e-Pub 6/13/2009. PMID: 19524286.
27. Lee JW, Han HD, Shahzad MM, Kim SW, Mangala LS, Nick AM, Lu C, Langley RR, Schmandt R, Kim HS, Mao S, Gooya J, Fazenbaker C, Jackson D, Tice DA, Landen CN, Coleman RL, Sood AK. EphA2 immunoconjugate as molecularly targeted chemotherapy for ovarian carcinoma. J Natl Cancer Inst 101(17):1193-205, 9/2009. e-Pub 7/2009. PMCID: PMC2736292.
28. Merritt WM, Danes CG, Shahzad MM, Lin YG, Kamat AA, Han LY, Spannuth WA, Nick AM, Mangala LS, Stone RL, Kim HS, Gershenson DM, Jaffe RB, Coleman RL, Chandra J, Sood AK. Anti-angiogenic properties of metronomic topotecan in ovarian carcinoma. Cancer Biol Ther 8(16):1596-603, 8/2009. e-Pub 8/13/2009. PMID: 19738426.
29. Mangala LS, Zuzel V, Schmandt R, Leshane ES, Halder JB, Armaiz-Pena GN, Spannuth WA, Tanaka T, Shahzad MM, Lin YG, Nick AM, Danes CG, Lee JW, Jennings NB, Vivas-Mejia PE, Wolf JK, Coleman RL, Siddik ZH, Lopez-Berestein G, Lutsenko S, Sood AK. Therapeutic Targeting of ATP7B in Ovarian Carcinoma. Clin Cancer Res 15(11):3770-80, 6/1/2009. e-Pub 5/26/2009. PMCID: PMC2752981.
30. Shahzad MM, Lu C, Lee JW, Stone RL, Mitra R, Mangala LS, Lu Y, Baggerly KA, Danes CG, Nick AM, Halder J, Kim HS, Vivas-Mejia P, Landen CN, Lopez-Berestein G, Coleman RL, Sood AK. Dual targeting of EphA2 and FAK in ovarian carcinoma. Cancer Biol Ther 8(11):1027-34, 6/2009. e-Pub 6/24/2009. PMCID: PMC2748749.
31. Armaiz-Pena GN, Mangala LS, Spannuth WA, Lin YG, Jennings NB, Nick AM, Langley RR, Schmandt R, Lutgendorf SK, Cole SW, Sood AK. Estrous cycle modulates ovarian carcinoma growth. Clin Cancer Res 15(9):2971-8, 5/1/2009. e-Pub 4/21/2009. PMCID: PMC2743312.
32. Lee JW, Shahzad MM, Lin YG, Armaiz-Pena G, Mangala LS, Han HD, Kim HS, Nam EJ, Jennings NB, Halder J, Nick AM, Stone RL, Lu C, Lutgendorf SK, Cole SW, Lokshin AE, Sood AK. Surgical stress promotes tumor growth in ovarian carcinoma. Clin Cancer Res 15(8):2695-702, 4/15/2009. e-Pub 4/7/2009. PMCID: PMC2746852.
33. Spannuth WA, Nick AM, Jennings NB, Armaiz-Pena GN, Mangala LS, Danes CG, Lin YG, Merritt WM, Thaker PH, Kamat AA, Han LY, Tonra JR, Coleman RL, Ellis LM, Sood AK. Functional significance of VEGFR-2 on ovarian cancer cells. Int J Cancer 124(5):1045-53, 3/1/2009. PMCID: PMC2668132.
34. Merritt WM, Lin YG, Han LY, Kamat AA, Spannuth WA, Schmandt R, Urbauer D, Pennacchio LA, Cheng JF, Nick AM, Deavers MT, Mourad-Zeidan A, Wang H, Mueller P, Lenburg ME, Gray JW, Mok S, Birrer MJ, Lopez-Berestein G, Coleman RL, Bar-Eli M, Sood AK. Dicer, drosha, and outcomes in patients with ovarian cancer. N Engl J Med 359(25):2641-50, 12/18/2008. PMCID: PMC2710981.
35. Landen CN, Kim TJ, Lin YG, Merritt WM, Kamat AA, Han LY, Spannuth WA, Nick AM, Jennnings NB, Kinch MS, Tice D, Sood AK. Tumor-selective response to antibody-mediated targeting of alphavbeta3 integrin in ovarian cancer. Neoplasia 10(11):1259-67, 11/2008. PMCID: PMC2570602.
36. Lin YG, Immaneni A, Merritt WM, Mangala LS, Kim SW, Shahzad MM, Tsang YT, Armaiz-Pena GN, Lu C, Kamat AA, Han LY, Spannuth WA, Nick AM, Landen CN, Wong KK, Gray MJ, Coleman RL, Bodurka DC, Brinkley WR, Sood AK. Targeting aurora kinase with MK-0457 inhibits ovarian cancer growth. Clin Cancer Res 14(17):5437-46, 9/1/2008. PMCID: PMC2766914.
37. Hwang JY, Mangala LS, Fok JY, Lin YG, Merritt WM, Spannuth WA, Nick AM, Fiterman DJ, Vivas-Mejia PE, Deavers MT, Coleman RL, Lopez-Berestein G, Mehta K, Sood AK. Clinical and biological significance of tissue transglutaminase in ovarian carcinoma. Cancer Res 68(14):5849-58, 7/15/2008. PMCID: PMC2547344.
38. Lu C, Shahzad MM, Wang H, Landen CN, Kim SW, Allen J, Nick AM, Jennings N, Kinch MS, Bar-Eli M, Sood AK. EphA2 overexpression promotes ovarian cancer growth. Cancer Biol Ther 7(7):1098-103, 7/2008. e-Pub 4/19/2008. PMCID: PMC2705979.
39. Halder J, Lin YG, Merritt WM, Spannuth WA, Nick AM, Honda T, Kamat AA, Han LY, Kim TJ, Lu C, Tari AM, Bornmann W, Fernandez A, Lopez-Berestein G, Sood AK. Therapeutic efficacy of a novel focal adhesion kinase inhibitor TAE226 in ovarian carcinoma. Cancer Res 67(22):10976-83, 2007. PMID: 18006843.
40. Nick AM, Bruner JP, Moses R, Yang EY, Scott TA. Second-trimester intra-abdominal bowel dilation in fetuses with gastroschisis predicts neonatal bowel atresia. Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol 28(6):821-5, 11/2006. PMID: 17029299.
41. Milam MR, Pollock JW, Nick AM, Scott T, Jones HW. The effect of hormonal contraception on the adequacy of colposcopic examination of the cervix. Am J Obstet Gynecol 192(5):1368-9, 5/2005. PMID: 15902111.
42. Manchandia AM, Banks SW, Gossett DR, Bellaire B, Lucus MC, Millhollon, EP. The influence of alpha-amanitin on the NaCl-induced up-regulation of antioxidant enzyme activity in cotton callus tissue. Free Radical Research(30):429-438, 1999. PMID: 10400455.

Book Chapters

1. Nick AM, Coleman RL, Sood AK. Molecular therapeutics in ovarian carcinoma. In: Ovarian Cancer: State of the Art. Remedica Medical Education and Publishing Limited: London, UK, 109-160, 2009.

Grant & Contract Support

Title: A Novel Breath-based Bioassay for the Detection of Ovarian Cancer
Funding Source: UTMDACC SPORE in Ovarian Cancer
Role: Principal Investigator
Duration: 10/5/2011 - present

Last updated: 7/8/2013