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Nizar M. Tannir, MD, FACP

Present Title & Affiliation

Primary Appointment

Professor, Department of Genitourinary Medical Oncology, Division of Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston
Deputy Department Chair, Department of Genitourinary Medical Oncology, Division of Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX

Research Interests

There has been significant progress made in the treatment of clear-cell renal cell carcinoma (RCC), with several targeted agents now approved.  However, the vast majority of patients develop progressive disease within a year. Despite the clinical efficacy of targeted agents, significant toxicity hampers patient benefit, and <30% of patients with metastatic RCC survive >five years. Furthermore, insight into the biology of non-clear cell RCC subtypes has lagged behind clear-cell RCC, with few relevant targets identified. Currently, there is no established effective therapy for this diverse group of non-clear cell RCC subtypes. Therapeutic strategies using immune checkpoint antibodies are revolutionizing the treatment of many cancers including RCC, but at best 50% of patients with metastatic RCC respond to the combination of anti-PD-1 and anti-CTLA-4 antibodies. The long-term follow-up of patients with metastatic RCC treated with these novel immune approaches will be awaited to assess their curative potential. 

My research focus in RCC is in the following areas:

  • Clinical and molecular characterization of non-clear cell RCC subtypes, particularly translocation RCC and renal medullary carcinoma
  • Design and conduct of informative, biology-driven clinical trials for clear-cell and non-clear cell RCC
  • Identification of circulating and tissue-based biomarkers of response to targeted agents and immune checkpoint antibodies in patients with clear-cell and non-clear cell RCC

The projects outlined above are currently being carried out in the context of several investigator-initiated, approved, and funded clinical and laboratory trials in metastatic clear-cell and non-clear cell RCC, on which I serve as principal investigator.

Office Address

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
1155 Pressler Street
Unit Number: 1374
Houston, TX 77030
Room Number: CPB7.3470
Fax: 713-745-0422

Education & Training

Degree-Granting Education

1979 American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon, MD, Medicine
1975 American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon, BS, Biology/Chemistry

Postgraduate Training

8/2000-11/2000 Clinical Fellowship, Leukemia, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
7/1985-6/1986 Clinical Fellowship, Hematology, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark, NJ
7/1981-6/1984 Clinical Fellowship, Medical Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute, Houston, TX

Board Certifications

11/2000 American Board of Internal Medicine/Hematology
11/2000 American Board Internal Medicine/Medical Oncology
1/1987 American Board Internal Medicine/Medical Oncology
1/1986 American Board of Internal Medicine/Hematology
1/1985 American Board of Internal Medicine

Experience/Service

Academic Appointments

Associate Professor, Department of Genitourinary Medical Oncology, Division of Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, 9/2007-8/2014
Assistant Professor, Department of Genitourinary Medical Oncology, Division of Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, 3/2001-8/2007
Visiting Scientist, Department of Leukemia, Division of Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, 5/2000-7/2000

Administrative Appointments/Responsibilities

Director, Genitourinary Medical Oncology Clinic, Department of Genitourinary Medical Oncology, Division of Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, 2008-present
Director, Kentucky Cancer Clinic, Hazard, KY, 11/1997-12/1999
Voluntary Faculty, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, 11/1986-12/1999

Other Appointments/Responsibilities

Private Practice; Hematology Oncology, Appalachian Regional Medical Center, Hazard, KY, 11/1986-12/1999

Institutional Committee Activities

Chair, Division of Cancer Medicine Clinical Competency Committee, 1/2014-present
Member, Division of Cancer Medicine Clinical Competency Committee, 1/2013-12/2013
Member, Clinical Research and Patient Care Committee, 9/2011-present
Member, Division of Cancer Medicine Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Program Steering Committee, 9/2009-present

Honors and Awards

2014 Melvin L. Samuels Award for Excellence in Patient Care, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Division of Cancer Medicine Faculty Recognition and Awards
2014 Waun Ki Hong Leadership in Education, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Division of Cancer Medicine
2013 Division of Cancer Medicine Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Program 2013 "Teacher of the Year", The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
2013 Gerald P. Bodey Award for Excellence in Education, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Division of Cancer Medicine Faculty Recognition and Awards
2012 Division of Cancer Medicine Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Program 2012 "Teacher of the Year", The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
2012 Top Doctor 2012, US News and World Report
2011 Top Doctor 2011, US News and World Report
2010 Division of Cancer Medicine Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Program 2010 "Teacher of the Year", The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
2008 America's Top Oncologist, Guide to America's Top Oncologists
2008 Division of Cancer Medicine Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Program 2008 "Teacher of the Year", The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
2008 Vicente Valero LBJ Clinician-Educator of the Year, LBJ Hospital / The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
2001 Benefactors Award, Governor of Kentucky

Selected Publications

Peer-Reviewed Original Research Articles

1. Shah A, Tannir NM. Clinical and pathological complete remission in a patient with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC) treated with sunitinib: Is mRCC curable with targeted therapy? Urol Case Report. In Press.
2. Campbell MT, Millikan RE, Altinmakas E, Xiao L, Wen S, Siefker-Radtke AO, Aparicio A, Corn PG, Tannir NM. Phase I trial of sunitinib and temsirolimus in metastatic renal cell carcinoma. Clin Genitour Cancer. In Press.
3. Tu SM, Bilen M, Tannir NM. The scientific method: pillar and pitfall of cancer research. Can Med. In Press.
4. Land JD, Chen AH, Atkinson BJ, Cauley DH, Tannir NM. Proteinuria with first-line therapy of metastatic renal cell cancer. J Oncol Pharm Pract. e-Pub 12/9/2014. PMID: 25505255.
5. Teegavarapu PS, Rao P, Matrana MR, Cauley DH, Wood CG, Tannir NM. Neuroendocrine Tumors of the Kidney: A Single Institution Experience. Clin Genitour Cancer 12(6):422-27, 12/2014. NIHMSID: NIHMSNIHMS618553.
6. Shetty AV, Matrana MR, Atkinson BJ, Flaherty AL, Jonasch E, Tannir NM. Outcomes of patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma and end-stage renal disease receiving dialysis and targeted therapies: A single institution experience. Clin Genitourin Cancer 12(5):348-53, 10/2014. e-Pub 1/18/2014. PMCID: PMC4160412.
7. Teegavarapu PS, Rao P, Matrana MR, Cauley DH, Wood CG, Patel S, Tannir NM. Outcomes of Adults With Ewing Sarcoma Family of Tumors (ESFT) of the Kidney: A Single-Institution Experience. Am J Clin Oncol. e-Pub 9/12/2014. PMID: 25222071.
8. Malouf GG, Su X, Yao H, Gao J, Xiong L, He Q, Compérat E, Couturier J, Molinié V, Escudier B, Camparo P, Doss DJ, Thompson EJ, Khayat D, Wood CG, Yu W, Teh BT, Weinstein J, Tannir NM. Next generation sequencing of translocation renal cell carcinomas reveals novel RNA splicing partners and frequent mutations of chromatin remodeling genes. Clin Cancer Res 20(15):4129-40, 8/1/2014. e-Pub 6/4/2014. PMCID: PMC4167829.
9. Tannir NM, Forero-Torres A, Ramchandren R, Pal SK, Ansell SM, Infante JR, de Vos S, Hamlin PA, Kim SK, Whiting NC, Gartner EM, Zhao B, Thompson JA. Phase I dose-escalation study of SGN-75 in patients with CD70-positive relapsed/refractory non-Hodgkin lymphoma or metastatic renal cell carcinoma. Invest New Drugs. e-Pub 8/22/2014. PMID: 25142258.
10. Atkinson BJ, Cauley DH, Ng C, Millikan RE, Xiao L, Corn P, Jonasch E, Tannir NM. Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitor-associated non-infectious pneumonitis in patients with renal cell cancer: predictors, management, and outcomes. BJU Int 113(3):376-82, 3/2014. e-Pub 12/2/2013. PMCID: PMC3944913.
11. Matrana MR, Duran C, Shetty A, Xiao L, Atkinson BJ, Corn P, Pagliaro LC, Millikan RE, Charnsangave C, Jonasch E, Tannir NM. Outcomes of patients with metastatic clear-cell renal cell carcinoma treated with pazopanib after disease progression with other targeted therapies. Eur J Cancer 49(15):3169-75, 10/2013. e-Pub 6/2013. PMCID: PMC3882156.
12. Richey SL, Tamboli P, Ng CS, Lin E, Lim ZD, Araujo JC, Jonasch E, Sharma P, Pagliaro LC, Tannir NM. Phase II trial of pemetrexed plus gemcitabine in patients with locally advanced and metastatic nonclear cell renal cell carcinoma. Am J Clin Oncol 36(5):450-4, 10/2013. e-Pub 6/2012. PMCID: PMC3882166.
13. Conter HJ, Lim ZD, Ng CS, Millikan RE, Tannir NM. Curability of poor-risk metastatic sarcomatoid renal cell carcinoma with the combination of gemcitabine, 5-fluorouracil, and interferon-alfa: A case report of a 55-year-old man with a 10-year complete remission. Clin Genitourin Cancer 11(3):370-3, 9/2013. e-Pub 5/2013. PMID: 23665133.
14. Malouf GG, Monzon FA, Couturier J, Molinié V, Escudier B, Camparo P, Su X, Yao H, Tamboli P, Lopez-Terrada D, Picken M, Garcia M, Multani AS, Pathak S, Wood CG, Tannir NM. Genomic heterogeneity of translocation renal cell carcinoma. Clin Cancer Res 19(17):4673-4684, 9/2013. e-Pub 7/2013. PMCID: PMC3882157.
15. Anzalone CL, Cohen PR, Migden MR, Tannir NM. Mohs surgery in metastatic cancer: renal cell carcinoma solitary cutaneous metastasis and visceral tumor metastases to skin treated with microscopically controlled surgical excision. Int J Dermatol 52(7):856-61, 7/2013. e-Pub 5/2013. PMID: 23675612.
16. Lim ZD, Mahajan A, Weinberg J, Tannir NM. Outcome of patients with renal cell carcinoma metastatic to the brain treated with sunitinib without local therapy. Am J Clin Oncol 36(3):258-60, 6/2013. e-Pub 3/20/2012. PMID: 22441343.
17. Tannir NM, Plimack E, Ng C, Tamboli P, Bekele NB, Xiao L, Smith L, Lim Z, Pagliaro L, Araujo J, Aparicio A, Matin S, Wood CG, Jonasch E. A phase 2 trial of sunitinib in patients with advanced non-clear cell renal cell carcinoma. Eur Urol 62(6):1013-9, 12/2012. e-Pub 6/2012. PMCID: PMC3882163.
18. Richey SL, Rao P, Wood CG, Patel S, Tannir NM. Metastatic extraosseous Ewing's sarcoma (EES)/Primitive Neuroectodermal Tumor (PNET) of the kidney: 8-year durable response after induction and maintenance chemotherapy. Clin Genitourin Cancer 10(3):210-2, 9/2012. e-Pub 4/2012. NIHMSID: NIHMSNIHMS611584.
19. Matrana MR, Ng C, Rao P, Lim ZD, Tannir NM. Chromophobe renal cell carcinoma with sarcomatoid dedifferentiation treated with pazopanib: a case report. Clin Genitourin Cancer 9(2):137-9, 12/2011. e-Pub 8/10/2011. PMID: 21831725.
20. Tannir NM, Wong YN, Kollmannsberger CK, Ernstoff MS, Perry DJ, Appleman LJ, Posadas EM, Cho D, Choueiri TK, Coates A, Gupta N, Pradhan R, Qian J, Chen J, Scappaticci FA, Ricker JL, Carlson DM, Michaelson MD. Phase 2 trial of linifanib (ABT-869) in patients with advanced renal cell cancer after sunitinib failure. Eur J Cancer 47(18):2706-14, 12/2011. e-Pub 11/2011. PMID: 22078932.
21. Matrana MR, Atkinson B, Jonasch E, Tannir NM. Emerging targeted therapies in metastatic renal cell carcinoma. Curr Clin Pharmacol 6(3):189-98, 8/2011. PMID: 21827388.
22. Chowdhury S, Matrana MR, Tsang C, Atkinson B, Choueiri TK, Tannir NM. Systemic therapy for metastatic non-clear-cell renal cell carcinoma: Recent progress and future directions. Hematol Oncol Clin North Am 25(4):853-869, 8/2011. PMID: 21763971.
23. Richey SL, Culp SH, Jonasch E, Corn PG, Pagliaro LC, Tamboli P, Patel KK, Matin SF, Wood CG, Tannir NM. Outcome of patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma treated with targeted therapy without cytoreductive nephrectomy. Ann Oncol 22(5):1048-53, 5/2011. e-Pub 11/29/2010. PMID: 21115604.
24. Richey SL, Ng C, Lim ZD, Jonasch E, Tannir NM. Durable remission of metastatic renal cell carcinoma with gemcitabine and capecitabine after failure of targeted therapy. J Clin Oncol 29(8):e203-5, 3/10/2011. e-Pub 12/20/2010. PMID: 21172884.
25. Jonasch E, Lal LS, Atkinson BJ, Byfield SD, Miller LA, Pagliaro LC, Feng C, Tannir NM. Treatment of metastatic renal carcinoma patients with the combination of gemcitabine, capecitabine, and bevacizumab at a tertiary cancer center. BJU Int 107(5):741-7, 3/2011. e-Pub 9/2010. PMID: 21355978.
26. Karam JA, Rini BI, Varella L, Garcia JA, Dreicer R, Choueiri TK, Jonasch E, Matin SF, Campbell SC, Wood CG, Tannir NM. Metastasectomy after targeted therapy in patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma. J Urol 185(2):439-44, 2/2011. e-Pub 12/17/2010. PMID: 21167518.
27. Abel EJ, Culp SH, Tannir NM, Matin SF, Tamboli P, Jonasch E, Wood CG. Primary tumor response to targeted agents in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma. Eur Urol 59(1):10-5, 1/2011. e-Pub 10/16/2010. PMID: 20952123.
28. Jonasch E, Pagliaro LC, Tannir NM. Long-term management of patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma on targeted agents. Expert Rev Anticancer Ther 10(12):1883-9, 12/2010. PMID: 21110755.
29. Choueiri TK, Lim ZD, Hirsch MS, Tamboli P, Jonasch E, McDermott DF, Dal Cin P, Corn P, Vaishampayan U, Heng DY, Tannir NM. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-targeted therapy for the treatment of adult metastatic Xp11.2 translocation renal cell carcinoma. Cancer 116(22):5219-25, 11/15/2010. e-Pub 2010. PMID: 20665500.
30. Jonasch E, Tannir NM. Targeted therapy for locally advanced renal cell carcinoma. Target Oncol 5(2):113-8, 6/2010. e-Pub 7/14/2010. PMID: 20625844.
31. Ng CS, Wang X, Faria SC, Lin E, Charnsangavej C, Tannir NM. Perfusion CT in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma treated with interferon. Am J Roentgenol 194(1):166-71, 1/2010. PMID: 20028919.
32. Jonasch E, Corn P, Pagliaro LC, Warneke CL, Johnson MM, Tamboli P, Ng C, Aparicio A, Ashe RG, Wright JJ, Tannir NM. Upfront, randomized, phase 2 trial of sorafenib versus sorafenib and low-dose interferon alfa in patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma: clinical and biomarker analysis. Cancer 116(1):57-65, 1/2010. e-Pub 10/2009. PMID: 19862815.
33. Montero A, Diaz-Montero C, Millikan R, Liu J, Do, D-A, Hodges S, Jonasch E, McIntyre B, Hwu P, Tannir N. Cytokines and angiogenic factors in metastatic renal cell cancer: association of pretreatment serum levels with survival. Ann Oncol 20(10):1682-7, 10/2009. PMID: 19541791.
34. Jonasch E, Wood CG, Matin SF, Tu S-M, Pagliaro LC, Corn PG, Aparicio A, Tamboli P, Millikan RE, Wang X, Araujo JC Arap W, Tannir N. Phase II presurgical feasibility study of bevacizumab in untreated patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma. J Clin Oncol 27(25):4076-81, 9/2009. PMID: 19636008.
35. Rodney A, Gombos D, Fuller G, Pagliaro LC, Tannir N. Choroidal and conjunctival metastases from renal cell carcinoma. Am J Clin Oncol 32(4):448-9, 8/2009. PMID: 19657240.
36. Rodney A, Gombos D, Pagliaro LC, Tannir N. Ischemic optic neuropathy associated with low dose interferon alfa: Report of two cases. Am J Clin Oncol 32(1):86-87, 2/2009. NIHMSID: NIHMSNIHMS618553.
37. Dubauskas Z, Kunishige J, Prieto VG, Kantrow SM, Jonasch E, Hwy P, Tannir NM. Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma and inflammation of actinic keratoses associated with sorafenib. Clin Genitourin Cancer 7(1):20-3, 1/2009. PMID: 19213663.
38. Tannir NM, Thall PF, Ng CS, Wang X, Wooten L, Siefker-Radtke A, Mathew P, Pagliaro, L, Wood C, Jonasch E. A phase II trial of gemcitabine plus capecitabine in metastatic renal cell cancer previously treated with immunotherapy and targeted agents. J Urol 180(3):867-72; discussion 872, 9/2008. NIHMSID: NIHMSNIHMS615126.
39. Jain R, Mathew P, Wood CG, Tannir NM. Sunitinib-induced acute hemolysis without hypertension: A case report. Clin Genitourin Cancer 6(2):122-123, 9/2008. PMID: 18824436.
40. Jonasch E, Wood C, Tamboli P. Pagliaro LC, Tu SM, Kim J, Sirvastava P, Perez C, Isakov L, Tannir N. Vaccination of metastatic renal cell carcinoma patients with autologous tumour-derived vitespen vaccine: clinical findings. Br J Cancer 98(8):1336-41, 4/2008. PMID: 18362942.
41. Jonasch E, Tannir NM. Adjuvant and neoadjuvant therapy in renal cell carcinoma. Cancer J 14(5):315-9, Sep-Oct, 2008. PMID: 18836336.
42. Thall PF, Wooten LH, Logothetis CJ, Millikan RE, Tannir NM. Bayesian and frequentist two-stage treatment strategies based on sequential failure times subject to interval censoring. Stat Med 26(26):4687-702, 4/2007. PMID: 17427204.
43. Tannir NM, Cohen L, Wang X, Thall P, Mathew PF, Jonasch E, Siefker-Radtke A, Pagliaro LC, Ng CS, Logothetis C. Improved tolerability and quality of life with maintained efficacy using twice-daily low-dose interferon-alpha-2b: results of a randomized phase II trial of low-dose versus intermediate-dose interferon-alpha-2b in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma. Cancer 107(9):2254-61, 11/2006. PMID: 17029276.
44. Tannir N, Jonasch E, Pagliaro LC, Mathew P, Siefker-Radtke A, Rhines L, Lin P, Tibbs R, Do KA, Lin SH, Tu SM. Pilot trial of bone-targeted therapy with zoledronate, thalidomide, and interferon-gamma for metastatic renal cell carcinoma. Cancer 107(3):497-505, 2006. PMID: 16795067.
Other Articles
1. Mehta KU, Gascon P, Tannir N, Lombardo J, Robboy SJ. Impaired bone marrow in AIDS. N J Med 86(8):623-627, 8/1989. PMID: 2685666.

Grant & Contract Support

Title: Molecular genetic and epigenetic characterization of translocation renal-cell carcinoma (RCC): Comparison of pediatric and adult forms
Funding Source: Kidney Cancer Research Group
Role: Principal Investigator
Duration: 2/1/2012 - 1/30/2013
 
Title: Molecular genetic and epigenetic characterization of translocation renal-cell carcinoma (RCC): Comparison of pediatric and adult forms
Funding Source: Kidney Cancer Research Group
Role: Principal Investigator
Duration: 10/1/2010 - 9/30/2011

Last updated: 6/2/2015