Xianfeng Frank Zhao, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A.

Xianfeng Frank Zhao, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A.

  • Professor
  • Director, Clinical Core Laboratory, VAMC
  • M.D. – Shandong University
  • Ph.D. – University of Western Ontario
  • M.B.A. – University of Maryland
  • Residency Training: SUNY at Buffalo
  • Fellowship Training: University of Pennsylvania
  • Board Certifications: Anatomic and Clinical Pathology; Hematopathology

Research Interests

Dr. Zhao has been interested in the discovery of biomarkers for the diagnosis and molecular targets for the treatment of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). Based on his observation that RPS6KB1 and CDC2 genes were amplified in a subset of DLBCL, he and his coworkers evaluated the activity of RPS6KB1 and CDC2 gene products in DLBCL and found that their activities were responsible for the proliferation of lymphoma cells. Targeting their products inhibited the proliferation and led to apoptosis of the lymphoma cells. In collaboration with numerous physicians/scientists nationwide, he also investigated the molecular mechanism of lymphoma development, particularly the crosstalk between the different signal transduction pathways of DLBCL. Dr. Zhao recently became interested in HIV-related malignant lymphomas. He will continue to pursue both independent and collaborative endeavors in discovering novel biomarkers and understanding the molecular biology of hematologic malignancies.

Representative Publications

  1. Zhao MY, Auerbach A, D’Costa AM, Rapoport AP, Burger AM, Sausville EA, Stass SA, Jiang F, Sands AM, Aguilera N, Zhao XF. Phospho-p70S6K/p85S6K and cdc2/cdk1 are novel targets for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma combination therapy. Clin Cancer Res. 15: 1708-1720, 2009.
  2. Hagner PR, Mazan-Mamczarz K, Dai B, Corl S, Zhao XF, Gartenhaus RB. Alcohol consumption and decreased risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma: role of mTOR dysfunction. Blood. 113: 5526-5535, 2009.
  3. Zhao XF, Gartenhaus RB. Phospho-p70S6K and cdc2/cdk1 as therapeutic targets for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Expert Opin Ther Targets. 13: 1085-1093, 2009.
  4. Dai B, Zhao XF, Hagner PR, Mazan-Mamczarz K, Shapiro P, Corl S, Natkunam Y, Gartenhaus RB. ERK positively regulates the oncogenic activity of MCT-1 in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Cancer Res. 69: 7835-7843, 2009.
  5. Haycocks NG, Lawrence L, Cain JW, Zhao XF. Optimizing antibody panels for efficient and cost-effective flow cytometric diagnosis of acute leukemia. Cytometry B Clin Cytometry. 80: 221-229, 2011.
  6. Dai B, Zhao XF, Mazan-Mamczarz K, Hagner P, Corl S, Bahassi EM, Stambrook PJ, Shapiro P, Gartenhaus RB. Therapeutic targeting and functional interactions between ERK and CHK2 in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Nature Commun. 2: 402, 2011.
  7. Zhao XF, Reitz M, Chen QC, Stass S. Pathogenesis of early leukemia and lymphoma. Cancer Biomark. 9: 341-374, 2011.
  8. Yu D, Zhan XH, Zhao XF, Williams M, Carey GB, Smith E, Su Y, Scott D, Zhu J, Guo Y, Cherukuri S, Civin C, Zhan X. Mice deficient in MIM expression are predisposed to tumor formation. Oncogene. 31: 3561-3568, 2012.
  9. Xu-Monette ZY, Wu L, Visco C, Tai YC, Tzankov A, Liu W-m, Montes-Moreno S, Dybkaer K, Chiu A, Orazi A, Zu Y, Bhagat G, Richards KL, His ED, Zhao XF, Choi WWL, Zhao X, van Krieken JH, Huang Q, Huh J, Ai W, Ponzoni MA, Ferreri AJM, Zhou F, Kahl BS, Winter JN, Xu W, Li J, Go RS, Li Y, Piris MA, Møller MB, Miranda RN, Abbruzzo LV, Medeiros LJ, Young KH. Mutational profile and prognostic significance of TP53 in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma patients treated with rituximab-CHOP. Blood. 120: 3986-3996, 2012.
  10. Zhao XF, Zhao MY, Kukuruga D, Tan M, Stass SA. Amplified RPS6KB1 and CDC2 genes are potential biomarkers for aggressive large B-cell lymphomas. Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 6: 148-154, 2013.
  11. Click here to search for Dr. Zhao's publications


Dr. Zhao received his medical degree from Shandong University School of Medicine, China. He subsequently undertook graduate study at the Academy of Military Medical Sciences, Beijing, and received a M.Sc. in Microbiology and Immunology. He pursued further research training at the University of Western Ontario, Canada, and was awarded a Ph.D. in Biochemistry. He then did his postdoctoral research at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, New York, before he entered the pathology residency at the SUNY at Buffalo. After his AP/CP training, he was accepted into the Hematopathology Fellowship Program of the University of Pennsylvania and subsequently became Assistant Professor/Hematopathologist of Washington University in St. Louis. He was recruited to the University of Maryland School of Medicine as Director of Hematopathology and Program Director of Hematopathology Fellowship. He later received his M.B.A from the Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, before he came to the University of California San Diego/VAMC as the Clinical Professor and Director of Clinical Core Laboratory, VAMC.

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