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Jean-Pierre Issa, MD

Jean-Pierre Issa, MD


Professor, Medicine

Director, Fels Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Biology

3307 North Broad Street, Room 154 (Allied Health Building)

Telephone:  215-707-4307

Email: jpissa@temple.edu


Fels Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Biology

Department of Medicine, Section of Oncology


Educational Background:


BS, The American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon, 1983


MD, The American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon, 1987


Residency, Internal Medicine, The Good Samaritan Hospital, Baltimore, MD, 1987-1990


Fellowship, Medical Oncology, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, 1990-1994


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clinical Interests:

  • Leukemias

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board certification(s):


  • Internal Medicine, 1990
  • Medical oncology, 1993

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Research Interests:


  • Epigenomics and genomics in normal, aging and cancer cells (DNA methylation and histone modifications; genome wide genetic changes)
  • Basic mechanisms in epigenetics
  • Tumor-suppressor genes
  • Translational studies in cancer
  • Pre-clinical and clinical research in epigenetic therapy

My laboratory is involved in both basic and translational research in the field of molecular epigenetics, which refers to stable gene expression states such as X-inactivation, imprinting etc. Specifically, we are interested in epigenetic mechanisms - a DNA modification termed DNA methylation that is commonly abnormal in aging tissues and in various malignancies; and histone modifications involved in determining gene expression states.


Current projects include:

  • Large scale mapping of epigenomics patterns in normal, aging and cancer cells
  • Investigating the causes of aberrant methylation in cancer, focusing on aging; genetic changes; a particular hypermethylator phenotype we described called CpG Island methylator phenotype; environmental exposures and familial predisposition
  • Basic mechanisms governing the establishment of DNA methylation in normal and cancer cells
  • Studying the causes and consequences of DNA methylation changes in normal aging tissues. Does reducing methylation prevent tumor formation and prolong lifespan?
  • Clinical implications of methylation profiling in cancer. Can we identify subgroups with particular characteristics, prognosis, etc.?
  • Clinical trials of drugs that affect histone modifications and DNA methylation are ongoing. Can we predict who will respond to the drugs? Can we make the therapy better? Does it work the way it is supposed to?
  • Screens for drugs that affect epigenetics, alone or in synergy with current FDA approved molecules.

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  • Rosenthal Award, American Association for Cancer Research, 2011
  • Faculty Achievement Award in Basic Research, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, 2007
  • American Cancer Society Clinical Research Professorship, 2007
  • Frei Award in Translational Research from the Division of Cancer Medicine, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, 2006
  • Election to American Society of Clinical Investigation, 2003
  • Sidney Kimmel Foundation Scholar Award, 1997

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Recent Medically Related Publications, Obtained from PubMed (Click on PubMed ID to view abstract)

25806091. Tsimberidou AM, Said R, Culotta K, Wistuba I, Jelinek J, Fu S, Falchook G, Naing A, Piha-Paul S, Zinner R, Siddik ZH, He G, Hess K, Stewart DJ, Kurzrock R, Issa JP, Phase I study of azacitidine and oxaliplatin in patients with advanced cancers that have relapsed or are refractory to any platinum therapy. Clin Epigenetics 7:1(29)2015

25798995. Issa JP, Ingraci de Lucia C, Dos Santos Kotake BG, Gonšalves Gonzaga M, Tocchini de Figueiredo FA, Mizusaki Iyomasa D, Macedo AP, Ervolino E, The effect of simvastatin treatment on bone repair of femoral fracture in animal model. Growth Factors :(1-10)2015 Mar 23

25677810. Muniz KL, Dias FJ, Coutinho-Netto J, Calzzani RA, Iyomasa MM, de Sousa LG, Dos Santos TT, de Oliveira Teles V, Watanabe IS, Fazan VP, Issa JP, Properties of the tibialis anterior muscle after treatment with laser therapy and natural latex protein following sciatic nerve crush. Muscle Nerve :()2015 Feb 9

25619570. Dias FJ, Issa JP, Coutinho-Netto J, Fazan VP, Sousa LG, Iyomasa MM, Papa PC, Watanabe IS, Morphometric and high resolution scanning electron microscopy analysis of low-level laser therapy and latex protein (Hevea brasiliensis) administration following a crush injury of the sciatic nerve in rats. J Neurol Sci 349:1-2(129-37)2015 Feb 15

25455458. van Esterik JC, Vitins AP, Hodemaekers HM, Kamstra JH, Legler J, Pennings JL, Steegenga WT, Lute C, Jelinek J, Issa JP, DollÚ ME, van der Ven LT, Liver DNA methylation analysis in adult female C57BL/6JxFVB mice following perinatal exposure to bisphenol A. Toxicol Lett 232:1(293-300)2014 Oct 17

25336333. Issa JP, Garcia-Manero G, Huang X, Cortes J, Ravandi F, Jabbour E, Borthakur G, Brandt M, Pierce S, Kantarjian HM, Results of phase 2 randomized study of low-dose decitabine with or without valproic acid in patients with myelodysplastic syndrome and acute myelogenous leukemia. Cancer 121:4(556-61)2015 Feb 15

25257251. Barreiros VC, Dias FJ, Iyomasa MM, Coutinho-Netto J, de Sousa LG, Fazan VP, Antunes Rde S, Watanabe IS, Issa JP, Morphological and morphometric analyses of crushed sciatic nerves after application of a purified protein from natural latex and hyaluronic acid hydrogel. Growth Factors 32:5(164-70)2014 Oct

25040094. Kirschbaum M, Gojo I, Goldberg SL, Bredeson C, Kujawski LA, Yang A, Marks P, Frankel P, Sun X, Tosolini A, Eid JE, Lubiniecki GM, Issa JP, A phase 1 clinical trial of vorinostat in combination with decitabine in patients with acute myeloid leukaemia or myelodysplastic syndrome. Br J Haematol 167:2(185-93)2014 Oct

25028660. Guerra Cde S, Carla Lara Pereira Y, Issa JP, Luiz KG, GuimarŃes EA, Gerlach RF, Iyomasa MM, Histological, histochemical, and protein changes after induced malocclusion by occlusion alteration of Wistar rats. Biomed Res Int 2014:(563463)2014

25024751. Stewart DJ, Nunez MI, Jelinek J, Hong D, Gupta S, Aldaz M, Issa JP, Kurzrock R, Wistuba II, Impact of decitabine on immunohistochemistry expression of the putative tumor suppressor genes FHIT, WWOX, FUS1 and PTEN in clinical tumor samples. Clin Epigenetics 6:1(13)2014

24974977. Azevedo A, Prado AF, Antonio RC, Issa JP, Gerlach RF, Matrix metalloproteinases are involved in cardiovascular diseases. Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol 115:4(301-14)2014 Oct

24876104. Cui Y, Hausheer F, Beaty R, Zahnow C, Issa JP, Bunz F, Baylin SB, A recombinant reporter system for monitoring reactivation of an endogenously DNA hypermethylated gene. Cancer Res 74:14(3834-43)2014 Jul 15

24875481. Jin C, Lu Y, Jelinek J, Liang S, Estecio MR, Barton MC, Issa JP, TET1 is a maintenance DNA demethylase that prevents methylation spreading in differentiated cells. Nucleic Acids Res 42:11(6956-71)2014 Jun

24875133. Plimack ER, Desai JR, Issa JP, Jelinek J, Sharma P, Vence LM, Bassett RL, Ilagan JL, Papadopoulos NE, Hwu WJ, A phase I study of decitabine with pegylated interferon a-2b in advanced melanoma: impact on DNA methylation and lymphocyte populations. Invest New Drugs 32:5(969-75)2014 Oct

24800241. de Figueiredo FA, Gerlach RF, da Veiga MA, Nakadi FV, Ramos J, Kawakita ER, Guerra Cde S, Issa JP, Reduced bone and body mass in young male rats exposed to lead. Biomed Res Int 2014:(571065)2014

24692117. Shimano RC, Macedo AP, Falcai MJ, Ervolino E, Shimano AC, Issa JP, Biomechanical and microstructural benefits of physical exercise associated with risedronate in bones of ovariectomized rats. Microsc Res Tech 77:6(431-8)2014 Jun

24670685. Pathiraja TN, Nayak SR, Xi Y, Jiang S, Garee JP, Edwards DP, Lee AV, Chen J, Shea MJ, Santen RJ, Gannon F, Kangaspeska S, Jelinek J, Issa JP, Richer JK, Elias A, McIlroy M, Young LS, Davidson NE, Schiff R, Li W, Oesterreich S, Epigenetic reprogramming of HOXC10 in endocrine-resistant breast cancer. Sci Transl Med 6:229(229ra41)2014 Mar 26

24670112. Issa JP, Bennett CS, A reagent-controlled SN2-glycosylation for the direct synthesis of ▀-linked 2-deoxy-sugars. J Am Chem Soc 136:15(5740-4)2014 Apr 16

24616895. Iyomasa MM, LeŃo JC, Rizzi ╔C, Issa JP, Dias FJ, Watanabe IS, Iyomasa DM, Ultrastructure and light microscope analysis of intact skin after a varying number of low level laser irradiations in mice. Biomed Res Int 2014:(506051)2014

24414704. Maegawa S, Gough SM, Watanabe-Okochi N, Lu Y, Zhang N, Castoro RJ, Estecio MR, Jelinek J, Liang S, Kitamura T, Aplan PD, Issa JP, Age-related epigenetic drift in the pathogenesis of MDS and AML. Genome Res 24:4(580-91)2014 Apr

24401732. Stewart DJ, Nunez MI, Jelinek J, Hong D, Gupta S, Issa JP, Wistuba II, Kurzrock R, Decitabine impact on the endocytosis regulator RhoA, the folate carriers RFC1 and FOLR1, and the glucose transporter GLUT4 in human tumors. Clin Epigenetics 6:1(2)2014 Jan 9

24385213. Tahara T, Yamamoto E, Suzuki H, Maruyama R, Chung W, Garriga J, Jelinek J, Yamano HO, Sugai T, An B, Shureiqi I, Toyota M, Kondo Y, EstÚcio MR, Issa JP, Fusobacterium in colonic flora and molecular features of colorectal carcinoma. Cancer Res 74:5(1311-8)2014 Mar 1

24382386. Issa JP, Aging and epigenetic drift: a vicious cycle. J Clin Invest 124:1(24-9)2014 Jan

24367927. Malouf GG, Taube JH, Lu Y, Roysarkar T, Panjarian S, Estecio MR, Jelinek J, Yamazaki J, Raynal NJ, Long H, Tahara T, Tinnirello A, Ramachandran P, Zhang XY, Liang S, Mani SA, Issa JP, Architecture of epigenetic reprogramming following Twist1-mediated epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Genome Biol 14:12(R144)2013 Dec 24

24211491. Tahara T, Yamamoto E, Madireddi P, Suzuki H, Maruyama R, Chung W, Garriga J, Jelinek J, Yamano HO, Sugai T, Kondo Y, Toyota M, Issa JP, EstÚcio MR, Colorectal carcinomas with CpG island methylator phenotype 1 frequently contain mutations in chromatin regulators. Gastroenterology 146:2(530-38.e5)2014 Feb

24184133. Okamoto Y, Shinjo K, Shimizu Y, Sano T, Yamao K, Gao W, Fujii M, Osada H, Sekido Y, Murakami S, Tanaka Y, Joh T, Sato S, Takahashi S, Wakita T, Zhu J, Issa JP, Kondo Y, Hepatitis virus infection affects DNA methylation in mice with humanized livers. Gastroenterology 146:2(562-72)2014 Feb

24123452. Watanabe IS, Ogawa K, Cury DP, Dias FJ, Sosthenes MC, Issa JP, Iyomasa MM, Fine structure of bacterial adhesion to the epithelial cell membranes of the filiform papillae of tongue and palatine mucosa of rodents: a morphometric, TEM, and HRSEM study. Microsc Res Tech 76:12(1226-33)2013 Dec

24045437. Taube JH, Malouf GG, Lu E, Sphyris N, Vijay V, Ramachandran PP, Ueno KR, Gaur S, Nicoloso MS, Rossi S, Herschkowitz JI, Rosen JM, Issa JP, Calin GA, Chang JT, Mani SA, Epigenetic silencing of microRNA-203 is required for EMT and cancer stem cell properties. Sci Rep 3:(2687)2013

23943784. Tahara T, Maegawa S, Chung W, Garriga J, Jelinek J, EstÚcio MR, Shibata T, Hirata I, Arisawa T, Issa JP, Examination of whole blood DNA methylation as a potential risk marker for gastric cancer. Cancer Prev Res (Phila) 6:10(1093-100)2013 Oct

23936823. Dias FJ, Issa JP, Iyomasa MM, Coutinho-Netto J, Calzzani RA, Iyomasa DM, Sousa LG, de Almeida SR, Cury DP, Watanabe IS, Application of a low-level laser therapy and the purified protein from natural latex (Hevea brasiliensis) in the controlled crush injury of the sciatic nerve of rats: a morphological, quantitative, and ultrastructural study. Biomed Res Int 2013:(597863)2013

23906042. Issa JP, Lloyd D, Steliotes E, Bennett CS, Reagent controlled ▀-specific dehydrative glycosylation reactions with 2-deoxy-sugars. Org Lett 15:16(4170-3)2013 Aug 16

23878091. Lanikova L, Kucerova J, Indrak K, Divoka M, Issa JP, Papayannopoulou T, Prchal JT, Divoky V, ▀-Thalassemia due to intronic LINE-1 insertion in the ▀-globin gene (HBB): molecular mechanisms underlying reduced transcript levels of the ▀-globin(L1) allele. Hum Mutat 34:10(1361-5)2013 Oct

23720055. Natsume A, Ito M, Katsushima K, Ohka F, Hatanaka A, Shinjo K, Sato S, Takahashi S, Ishikawa Y, Takeuchi I, Shimogawa H, Uesugi M, Okano H, Kim SU, Wakabayashi T, Issa JP, Sekido Y, Kondo Y, Chromatin regulator PRC2 is a key regulator of epigenetic plasticity in glioblastoma. Cancer Res 73:14(4559-70)2013 Jul 15

23660859. Issa JP, The myelodysplastic syndrome as a prototypical epigenetic disease. Blood 121:19(3811-7)2013 May 9

23619168. Pickering CR, Zhang J, Yoo SY, Bengtsson L, Moorthy S, Neskey DM, Zhao M, Ortega Alves MV, Chang K, Drummond J, Cortez E, Xie TX, Zhang D, Chung W, Issa JP, Zweidler-McKay PA, Wu X, El-Naggar AK, Weinstein JN, Wang J, Muzny DM, Gibbs RA, Wheeler DA, Myers JN, Frederick MJ, Integrative genomic characterization of oral squamous cell carcinoma identifies frequent somatic drivers. Cancer Discov 3:7(770-81)2013 Jul

23249680. Yamazaki J, Estecio MR, Lu Y, Long H, Malouf GG, Graber D, Huo Y, Ramagli L, Liang S, Kornblau SM, Jelinek J, Issa JP, The epigenome of AML stem and progenitor cells. Epigenetics 8:1(92-104)2013 Jan

23188507. Beck S, Bernstein BE, Campbell RM, Costello JF, Dhanak D, Ecker JR, Greally JM, Issa JP, Laird PW, Polyak K, Tycko B, Jones PA, A blueprint for an international cancer epigenome consortium. A report from the AACR Cancer Epigenome Task Force. Cancer Res 72:24(6319-24)2012 Dec 15

23075513. Jelinek J, Liang S, Lu Y, He R, Ramagli LS, Shpall EJ, Estecio MR, Issa JP, Conserved DNA methylation patterns in healthy blood cells and extensive changes in leukemia measured by a new quantitative technique. Epigenetics 7:12(1368-78)2012 Dec 1

23054654. Yamazaki J, Issa JP, Epigenetic aspects of MDS and its molecular targeted therapy. Int J Hematol 97:2(175-82)2013 Feb

22970792. Issa JP, Defino HL, Sebald W, Coutinho-Netto J, Iyomasa MM, Shimano AC, Bentley MV, Pitol DL, Biological evaluation of the bone healing process after application of two potentially osteogenic proteins: an animal experimental model. Gerodontology 29:4(258-64)2012 Dec

22952045. EstÚcio MR, Gallegos J, Dekmezian M, Lu Y, Liang S, Issa JP, SINE retrotransposons cause epigenetic reprogramming of adjacent gene promoters. Mol Cancer Res 10:10(1332-42)2012 Oct

22869041. Ulrich CM, Toriola AT, Koepl LM, Sandifer T, Poole EM, Duggan C, McTiernan A, Issa JP, Metabolic, hormonal and immunological associations with global DNA methylation among postmenopausal women. Epigenetics 7:9(1020-8)2012 Sep

22797825. Iyomasa MM, Rizzi EC, LeŃo JC, Issa JP, Dias FJ, Pereira YC, Fonseca MJ, Vicentini FT, Watanabe IS, Zymographic and ultrastructural evaluations after low-level laser irradiation on masseter muscle of HRS/J strain mice. Lasers Med Sci 28:3(777-83)2013 May

22791633. Duro CC, Ciena AP, De Almeida SR, Righetti MM, Grisolia Dde F, Issa JP, Da Silva MC, Watanabe IS, Qualitative study of young, adult, and aged Wistar rats temporomandibular synovial membrane employing light, scanning, and transmission electron microscopy. Microsc Res Tech 75:11(1522-7)2012 Nov

22695491. Xu J, Shetty PB, Feng W, Chenault C, Bast RC Jr, Issa JP, Hilsenbeck SG, Yu Y, Methylation of HIN-1, RASSF1A, RIL and CDH13 in breast cancer is associated with clinical characteristics, but only RASSF1A methylation is associated with outcome. BMC Cancer 12:(243)2012 Jun 13

22665218. Boumber Y, Kantarjian H, Jorgensen J, Wen S, Faderl S, Castoro R, Autry J, Garcia-Manero G, Borthakur G, Jabbour E, Estrov Z, Cortes J, Issa JP, Ravandi F, A randomized study of decitabine versus conventional care for maintenance therapy in patients with acute myeloid leukemia in complete remission. Leukemia 26:11(2428-31)2012 Nov

22612842. do Nascimento C, Issa JP, Mello AS, de Albuquerque Junior RF, Effect of electromagnetic field on bone regeneration around dental implants after immediate placement in the dog mandible: a pilot study. Gerodontology 29:2(e1249-51)2012 Jun

22600741. Zhang Y, Shu J, Si J, Shen L, Estecio MR, Issa JP, Repetitive elements and enforced transcriptional repression co-operate to enhance DNA methylation spreading into a promoter CpG-island. Nucleic Acids Res 40:15(7257-68)2012 Aug

22564986. Issa JP, DNA methylation as a clinical marker in oncology. J Clin Oncol 30:20(2566-8)2012 Jul 10

22439938. Tsai HC, Li H, Van Neste L, Cai Y, Robert C, Rassool FV, Shin JJ, Harbom KM, Beaty R, Pappou E, Harris J, Yen RW, Ahuja N, Brock MV, Stearns V, Feller-Kopman D, Yarmus LB, Lin YC, Welm AL, Issa JP, Minn I, Matsui W, Jang YY, Sharkis SJ, Baylin SB, Zahnow CA, Transient low doses of DNA-demethylating agents exert durable antitumor effects on hematological and epithelial tumor cells. Cancer Cell 21:3(430-46)2012 Mar 20

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