Department of Medicine
Faculty Profiles by Division

Department of Medicine

Faculty Profiles

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photo Hassane M. Zarour, MD


Professor of Medicine

Professor of Immunology

Professor of Dermatology

James W. and Frances G. McGlothlin Chair in Melanoma Immunotherapy Research

Co-Leader, Melanoma Program


Phone: 412-623-3272

Office: Hillman Cancer Center-Research Pavilion,
Suite 1.32a, 5117 Centre Avenue,
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Phone: 412-623-3272
Fax: 412-623-7704
Administrative Assistant:
Linda Coleman
Address: 5117 Centre Avenue
Room 1.32
Pittsburgh, PA 15232
Phone: 412-623-7708
Fax: 412-623-7704
Education and Training
MD, Marseille School of Medicine ( France), 1991
Dermatology, Marseille School of Medicine ( France), 1991
Residency, Dermatology, Marseille School of Medicine ( France), 1991
Fellowship, Tumor Immunology, Ludwig Institute for cancer Research, Brussels, 1995
Research Interest
My contribution to Science include:
1)The identification of novel MHC class II epitopes derived from tumor antigens expressed by melanoma. My laboratory has developed successfully the approach to identify T-helper epitopes derived from a number of human tumor antigens and capable of stimulation antigen-specific CD4+ T cells in patients with advanced cancer.
2)The development of novel melanoma vaccines trial with T-helper epitopes and adjuvants. We have performed clinical trials with MHC class I and MHC class II epitopes derived from the cancer/testis antigen NY-ESO-1 in combination with CPG in patients with advanced melanoma. We have demonstrated the capability of CPG to stimulate potent and ex vivo detectable CD8+ T cell responses to NY-ESO-1.
3)The studies of the mechanisms of melanoma-induced T cell dysfunction including the role of the PD-1, Tim-3, BTLA and TIGIT pathways. These studies serve as rationale for ongoing clinical trials with dual PD1/Tim-3 and PD-1/TIGIT blockade in cancer patients, including melanoma.
4) Studies of the role of the gut microbiome in modulating clinical and immune responses to immune checkpoint blockade in the context of a novel clinical trial with fecal microbiota transplant and anti-PD-1 antibodies in patients with PD1 refractory melanoma.
Clinical Interest
I am a dermatologist specialized in cutaneous oncology and melanoma. I co-lead the Melanoma Program at the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center.
My clinical activities focus on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of skin cancers and melanoma. I am also a human cancer immunologist and develop novel clinical trials to evaluate novel immunotherapies of melanoma and other solid tumors.
Educational Interest
I co-lead the Melanoma Program of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute together with Dr. John Kirkwood. I organize the monthly Melanoma Program scientific seminars with internal or external speakers to promote intra- and inter-programmatic collaborations and scientific achievements. In the laboratory, I mentor pre- and postdoctoral fellows, oncology fellows, and junior faculties in the field of Cancer Immunology and Cancer Immunotherapy.
For my complete bibliography, Click Here.
Selected Publications:
Fourcade J, Sun Z, Pagliano O, Guillaume P, Luescher IF, Sander C, Kirkwood JM, Olive D, Kuchroo V, Zarour HM. CD8(+) T cells specific for tumor antigens can be rendered dysfunctional by the tumor microenvironment through upregulation of the inhibitory receptors BTLA and PD-1. Cancer Research. 2012; 72: 887-96.
Fourcade J, Sun Z, Benalloua M, Guillaume P, Luescher IF, Sander C, Kirkwood JM, Kuchroo V, Zarour HM. Upregulation of Tim-3 and PD-1 expression is associated with tumor antigen-specific CD8+ T cell dysfunction in melanoma patients. Journal of Experimental Medicine. 2010; 207: 2175-86.
Fourcade J, Kudela P, Sun Z, Shen H, Land S, Lenzner D, Guillaume P, Luescher I, Sander C, Ferrone S, Kirkwood J, Zarour HM. PD-1 is a regulator of NY-ESO-1-specific CD8+ T cell expansion in melanoma patients. Journal of Immunology. 2009; 182: 5240-9.
Zarour HM, Maillere B, Brusic V, Corval K, Willams E, Pouvelle-Moratille S, Castelli F, Land S, Bennouna F, Logan T, Kirkwood JM. NY-ESO-1 119-143 is a promiscuous major histocompatibility complex class II T-Helper epitope recognized by Th1- and Th2- type tumor-reactive CD4+ T cells. Cancer Research. 2002; 62: 213-218.
Zarour HM, Kirkwood JM, Kierstead LS, Herr W, Brusic V, Singluf CL, Sidney J, Sette A, Storkus WJ. Melan-A/MART-1 (51-73) represents an immunogenic HLA-DR4-restricted epitope recognized by melanoma-reactive CD4(+) T cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. 2000; 4:97: 400-405.
Zarour, H.M. Reversing T-cell dysfunction and exhaustion in cancer. Clinical Cancer Research. 2016; 22(8): 1856-64.
Hamid O, Robert C, Daud A, Hodi FS, Hwu WJ, Kefford R, Wolchok JD, Hersey P, Joseph RW, Weber JS, Dronca R, Gangadhar TC, Patnaik A, Zarour H, Joshua AM, Gergich K, Ellassaiss-Schaap J, Algazi A, Mateus C, Boasberg P, Chmielowski B, Ebbinghaus SW, Li XN, Kang SP, Ribas A. Safety and tumor responses with lambrolizumab (anti-PD-1) in melanoma. N. New England Journal of Medicine. 2013; 369: 134-44.
Chauvin JM, Pagliano O, Fourcade J, Sun Z, Wang H, Sander C, Kirkwood JM, Chen TH, Maurer M, Korman AJ, Zarour HM. TIGIT and PD-1 impair tumor antigen-specific CD8+ T cells in melanoma patients. Journal of Clinical Investigation. 2015; 125(5): 2046-58.
Fourcade J, Sun Z, Pagliano O, Chauvin JM, Sander C, Janjic B, Tarhini AA, Tawbi HA, Kirkwood JM, Moschos S, Wang H, Guillaume P, Luescher IF, Krieg A, Anderson AC, Kuchroo VK, Zarour HM. PD-1 and Tim-3 regulate the expansion of tumor antigen-specific CD8+ T cells induced by melanoma vaccines. Cancer Research. 2013; 74: 1045-55.
Notable Achievements
Training Grant, Association pour la Recherche sur le Cancer, France, 1993-1994
Co-Leader, Melanoma Program, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, 2013-present
Co-Director, Cancer Immunotherapy Trial Network, University of Pittsburgh Site, 2011-present
Member, Protocol Review Committee, (PRC) UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, 2004-present
Member, Cancer Vaccine Collaborative Group, Cancer Research Institute, New York, NY, 2002-present
Adhoc Reviewer NIH Study Section, 2002-present