Department of Medicine
Faculty Profiles by Division

Division of Hematology/Oncology

Faculty Profiles

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photo Leonard J Appleman, MD,PhD


Associate Professor of Medicine


Phone: 412-864-7764

Office: 5150 Centre Avenue
UPMC Cancer Pavilion, 5th Floor, Room 560
Pittsburgh, PA 15232
Phone: 412-864-7764
Fax: 412-648-6579
Administrative Assistant:
Ryan Pawlowski
Address: 5150 Centre Avenue
UPMC Cancer Pavilion, 5th floor, 553b
Pittsburgh, PA 15232
Phone: 412-864-7764
Fax: 412-648-6579
Education and Training
A.B. Molecular Biology, Princeton University, 1988
MD, New York University, 1995
PhD Cell and Molecular Biology, New York University, 1995
Residency in Medicine, Beth Israel Hospital, Boston, 1998
Fellowship-Hematology/Oncology, Dana-Farber/Partners CancerCare, 2000
Research Interest
Dr. Appleman’s current research efforts in the field of tumor immunology include collaboration with Dr. Pawel Kalinski, conducting clinical trial of an autologous dendritic cell vaccine in patients with biochemical recurrence of prostate cancer (UPCI 06-070). Dr. Appleman is also working with Dr. Michael Lotze on another investigator initiated phase I study of high dose interleukin-2 plus hydroxychloroquine (UPCI 11-080) and has co-authored a review on inhibiting autophagy in renal cell carcinoma with his collaborators (Lotze, Maranchie and Appleman 2013, Cancer J.). He is site principal investigator for the NCI-funded Cancer Immunotherapy Trials Network (CITN) study of interleukin-7 and sipuleucel-T for men with castration-refractory prostate cancer and was the site P.I. for the Cytokine Working Group IL-2 Select study (McDermott et al. 2014, Clin. Cancer Res.). He also serves as site P.I. for several industry-sponsored studies that are investigating cancer immunotherapy. One of these studies was presented at ASCO in 2014 (Choueiri et al.).
Clinical Interest
In the areas of signal transduction and targeted therapy, Dr. Appleman is the national chair of ECOG 2810-Randomized, Double-Blind Phase III Study of Pazopanib vs. Placebo in Patients with Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma Who Have No Evidence of Disease Following Metastatectomy. This NCI/CTEP-sponsored study is open throughout the ECOG, SWOG and ALLIANCE cooperative groups. Dr. Appleman was the University of Pittsburgh site P.I. for a phase I study of the angiopoeitin antagonist peptibody AMG-386 (trebananib) (Hong et al. 2014 Clin. Genitourin. Cancer (senior author)). He is site P.I. for a completed phase I study of the phosphoinositol-3 kinase inhibitor, BAY 80-6946 (presented ASCO 2011 with manuscript in preparation) and of a phase II study of the vascular endothelial growth factor inhibitor linifanib (ABT-869) Tannir et al. 2011 Eur. J. Cancer). Dr. Appleman was the University of Pittsburgh site Principal Investigator for the registration studies that led to the FDA approval of abiraterone and enzalutamide in metastatic prostate cancer.
Educational Interest
Dr. Appleman is also conducting research investigator-initiated research into novel cytotoxic treatment strategies. He is collaborating with Dr. Susan Bates at the NCI on a translational study of the bicunctional alkylating agent, DMS612 in patients with solid tumors (Appleman et al. Clin. Cancer Res. 2015). Dr. Appleman is the coordinating center principal investigator of a phase I study of the PARP inhibitor ABT-888 plus carboplatin and paclitaxel in patients with solid tumors (presented ASCO 2012 and manuscript in preparation). Dr. Appleman was the University of Pittsburgh site principal investigator of a practice-changing phase 2 study of neoadjuvant dose dense MVAC (methotrexate, vinblastine, Adriamycin and cisplatin) in patients with muscle-invasive bladder cancer) (Choueiri et al. 2014 J. Clin. Oncol.)
For my complete bibliography, Click Here.
Selected Publications:
McDermott DF, Cheng SC, Signoretti S, Morgolin KA, Clark JI, Sosman JA, Dutcher JP, Logan TF, Curti BD, Ernstoff MS, Appleman L, Wong MK, Khushalani NI, Oleksowicz L, Vaishampayan UN, Mier JW, Panka DJ, Bhatt RS, Bailey AS, Atkins MG. The high-dose aldesleukin "select" trail: a trial to prospectively validate predictive models of response to treatment in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma. Clinical Cancer Research. 2015; 21(3): 561-8.
Appleman LJ, Berezovskaya A, Grass I, Boussiotis VA. CD28 costimulation mediates T cell expansion via IL-2-independent and IL-2-dependent regulation of cell cycle progression. Journal of Immunology. 2000; 164(1): 144-51.
Appleman LJ, van Puijenbroek AA, Shu KM, Nadler LM, Boussiotis VA. CD28 costimulation mediates down-regulation of p27kip1 and cell cycle progression by activation of the PI3K/PKB signaling pathway in primary human T cells. Journal of Immunology. 2002; 168(6): 2729-36.
Appleman LJ, Chernova I, Li L, Boussiotis VA. CD28 costimulation mediates transcription of SKP2 and CKS1, the substrate recognition components of SCFSkp2 ubiquitin ligase that leads p27kip1 to degradation. Cell Cycle. 2006; 18: 2123-9.
Leng S, Nailamothu BK, Saint S, Appleman LJ, Bump GM. Clinical problem-solving. Simple and complex. New England Journal of Medicine. 2013; 368(1): 65-71.
Hong DS, Gordon MS, Samlowski WE, Kurzrock R, Tannir N, Friedland D, Mendelson DS, Vogelzang NJ, Rasmussen E, Wu BM, Bass MB, Zhong ZD, Friberg G, Appleman LJ. A phase I open-label study of trebananib combined with sorafenib or sunitinib in patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma. Clinical Genitourinary Cancer. 2013; 12(3): 167-177.
Appleman LJ, Balasubramaniam S, Parise RA, Bryla C, Redon CE, Nakamura AJ, Bonner WM, Wright JJ, Piekarz R, Kohler DR, Jiang Y, Belani CP, Eiseman J, Chu E, Beumer JH, Bates SE. A phase I study of DMS612, a novel bifunctional alkylating agent. Clin Cancer Res. 2015 Feb 15;21(4):721-9. Epub 2014 Dec 2. PMID: 25467180; PMCID: 4755291. Clin Cancer Res. 2015; 15;21(4): 721-9.
Choueiri TK, Jacobus S, Bellmunt J, Qu A, Appleman LJ, Tretter C, Bubley GJ, Stack EC, Signoretti S, Walsh M, Steele G, Hirsch M, Sweeney CJ, Taplin ME, Kibel AS, Krajewski KM, Kantoff PW, Ross RW, Rosenberg JE. Neoadjuvant dose-dense methotrexate, vinblastine, doxorubicin, and cisplatin with pegfilgrastim support in muscle-invasive urothelial cancer: pathologic, radiologic, and biomarker correlates. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2014; 32(18): 1889-94.