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Steven Mittelman, MD
Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Physiology and Biophysics
Program Director Md/Ph D Program
Director, Diabetes Obesity Research Program
CHL Mail Stop 61 Off Campus Los Angeles
+1 323 361 7653


Dr. Steven Mittelman is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Physiology & Biophysics in the Center for Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism at the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California. He received his MD and PhD degrees from the Keck School of Medicine, where he worked on elucidating the physiological mechanisms by which insulin regulates blood sugar. Further work examined how pancreatic beta-cells compensate for obesity-induced insulin resistance, and how appetite regulating hormones work in obese adolescents. Steven completed his residency in pediatrics and fellowship in pediatric endocrinology at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. During his subspecialty training, Steven learned of an important finding by researchers in the Children's Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases: children who are obese when they are diagnosed with high-risk leukemia have a 50% higher chance of relapsing than those who are lean. In fact, obesity increases the risk of dying from many different types of cancer, such as breast, colon, and prostate, and may be responsible for up to 15-20% of cancer deaths in the U.S. Dr. Mittelman turned his expertise in obesity into work exploring the relationships between obesity and leukemia relapse, in collaboration with Drs. Nora Heisterkamp and Anna Butturini. His laboratory is currently investigating how obesity and cancer interact, using both mouse models and tissue cultures. He has found evidence that fat tissue may absorb some chemotherapies, so that these drugs are not available to kill the cancer cells. He also found that fat cells play an active role in the cancer microenvironment, participating in a two-way communication with cancer cells, and producing metabolic fuels and survival factors which protect cancer cells from chemotherapies. These findings have led to multiple publications which have been well-received in both the scientific and lay press. Dr. Mittelman is currently investigating strategies to block some of these effects of adipocytes, in the hopes that this will lead to improvements in cancer survival in both thin and overweight people.


American Board of Pediatrics: Certification: Pediatrics, 2006

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles: Associates and Affiliates Award, 2003

University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine: Endocrine Society Medical Student Achievement Award, 2001

Western Section of the American Federation for Medical Research: Subspecialty Award in Metabolism (Lipid/Diabetes), 1997

Western Section of the American Federation for Medical Research: Bayer Endocrinology/Diabetes Research Award, 1997

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles: Associates and Affiliates Award, 2003


Orgel E, Mueske NM, Sposto R, Gilsanz V, Wren TA, Freyer DR, Butturini AM, Mittelman SD. A randomized controlled trial testing an adherence-optimized Vitamin D regimen to mitigate bone change in adolescents being treated for acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Leuk Lymphoma. 2017 Feb 20; 1-9. View in: PubMed

Sheng X, Tucci J, Parmentier JH, Ji L, Behan JW, Heisterkamp N, Mittelman SD. Adipocytes cause leukemia cell resistance to daunorubicin via oxidative stress response. Oncotarget. 2016 Sep 26. View in: PubMed

Shih EM, Mittelman S, Pitukcheewanont P, Azen CG, Monzavi R. Effects of vitamin D repletion on glycemic control and inflammatory cytokines in adolescents with type 1 diabetes. Pediatr Diabetes. 2016 Feb; 17(1):36-43. View in: PubMed

Orgel E, Mueske NM, Sposto R, Gilsanz V, Freyer DR, Mittelman SD. Limitations of body mass index to assess body composition due to sarcopenic obesity during leukemia therapy. Leuk Lymphoma. 2016 Jan 27; 1-8. View in: PubMed

Van Speybroeck A, Mueske NM, Mittelman SD, Kremer RK, Ryan DD, Wren TA. Fasting serum blood measures of bone and lipid metabolism in children with myelomeningocele for early detection of cardiovascular and bone fragility risk factors. J Spinal Cord Med. 2015 Dec 14; 1-8. View in: PubMed

Kim MS, Ryabets-Lienhard A, Dao-Tran A, Mittelman SD, Gilsanz V, Schrager SM, Geffner ME. Increased Abdominal Adiposity in Adolescents and Young Adults With Classical Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia due to 21-Hydroxylase Deficiency. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2015 Aug; 100(8):E1153-9. View in: PubMed

Parmentier JH, Maggi M, Tarasco E, Scotti C, Avramis VI, Mittelman SD. Glutaminase activity determines cytotoxicity of l-asparaginases on most leukemia cell lines. Leuk Res. 2015 Jul; 39(7):757-62. View in: PubMed

Lin MH, Wood JR, Mittelman SD, Freyer DR. Institutional adherence to cardiovascular risk factor screening guidelines for young survivors of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2015 May; 37(4):e253-7. View in: PubMed

Alderete TL, Sattler FR, Richey JM, Allayee H, Mittelman SD, Sheng X, Tucci J, Gyllenhammer LE, Grant EG, Goran MI. Salsalate treatment improves glycemia without altering adipose tissue in nondiabetic obese hispanics. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2015 Feb 3. View in: PubMed

Huang KE, Mittelman SD, Coates TD, Geffner ME, Wood JC. A significant proportion of thalassemia major patients have adrenal insufficiency detectable on provocative testing. J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2015 Jan; 37(1):54-9. View in: PubMed

Orgel E, Tucci J, Alhushki W, Malvar J, Sposto R, Fu CH, Freyer DR, Abdel-Azim H, Mittelman SD. Obesity is associated with residual leukemia following induction therapy for childhood B-precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Blood. 2014 Dec 18; 124(26):3932-8. View in: PubMed

Sheng X, Mittelman SD. The role of adipose tissue and obesity in causing treatment resistance of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Front Pediatr. 2014; 2:53. View in: PubMed

Behan JW, Ehsanipour EA, Sheng X, Pramanik R, Wang X, Hsieh YT, Kim YM, Mittelman SD. Activation of adipose tissue macrophages in obese mice does not require lymphocytes. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2013 Jul; 21(7):1380-8. View in: PubMed

Ehsanipour EA, Sheng X, Behan JW, Wang X, Butturini A, Avramis VI, Mittelman SD. Adipocytes cause leukemia cell resistance to L-asparaginase via release of glutamine. Cancer Res. 2013 May 15; 73(10):2998-3006. View in: PubMed

Pramanik R, Sheng X, Ichihara B, Heisterkamp N, Mittelman SD. Adipose tissue attracts and protects acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells from chemotherapy. Leuk Res. 2013 May; 37(5):503-9. View in: PubMed

Orgel E, Mittelman SD. The links between insulin resistance, diabetes, and cancer. Curr Diab Rep. 2013 Apr; 13(2):213-22. View in: PubMed

Lesser DJ, Bhatia R, Tran WH, Oliveira F, Ortega R, Keens TG, Mittelman SD, Khoo MC, Davidson Ward SL. Sleep fragmentation and intermittent hypoxemia are associated with decreased insulin sensitivity in obese adolescent Latino males. Pediatr Res. 2012 Sep; 72(3):293-8. View in: PubMed

Antony R, Sheng X, Ehsanipour EA, Ng E, Pramanik R, Klemm L, Ichihara B, Mittelman SD. Vitamin D protects acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells from dexamethasone. Leuk Res. 2012 May; 36(5):591-3. View in: PubMed

Noetzli LJ, Panigrahy A, Mittelman SD, Hyderi A, Dongelyan A, Coates TD, Wood JC. Pituitary iron and volume predict hypogonadism in transfusional iron overload. Am J Hematol. 2012 Feb; 87(2):167-71. View in: PubMed

Noetzli LJ, Mittelman SD, Watanabe RM, Coates TD, Wood JC. Pancreatic iron and glucose dysregulation in thalassemia major. Am J Hematol. 2012 Feb; 87(2):155-60. View in: PubMed

Reh CM, Mittelman SD, Wee CP, Shah AC, Kaufman FR, Wood JR. A longitudinal assessment of lipids in youth with type 1 diabetes. Pediatr Diabetes. 2011 Jun; 12(4 Pt 2):365-71. View in: PubMed

Chung SA, Dorey F, Mittelman S, Gilsanz V. Effect of gender on intra-abdominal fat in teenagers and young adults. Pediatr Radiol. 2011 Apr; 41(4):469-75. View in: PubMed

Yun JP, Behan JW, Heisterkamp N, Butturini A, Klemm L, Ji L, Groffen J, Müschen M, Mittelman SD. Diet-induced obesity accelerates acute lymphoblastic leukemia progression in two murine models. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2010 Oct; 3(10):1259-64. View in: PubMed

Wood JC, Noetzl L, Hyderi A, Joukar M, Coates T, Mittelman S. Predicting pituitary iron and endocrine dysfunction. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2010 Aug; 1202:123-8. View in: PubMed

Mittelman SD, Klier K, Braun S, Azen C, Geffner ME, Buchanan TA. Obese adolescents show impaired meal responses of the appetite-regulating hormones ghrelin and PYY. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2010 May; 18(5):918-25. View in: PubMed

Behan JW, Avramis VI, Yun JP, Louie SG, Mittelman SD. Diet-induced obesity alters vincristine pharmacokinetics in blood and tissues of mice. Pharmacol Res. 2010 May; 61(5):385-90. View in: PubMed

Mittelman SD, Gilsanz P, Mo AO, Wood J, Dorey F, Gilsanz V. Adiposity predicts carotid intima-media thickness in healthy children and adolescents. J Pediatr. 2010 Apr; 156(4):592-7. e2. View in: PubMed

Behan JW, Yun JP, Proektor MP, Ehsanipour EA, Arutyunyan A, Moses AS, Avramis VI, Louie SG, Butturini A, Heisterkamp N, Mittelman SD. Adipocytes impair leukemia treatment in mice. Cancer Res. 2009 Oct 1; 69(19):7867-74. View in: PubMed

Gilsanz V, Chalfant J, Mo AO, Lee DC, Dorey FJ, Mittelman SD. Reciprocal relations of subcutaneous and visceral fat to bone structure and strength. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2009 Sep; 94(9):3387-93. View in: PubMed

Di Iorgi N, Rosol M, Mittelman SD, Gilsanz V. Reciprocal relation between marrow adiposity and the amount of bone in the axial and appendicular skeleton of young adults. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Jun; 93(6):2281-6. View in: PubMed

Karantza MV, Mittelman SD, Dorey F, Samie S, Kaiserman K, Halvorson M, Kaufman FR. Relationship of highly sensitive C-reactive protein and lipid levels in adolescents with type 1 diabetes mellitus. Pediatr Diabetes. 2008 Apr; 9(2):122-6. View in: PubMed

Janicka A, Wren TA, Sanchez MM, Dorey F, Kim PS, Mittelman SD, Gilsanz V. Fat mass is not beneficial to bone in adolescents and young adults. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Jan; 92(1):143-7. View in: PubMed

Mittelman SD, Hendy GN, Fefferman RA, Canaff L, Mosesova I, Cole DE, Burkett L, Geffner ME. A hypocalcemic child with a novel activating mutation of the calcium-sensing receptor gene: successful treatment with recombinant human parathyroid hormone. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2006 Jul; 91(7):2474-9. View in: PubMed

Kovanlikaya A, Mittelman SD, Ward A, Geffner ME, Dorey F, Gilsanz V. Obesity and fat quantification in lean tissues using three-point Dixon MR imaging. Pediatr Radiol. 2005 Jun; 35(6):601-7. View in: PubMed

van Citters GW, Kabir M, Kim SP, Mittelman SD, Dea MK, Brubaker PL, Bergman RN. Elevated glucagon-like peptide-1-(7-36)-amide, but not glucose, associated with hyperinsulinemic compensation for fat feeding. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2002 Nov; 87(11):5191-8. View in: PubMed

Mittelman SD, Van Citters GW, Kirkman EL, Bergman RN. Extreme insulin resistance of the central adipose depot in vivo. Diabetes. 2002 Mar; 51(3):755-61. View in: PubMed

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