Keck School Faculty

Heinz-Josef Lenz, MD
Heinz-Josef Lenz, MD
Professor of Medicine;J. Terrence Lanni Chair in Gastrointestinal Cancer Research;Co-Director, USC Center for Molecular Pathway and Drug Discovery
NOR 3456 Health Sciences Campus Los Angeles
Heinz-Josef Lenz, M.D., FACP, is the Associate Director for Clinical Research and Co-Leader of the Gastrointestinal Cancers Program at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Lenz is Professor of Medicine and Preventive Medicine, Section Head of GI Oncology in the Division of Medical Oncology and Co-Director of the Colorectal Center at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.

Dr. Lenz received his medical degree from Johannes-Gutenberg Universität in Mainz, Germany, in 1985. He completed a residency in Hematology and Oncology at the University Hospital Tübingen in Germany, a clerkship in Oncology at George Washington University in Washington, DC, and a clerkship in Hematology at Beth Israel Hospital of Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. He served subsequent fellowships in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.

An active researcher, Dr. Lenz focuses on topics including the regulation of gene expression involved in drug resistance, patients at high risk of developing colorectal cancer, and determination of carcinogenesis, methods of early detection, and better surveillance of these cancers. He is a member of several professional societies, including the American Association for Cancer Research, the American Gastroenterology Association, and the National Society of Genetic Counselors. He also serves on the National Advisory Board of a number of professional organizations. Dr. Lenz is the author of numerous peer-reviewed publications and invited papers, reviews, and editorials. He also serves as Co-Chair of the GI Committee and Correlative Science Committee for SWOG. He is a member of the NCI Task Force for Gastroesophageal Cancer, the NCI Steering Committee and the NCI Translational Science Committee. In addition to having an NCI-funded laboratory, he was a recipient of the ASCO Young Investigator Award, the ASCO Career Development Award, and the STOP Cancer Career Development Award. He has been listed in the Best Doctors’ database ( since 2003.

As Associate Director for Clinical Research, Dr. Lenz oversees the programmatic activities of the Gastrointestinal Cancers, Genitourinary Cancers, Women’s Cancers, and Leukemia and Lymphoma Programs.

Western Society of Clinical Investigation: Outstanding Investigator Award, 2016

The WunderGlo Foundation: 1st Annual Cancer Warrior Award, 2012

USC: Bob Chandler Courage Award, 2003

2003 Annual Retreat on Cancer Research: The Gallo Award, 2003

Conquer Cancer Foundation: ASCO Career Development Award, 1995-1998

Conquer Cancer Foundation: ASCO Young Investigator Award, 1994

12-Chemokine signature, a predictor of tumor recurrence in colorectal cancer Int J Cancer. 2020 Jul 15; 147(2):532-541. . View in PubMed

A phase 1b dose escalation study of Wnt pathway inhibitor vantictumab in combination with nab-paclitaxel and gemcitabine in patients with previously untreated metastatic pancreatic cancer Invest New Drugs. 2020 Jun; 38(3):821-830. . View in PubMed

Anti-EGFR Therapy Induces EGF Secretion by Cancer-Associated Fibroblasts to Confer Colorectal Cancer Chemoresistance Cancers (Basel). 2020 May 28; 12(6). . View in PubMed

A polymorphism within the R-spondin 2 gene predicts outcome in metastatic colorectal cancer patients treated with FOLFIRI/bevacizumab: data from FIRE-3 and TRIBE trials Eur J Cancer. 2020 May; 131:89-97. . View in PubMed

Associations of Physical Activity With Survival and Progression in Metastatic Colorectal Cancer: Results From Cancer and Leukemia Group B (Alliance)/SWOG 80405 J Clin Oncol. 2019 Oct 10; 37(29):2620-2631. . View in PubMed

Aryl hydrocarbon receptor nuclear translocator-like (ARNTL/BMAL1) is associated with bevacizumab resistance in colorectal cancer via regulation of vascular endothelial growth factor A EBioMedicine. 2019 Jul; 45:139-154. . View in PubMed

B cell and B cell-related pathways for novel cancer treatments Cancer Treat Rev. 2019 Feb; 73:10-19. . View in PubMed

A phase I pharmacokinetic study of belinostat in patients with advanced cancers and varying degrees of liver dysfunction Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2019 11; 85(11):2499-2511. . View in PubMed

A Multicenter Comparison of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Discussions in Oncology Care: The Role of Time, Patient-Centeredness, and Practice Context Oncologist. 2019 11; 24(11):e1180-e1189. . View in PubMed

A phase 1b study evaluating the safety and pharmacokinetics of regorafenib in combination with cetuximab in patients with advanced solid tumors Int J Cancer. 2019 11 01; 145(9):2450-2458. . View in PubMed

AMPK variant, a candidate of novel predictor for chemotherapy in metastatic colorectal cancer: A meta-analysis using TRIBE, MAVERICC and FIRE3 Int J Cancer. 2019 10 15; 145(8):2082-2090. . View in PubMed

A Phase II Study of Celecoxib With Irinotecan, 5-Fluorouracil, and Leucovorin in Patients With Previously Untreated Advanced or Metastatic Colorectal Cancer Am J Clin Oncol. 2018 12; 41(12):1193-1198. . View in PubMed

Association Between Height and Clinical Outcome in Metastatic Colorectal Cancer Patients Enrolled Onto a Randomized Phase 3 Clinical Trial: Data From the FIRE-3 StudyClin Colorectal Cancer. 2018 09; 17(3):215-222. e3. . View in PubMed

Biomarker-driven and molecular targeted therapies for colorectal cancers Semin Oncol. 2018 06; 45(3):124-132. . View in PubMed

A phase I trial of escalating doses of cixutumumab (IMC-A12) and sorafenib in the treatment of advanced hepatocellular carcinoma Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2018 05; 81(5):957-963. . View in PubMed

A phase 1 dose-escalation study of veliparib with bimonthly FOLFIRI in patients with advanced solid tumours Br J Cancer. 2018 04; 118(7):938-946. . View in PubMed

Cetuximab Combined With Induction Oxaliplatin and Capecitabine, Followed by Neoadjuvant Chemoradiation for Locally Advanced Rectal Cancer: SWOG 0713 Clin Colorectal Cancer. 2018 03; 17(1):e121-e125. . View in PubMed

A genetic variant in Rassf1a predicts outcome in mCRC patients treated with cetuximab plus chemotherapy: results from FIRE-3 and JACCRO 05 and 06 trials Pharmacogenomics J. 2018 01; 18(1):43-48. . View in PubMed

Andecaliximab/GS-5745 Alone and Combined with mFOLFOX6 in Advanced Gastric and Gastroesophageal Junction Adenocarcinoma: Results from a Phase I Study Clin Cancer Res. 2018 08 15; 24(16):3829-3837. . View in PubMed

A Polymorphism within the Vitamin D Transporter Gene Predicts Outcome in Metastatic Colorectal Cancer Patients Treated with FOLFIRI/Bevacizumab or FOLFIRI/Cetuximab Clin Cancer Res. 2018 02 15; 24(4):784-793. . View in PubMed

A Phase Ib Dose-Escalation Study of Encorafenib and Cetuximab with or without Alpelisib in Metastatic BRAF-Mutant Colorectal Cancer Cancer Discov. 2017 06; 7(6):610-619. . View in PubMed

Autophagy-related polymorphisms predict hypertension in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer treated with FOLFIRI and bevacizumab: Results from TRIBE and FIRE-3 trials Eur J Cancer. 2017 05; 77:13-20. . View in PubMed

A Study of Thymidylate Synthase Expression as a Biomarker for Resectable Colon Cancer: Alliance (Cancer and Leukemia Group B) 9581 and 89803 Oncologist. 2017 01; 22(1):107-114. . View in PubMed

An Open-Label, Dose-Escalation Phase I Study of Anti-TYRP1 Monoclonal Antibody IMC-20D7S for Patients with Relapsed or Refractory Melanoma Clin Cancer Res. 2016 Nov 01; 22(21):5204-5210. . View in PubMed

Biomarker in Colorectal Cancer Cancer J. 2016 May-Jun; 22(3):156-64. . View in PubMed

Body Mass Index Is Prognostic in Metastatic Colorectal Cancer: Pooled Analysis of Patients From First-Line Clinical Trials in the ARCAD Database J Clin Oncol. 2016 Jan 10; 34(2):144-50. . View in PubMed

A Phase II Biomarker-Embedded Study of Lapatinib plus Capecitabine as First-line Therapy in Patients with Advanced or Metastatic Gastric Cancer Mol Cancer Ther. 2016 09; 15(9):2251-8. . View in PubMed

CDX2 as a Prognostic Biomarker in Colon Cancer N Engl J Med. 2016 06 02; 374(22):2183. . View in PubMed

A novel antimetabolite: TAS-102 for metastatic colorectal cancer Expert Rev Clin Pharmacol. 2016; 9(3):355-65. . View in PubMed

Analysis of circulating DNA and protein biomarkers to predict the clinical activity of regorafenib and assess prognosis in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer: a retrospective, exploratory analysis of the CORRECT trial Lancet Oncol. 2015 Aug; 16(8):937-48. . View in PubMed

A phase I, pharmacokinetic, and pharmacodynamic evaluation of the DNA methyltransferase inhibitor 5-fluoro-2'-deoxycytidine, administered with tetrahydrouridine Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2015 Mar; 75(3):537-46. . View in PubMed

Association of variants in genes encoding for macrophage-related functions with clinical outcome in patients with locoregional gastric cancer Ann Oncol. 2015 Feb; 26(2):332-9. . View in PubMed

A let-7 microRNA-binding site polymorphism in KRAS predicts improved outcome in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer treated with salvage cetuximab/panitumumab monotherapy Clin Cancer Res. 2014 Sep 01; 20(17):4499-4510. . View in PubMed

A randomized, phase II study of the anti-insulin-like growth factor receptor type 1 (IGF-1R) monoclonal antibody robatumumab (SCH 717454) in patients with advanced colorectal cancer Cancer Med. 2014 Aug; 3(4):988-97. . View in PubMed

ADAM17-dependent c-MET-STAT3 signaling mediates resistance to MEK inhibitors in KRAS mutant colorectal cancer Cell Rep. 2014 Jun 26; 7(6):1940-55. . View in PubMed

Association of common gene variants in the WNT/ß-catenin pathway with colon cancer recurrence Pharmacogenomics J. 2014 Apr; 14(2):142-50. . View in PubMed

A small cog in a big wheel: PIK3CA mutations in colorectal cancer J Natl Cancer Inst. 2013 Dec 04; 105(23):1775-6. . View in PubMed

An individual coding polymorphism and the haplotype of the SPARC gene predict gastric cancer recurrence Pharmacogenomics J. 2013 Aug; 13(4):342-8. . View in PubMed

Assessment of HER2 gene amplification in adenocarcinomas of the stomach or gastroesophageal junction in the INT-0116/SWOG9008 clinical trial Ann Oncol. 2013 Jul; 24(7):1754-61. . View in PubMed

A phase I trial of oxaliplatin in combination with docetaxel in patients with advanced solid tumors Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2013 Jul; 72(1):85-91. . View in PubMed

Assessing the in vivo efficacy of biologic antiangiogenic therapies Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2013 Jan; 71(1):1-12. . View in PubMed

Angiogenesis-related agents in esophageal cancer Expert Opin Biol Ther. 2012 Oct; 12(10):1335-45. . View in PubMed

A phase II randomized study of cetuximab and bevacizumab alone or in combination with gemcitabine as first-line therapy for metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma Invest New Drugs. 2012 Aug; 30(4):1597-606. . View in PubMed

A randomized phase II of gemcitabine and sorafenib versus sorafenib alone in patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer Invest New Drugs. 2012 Jun; 30(3):1175-83. . View in PubMed

A phase I study of veliparib in combination with metronomic cyclophosphamide in adults with refractory solid tumors and lymphomas Clin Cancer Res. 2012 Mar 15; 18(6):1726-34. . View in PubMed

A phase I and pharmacokinetic study of oral 3-aminopyridine-2-carboxaldehyde thiosemicarbazone (3-AP, NSC #663249) in the treatment of advanced-stage solid cancers: a California Cancer Consortium Study Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2012 Mar; 69(3):835-43. . View in PubMed

"HER majesty's a pretty nice girl but she changes from day to day" J Clin Oncol. 2012 Feb 01; 30(4):465-6; author reply 466-7. . View in PubMed

Cancer dormancy: a model of early dissemination and late cancer recurrence Clin Cancer Res. 2012 Feb 01; 18(3):645-53. . View in PubMed

A systems biology approach identifies SART1 as a novel determinant of both 5-fluorouracil and SN38 drug resistance in colorectal cancer Mol Cancer Ther. 2012 Jan; 11(1):119-31. . View in PubMed

A phase II trial of gemcitabine and capecitabine in patients with unresectable or metastatic gallbladder cancer or cholangiocarcinoma: Southwest Oncology Group study S0202 Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2011 Dec; 68(6):1595-602. . View in PubMed

A review of excision repair cross-complementation group 1 in colorectal cancer Clin Colorectal Cancer. 2011 Sep; 10(3):157-64. . View in PubMed

Biomarkers for cetuximab-based neoadjuvant radiochemotherapy in locally advanced rectal cancer Clin Cancer Res. 2011 May 15; 17(10):3469-77. . View in PubMed

A let-7 microRNA-binding site polymorphism in 3'-untranslated region of KRAS gene predicts response in wild-type KRAS patients with metastatic colorectal cancer treated with cetuximab monotherapy Ann Oncol. 2011 Jan; 22(1):104-9. . View in PubMed

Cetuximab as second-line therapy in patients with metastatic esophageal adenocarcinoma: a phase II Southwest Oncology Group Study (S0415) J Thorac Oncol. 2010 Sep; 5(9):1472-6. . View in PubMed

Beyond KRAS: a new approach in metastatic colorectal cancer Lancet Oncol. 2010 Aug; 11(8):706-7. . View in PubMed

A phase I/II trial of vorinostat in combination with 5-fluorouracil in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer who previously failed 5-FU-based chemotherapy Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2010 Apr; 65(5):979-88. . View in PubMed

A phase II study of lapatinib in patients with advanced biliary tree and hepatocellular cancer Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2009 Sep; 64(4):777-83. . View in PubMed

Activity of sunitinib in patients with advanced neuroendocrine tumors J Clin Oncol. 2008 Jul 10; 26(20):3403-10. . View in PubMed

Bortezomib with or without irinotecan in relapsed or refractory colorectal cancer: results from a randomized phase II study J Clin Oncol. 2008 May 10; 26(14):2320-6. . View in PubMed

Accomplishments in 2007 in biologic markers for gastrointestinal cancers Gastrointest Cancer Res. 2008 May; 2(3 Suppl):S51-6. . View in PubMed

Administration of fentanyl before remifentanil-based anaesthesia has no influence on post-operative pain or analgesic consumption Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 2008 Jan; 52(1):149-54. . View in PubMed

Association of methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase gene polymorphisms and sex-specific survival in patients with metastatic colon cancer J Clin Oncol. 2007 Aug 20; 25(24):3726-31. . View in PubMed

Adjuvant Therapy for Stage II and III Colon Cancer: Consensus Report of the International Society of Gastrointestinal Oncology Gastrointest Cancer Res. 2007 Jul; 1(4):146-54. . View in PubMed

Cetuximab in the management of colorectal cancer Biologics. 2007 Jun; 1(2):77-91. . View in PubMed

A phase I study of oxaliplatin in combination with gemcitabine: correlation of clinical outcome with gene expression Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2007 Mar; 59(4):549-57. . View in PubMed

ABCB1, SLCO1B1 and UGT1A1 gene polymorphisms are associated with toxicity in metastatic colorectal cancer patients treated with first-line irinotecan Drug Metab Lett. 2007 Jan; 1(1):23-30. . View in PubMed

A multi-center phase II study of BMS-247550 (Ixabepilone) by two schedules in patients with metastatic gastric adenocarcinoma previously treated with a taxane Invest New Drugs. 2006 Sep; 24(5):441-6. . View in PubMed

Anti-EGFR mechanism of action: antitumor effect and underlying cause of adverse events Oncology (Williston Park). 2006 Apr; 20(5 Suppl 2):5-13. . View in PubMed

[Predictive and prognostic factors in the neoadjuvant/adjuvant therapy of gastrointestinal tumors: wishful thinking or reality? ]. Zentralbl Chir. 2006 Apr; 131(2):148-56.. View in PubMed

A randomized phase II trial of the matrix metalloproteinase inhibitor BMS-275291 in hormone-refractory prostate cancer patients with bone metastases Clin Cancer Res. 2006 Mar 01; 12(5):1556-63. . View in PubMed

Bortezomib plus docetaxel in advanced non-small cell lung cancer and other solid tumors: a phase I California Cancer Consortium trial J Thorac Oncol. 2006 Feb; 1(2):126-34. . View in PubMed

Cancer and Leukemia Group B/Southwest Oncology Group trial 80405: a phase III trial of chemotherapy and biologics for patients with untreated advanced colorectal adenocarcinoma Clin Colorectal Cancer. 2005 Nov; 5(4):292-4. . View in PubMed

Assessment of infusional 5-fluorouracil schedule and dose intensity: a Southwest Oncology Group and Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group study Clin Colorectal Cancer. 2005 Jul; 5(2):119-23. . View in PubMed

Antiangiogenic agents in cancer therapy Oncology (Williston Park). 2005 Apr; 19(4 Suppl 3):17-25. . View in PubMed

Angiogenesis as a target in colorectal cancer therapyIntroduction. Semin Oncol. 2004 Dec; 31(6 Suppl 17):1-2. . View in PubMed

Capecitabine: the new generation of fluoropyrimidines in colorectal cancer Expert Rev Anticancer Ther. 2004 Dec; 4(6):947-55. . View in PubMed

Angiogenesis inhibitors in the treatment of colorectal cancer Semin Oncol. 2004 Dec; 31(6 Suppl 17):10-6. . View in PubMed

A phase II study of high-dose 24 hour continuous infusion 5-FU and leucovorin and low-dose PALA for patients with advanced pancreatic adenocarcinoma: a Southwest Oncology Group Study Invest New Drugs. 2004 Aug; 22(3):335-41. . View in PubMed

A multivariate analysis of genomic polymorphisms: prediction of clinical outcome to 5-FU/oxaliplatin combination chemotherapy in refractory colorectal cancer Br J Cancer. 2004 Jul 19; 91(2):344-54. . View in PubMed

A 6 bp polymorphism in the thymidylate synthase gene causes message instability and is associated with decreased intratumoral TS mRNA levels Pharmacogenetics. 2004 May; 14(5):319-27. . View in PubMed

A novel single nucleotide polymorphism within the 5' tandem repeat polymorphism of the thymidylate synthase gene abolishes USF-1 binding and alters transcriptional activity Cancer Res. 2003 Jun 01; 63(11):2898-904. . View in PubMed

Association between glutathione S-transferase P1, T1, and M1 genetic polymorphism and survival of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer J Natl Cancer Inst. 2002 Jun 19; 94(12):936-42. . View in PubMed

A Xeroderma pigmentosum group D gene polymorphism predicts clinical outcome to platinum-based chemotherapy in patients with advanced colorectal cancer Cancer Res. 2001 Dec 15; 61(24):8654-8. . View in PubMed

A polymorphism of the XRCC1 gene predicts for response to platinum based treatment in advanced colorectal cancer Anticancer Res. 2001 Jul-Aug; 21(4B):3075-9. . View in PubMed

Activity of high-dose toremifene plus cisplatin in platinum-treated non-small-cell lung cancer: a phase II California Cancer Consortium Trial Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2001 Jul; 48(1):22-8. . View in PubMed

[Molecular markers as basis for chemotherapy? ]. Chirurg. 2000 Dec; 71(12):1433-9.. View in PubMed

[Continuous infusion of natural interleukin 2 (n IL-2) in treatment of malignant diseases: phase I study] Onkologie. 1990 Dec; 13(6):429-33. . View in PubMed

Brain peptides and duodenal bicarbonate Gastroenterology. 1990 Jun; 98(6):1728-30. . View in PubMed

Cerebroventricular calcitonin gene-related peptide inhibits rat duodenal bicarbonate secretion by release of norepinephrine and vasopressin J Clin Invest. 1990 Jan; 85(1):25-32. . View in PubMed

Central nervous system effects of corticotropin-releasing factor on gastrointestinal transit in the rat Gastroenterology. 1988 Mar; 94(3):598-602. . View in PubMed

Calcitonin gene related peptide inhibits basal, pentagastrin, histamine, and bethanecol stimulated gastric acid secretion Gut. 1985 Jun; 26(6):550-5. . View in PubMed

Central nervous system actions of calcitonin gene-related peptide on gastric acid secretion in the rat Gastroenterology. 1985 Feb; 88(2):539-44. . View in PubMed

[Report of experiences in the treatment of 16 cases of severe glycoside poisoning with digitalis antibody fragments (Fab)] Z Kardiol. 1984 Feb; 73(2):113-9. . View in PubMed

[Long-term infusion-cholangiocholecystography as a routine method (author's transl)] Rontgenblatter. 1976 Nov; 29(11):533-9. . View in PubMed

[Critical evaluation and rational use of nuclear medical techniques in the diagnosis of thyroid function (author's transl)] Rontgenblatter. 1975 Dec; 28(12):569-79. . View in PubMed

[Radiologic examination of the small intestine (author's transl)] Radiologe. 1974 Sep; 14(9):393-402. . View in PubMed

[Inclusion of special radiographic methods (arteriography, venography, lymphography, scintigraphy) into disability evaluation] Chirurg. 1972 Jul; 43(7):304-14. . View in PubMed

[Poliomyelitis immunity in the federal republic of Germany in 1969II]. Zentralbl Bakteriol Orig A. 1971 Jul; 217(3):284-99. . View in PubMed

[Lithium therapy in the prevention of cyclothymic psychoses] Wien Med Wochenschr. 1971 Jun 19; 121(25):522-4. . View in PubMed

[Pattern of butterfly vestibulometry and sound threshold audiometry in labyrinth disorders] Z Laryngol Rhinol Otol. 1970 Aug; 49(8):481-9. . View in PubMed

Powered by SC CTSI
Go to Top