Syma Iqbal, MD

Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine

Medical Director, Inpatient Services, Norris Cancer Hospital

Medical Director for Ambulatory Services/Infusion Center

Associate Cancer Physician in Chief

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Dr. Syma Iqbal graduated from the Keck School of Medicine of USC in 1995 and completed a Hematology and Oncology Fellowship in 2001. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Division of Oncology at the Keck School of Medicine/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Section Chief of Gastrointestinal Oncology. She is the Associate Cancer Physician in Chief for USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Keck Medicine of USC and serves as Medical Director of both Ambulatory/Infusion and Inpatient Services for Norris Cancer Hospital. Currently, Dr. Iqbal Chairs the Norris Clinical Investigations Committee. Dr. Iqbal is also an accomplished clinical researcher and has led and participated in trials for gastrointestinal malignancies. She is a national thought leader in the systemic therapy of esophageal and gastric cancer, and her national leadership posts include serving as co-Chair of the Southwest Oncology Group Esophago-Gastric Committee and Chair of the National Cancer Institute’s Esophago-Gastric Task Force.


  • A phase II study of guadecitabine combined with irinotecan vs regorafenib or TAS-102 in irinotecan-refractory metastatic colorectal cancer patients Int J Cancer. 2024 May 15; 154(10):1794-1801. . View in PubMed
  • Role of PD-1 Inhibitors in the Treatment of Esophagogastric Adenocarcinoma: Patient Selection and Reported Outcomes Cancer Manag Res. 2023; 15:265-275. . View in PubMed
  • Phase II Trial of Neoadjuvant Bevacizumab with Modified FOLFOX7 in Patients with Stage II and III Rectal Cancer Oncologist. 2020 12; 25(12):e1879-e1885. . View in PubMed
  • Comprehensive Genomic Profiling of Gastroenteropancreatic Neuroendocrine Neoplasms (GEP-NENs) Clin Cancer Res. 2020 11 15; 26(22):5943-5951. . View in PubMed
  • Randomized, Phase II Study Prospectively Evaluating Treatment of Metastatic Esophageal, Gastric, or Gastroesophageal Cancer by Gene Expression of ERCC1: SWOG S1201 J Clin Oncol. 2020 02 10; 38(5):472-479. . View in PubMed
  • Nivolumab for previously treated unresectable metastatic anal cancer (NCI9673): a multicentre, single-arm, phase 2 study Lancet Oncol. 2017 04; 18(4):446-453. . View in PubMed
  • Phase 2 study of MK-2206, an allosteric inhibitor of AKT, as second-line therapy for advanced gastric and gastroesophageal junction cancer: A SWOG cooperative group trial (S1005) Cancer. 2015 Jul 01; 121(13):2193-7. . View in PubMed
  • Prognostic impact of the c-MET polymorphism on the clinical outcome in locoregional gastric cancer patients Pharmacogenet Genomics. 2014 Dec; 24(12):588-96. . View in PubMed
  • Dual blockade of epidermal growth factor receptor and insulin-like growth factor receptor-1 signaling in metastatic pancreatic cancer: phase Ib and randomized phase II trial of gemcitabine, erlotinib, and cixutumumab versus gemcitabine plus erlotinib (SWOG S0727) Cancer. 2014 Oct 01; 120(19):2980-5. . View in PubMed
  • Multi-drug inhibition of the HER pathway in metastatic colorectal cancer: results of a phase I study of pertuzumab plus cetuximab in cetuximab-refractory patients Invest New Drugs. 2014 Feb; 32(1):113-22. . View in PubMed
  • New directions in perioperative management of locally advanced esophagogastric cancer Am Soc Clin Oncol Educ Book. 2014; e172-8. . 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
  • Postoperative intraperitoneal 5-fluoro-2′-deoxyuridine added to chemoradiation in patients curatively resected (R0) for locally advanced gastric and gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma Ann Surg Oncol. 2012 Feb; 19(2):478-85. . 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
  • S0356: a phase II clinical and prospective molecular trial with oxaliplatin, fluorouracil, and external-beam radiation therapy before surgery for patients with esophageal adenocarcinoma J Clin Oncol. 2011 Dec 01; 29(34):4555-60. . View in PubMed
  • Phase I clinical trial of pegylated liposomal Doxorubicin and docetaxel in patients with advanced solid tumors Am J Clin Oncol. 2011 Feb; 34(1):27-31. . View in PubMed
  • Gender-specific genomic profiling in metastatic colorectal cancer patients treated with 5-fluorouracil and oxaliplatin Pharmacogenomics. 2011 Jan; 12(1):27-39. . 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
  • 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
  • Gender-related survival differences associated with EGFR polymorphisms in metastatic colon cancer Cancer Res. 2008 Apr 15; 68(8):3037-42. . View in PubMed
  • Thymidylate synthase haplotype is associated with tumor recurrence in stage II and stage III colon cancer Pharmacogenet Genomics. 2008 Feb; 18(2):161-8. . View in PubMed
  • Serum lactate dehydrogenase levels and glycolysis significantly correlate with tumor VEGFA and VEGFR expression in metastatic CRC patients Pharmacogenomics. 2007 Dec; 8(12):1705-13. . 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
  • FCGR2A and FCGR3A polymorphisms associated with clinical outcome of epidermal growth factor receptor expressing metastatic colorectal cancer patients treated with single-agent cetuximab J Clin Oncol. 2007 Aug 20; 25(24):3712-8. . 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
  • Molecular determinants of irinotecan efficacy Int J Cancer. 2006 Nov 15; 119(10):2435-42. . View in PubMed
  • Gene expression levels of epidermal growth factor receptor, survivin, and vascular endothelial growth factor as molecular markers of lymph node involvement in patients with locally advanced rectal cancer Clin Colorectal Cancer. 2006 Nov; 6(4):305-11. . View in PubMed
  • Epidermal growth factor receptor and epidermal growth factor receptor variant III gene expression in metastatic colorectal cancer Clin Colorectal Cancer. 2006 Sep; 6(3):214-8. . View in PubMed
  • Gene expression in tumor-adjacent normal tissue is associated with recurrence in patients with rectal cancer treated with adjuvant chemoradiation Pharmacogenet Genomics. 2006 Aug; 16(8):555-63. . View in PubMed
  • Cyclin D1 and epidermal growth factor polymorphisms associated with survival in patients with advanced colorectal cancer treated with Cetuximab Pharmacogenet Genomics. 2006 Jul; 16(7):475-83. . View in PubMed
  • Genomic profiling associated with recurrence in patients with rectal cancer treated with chemoradiation Pharmacogenomics. 2006 Jan; 7(1):67-88. . View in PubMed
  • Phase I clinical trial of weekly docetaxel and exisulind, a novel inducer of apoptosis Invest New Drugs. 2006 Jan; 24(1):79-83. . View in PubMed
  • A phase II study of farnesyl transferase inhibitor R115777 in pancreatic cancer: a Southwest oncology group (SWOG 9924) study Invest New Drugs. 2005 Oct; 23(5):485-7. . View in PubMed
  • Phase I clinical and pharmacokinetic trial of docetaxel and irinotecan administered on a weekly schedule Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2005 Jul; 56(1):75-82. . View in PubMed
  • Molecular determinants of cetuximab efficacy J Clin Oncol. 2005 May 20; 23(15):3536-44. . View in PubMed
  • Angiogenesis inhibitors in the treatment of colorectal cancer Semin Oncol. 2004 Dec; 31(6 Suppl 17):10-6. . 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
  • Integration of novel agents in the treatment of colorectal cancer Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2004 Sep; 54 Suppl 1:S32-9. . 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
  • Tailored chemotherapy for colorectal cancer: a new approach to therapy Cancer Invest. 2004; 22(5):762-73. . View in PubMed
  • Molecular predictors of treatment and outcome in colorectal cancer Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2003 Oct; 5(5):399-405. . View in PubMed
  • Targeted therapy and pharmacogenomic programs Cancer. 2003 Apr 15; 97(8 Suppl):2076-82. . View in PubMed