Amar Gajjar, MD
Amar Gajjar, MD

Amar Gajjar, MD

Member, St. Jude Faculty

  • Chair, Department of Pediatric Medicine
  • Co-Chair, Department of Oncology
  • Director, Neuro-Oncology Division
  • Co-Leader, Neurobiology & Brain Tumor Program
  • Scott and Tracie Hamilton Endowed Chair in Brain Tumor Research




MD – Grant Medical College, J.J. Group of Hospitals, Bombay, India

Clinical Interests

My current clinical research interests focus on innovative protocols for the treatment of childhood brain tumors, with a focus on medulloblastomas, PNET and Rhabdoid tumors (ATRT). We just completed a large study (SJMB 96) in which 162 patients were treated. We used a strategy of risk-adapted radiation therapy followed by four cycles of high-dose chemotherapy with stem cell support. We achieved very good results with this approach. Our current study (SJMB 03) opened in September 2003. In this study we are doing extensive biological studies on the tumor tissue so that we can better understand what makes a normal brain cell turn into a tumor cell. We anticipate that this information will help us find new therapies to treat high-risk tumors and allow us to safely reduce therapy in patients that we determine are low-risk patients.

In addition to the biological studies on our SJMB 03 protocol, for the first time ever we are using a neurocognitive rehabilitation strategy to help children preserve their reading skills. This is the first study to prospectively ascertain if such intervention does indeed help children. Additionally, we are doing extensive imaging studies and detailed neuropsychological examinations to better understand the nature of the cognitive deficits so we can devise better strategies to help our children.

Research Interests

I am working with investigators in basic science laboratories to develop new chemotherapeutic agents for the treatment of brain tumors. Collaborative studies seek to unravel the mechanisms by which key anticancer drugs work so we can use them more efficiently.

Selected Publications

Robinson G, Parker M, Kranenburg TA, Lu C, Chen X, Ding L, Phoenix TN, Hedlund E, Wei L, Zhu X, Chalhoub N, Baker SJ, Huether R, Kriwacki R, Curley N, Thiruvenkatam R, Wang J, Wu G, Rusch M, Hong X, Becksfort J, Gupta P, Ma J, Easton J, Vadodaria B, Onar-Thomas A, Lin T, Li S, Pounds S, Paugh S, Zhao D, Kawauchi D, Roussel MF, Finkelstein D, Ellison DW, Lau CC, Bouffet E, Hassall T,Gururangan S, Cohn R, Fulton RS, Fulton LL, Dooling DJ, Ochoa K, Gajjar A, Mardis ER, Wilson RK, Downing JR, Zhang J, Gilbertson RJ. Novel mutations target distinct subgroups of medulloblastoma. Nature June 20, 2012.

Dewire MD, Beltran C, Boop FA, Helton KJ, Ellison DW, McKinnon PJ, Gajjar A, Pai Panandiker AS. Radiation therapy and adjuvant chemotherapy in a patient with a malignant glioneuronal tumor and underlying ataxia telangiectasia: a case report and review of the literature. J Clin Oncol June 11, 2012.

Qaddoumi I, Sane M, Li S, Kocak M, Pai-Panandiker A, Harreld J, Klimo P, Wright K, Broniscer A, Gajjar A. Diagnostic utility and correlation of tumor markers in the serum and cerebrospinal fluid of children with intracranial germ cell tumors. Childs Nerv Syst May 1, 2012.

Pui CH, Pei D, Pappo AS, Howard SC, Cheng C, Sandlund JT, Furman WL, Ribeiro RC, Spunt SL, Rubnitz JE, Jeha S, Hudson MM, Kun LE, Merchant TE, Kocak M, Broniscer A, Metzger ML, Downing JR, Leung W, Evans WE, Gajjar A. Treatment outcomes in black and white children with cancer: results from the SEER database and St Jude Children's Research Hospital, 1992 through 2007. J Clin Oncol April 30, 2012.

Taylor MD, Northcott PA, Korshunov A, Remke M, Cho YJ, Clifford SC, Eberhart CG, Parsons DW, Rutkowski S, Gajjar A, Ellison DW, Lichter P, Gilbertson RJ, Pomeroy SL, Kool M, Pfister SM. Molecular subgroups of medulloblastoma: the current consensus. Acta Neuropathol 123(4):465-72, 2012.

Wright KD, von der Embse K, Coleman J, Patay Z, Ellison DW, Gajjar A. Isochromosome 17q, MYC amplification and large cell/anaplastic phenotype in a case of medullomyoblastoma with extracranial metastases. Pediatr Blood Cancer December 6, 2011.

Paugh BS, Broniscer A, Qu C, Miller CP, Zhang J, Tatevossian RG, Olson JM, Geyer JR, Chi SN, da Silva NS, Onar-Thomas A, Baker JN, Gajjar A, Ellison DW, Baker SJ. Genome-wide analyses identify recurrent amplifications of receptor tyrosine kinases and cell-cycle regulatory genes in diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma. J Clin Oncol September 19, 2011.

Van Poppel M, Klimo P Jr, Dewire M, Sanford RA, Boop F, Broniscer A, Wright K, Gajjar AJ. Resection of infantile brain tumors after neoadjuvant chemotherapy: the St. Jude experience. J Neurosurg Pediatr 8(3):251-6, 2011.

Fouladi M, Stewart CF, Olson J, Wagner LM, Onar-Thomas A, Kocak M, Packer RJ, Goldman S, Gururangan S, Gajjar A, Demuth T, Kun LE, Boyett JM, Gilbertson RJ. Phase I trial of MK-0752 in children with refractory CNS malignancies: a Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium study. J Clin Oncol August 8, 2011.

Pui CH, Gajjar AJ, Kane JR, Qaddoumi IA, Pappo AS. Challenging issues in pediatric oncology. Nat Rev Clin Oncol June 28, 2011.

Pai Panandiker AS, Merchant TE, Beltran C, Wu S, Sharma S, Boop FA, Jenkins JJ, Helton KJ, Wright KD, Broniscer A, Kun LE, Gajjar A. Sequencing of local therapy affects the pattern of treatment failure and survival in children with atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumors of the central nervous system. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys May 19, 2011.

Qaddoumi I, Carey SS, Conklin H, Jenkins J, Sabin N, Boop F, Pai-Panandiker A, Baker JN, Wright K, Broniscer A, Gajjar A. Characterization, treatment, and outcome of intracranial neoplasms in the first 120 days of life. J Child Neurol May 3, 2011.

Armstrong GT, Conklin HM, Huang S, Srivastava D, Sanford R, Ellison DW, Merchant TE, Hudson MM, Hoehn ME, Robison L, Gajjar A, Morris EB. Survival and long-term health and cognitive outcomes after low-grade glioma. Neuro Oncol December 22, 2010.

Cho YJ, Tsherniak A, Tamayo P, Santagata S, Ligon A, Greulich H, Berhoukim R, Amani V, Goumnerova L, Eberhart CG, Lau CC, Olson JM, Gilbertson RJ, Gajjar A, Delattre O, Kool M, Ligon K, Meyerson M, Mesirov JP, Pomeroy SL. Integrative genomic analysis of medulloblastoma identifies a molecular subgroup that drives poor clinical outcome. J Clin Oncol November 22, 2010.

Tatevossian RG, Tang B, Dalton J, Forshew T, Lawson AR, Ma J, Neale G, Shurtleff SA, Bailey S, Gajjar A, Baker SJ, Sheer D, Ellison DW. MYB upregulation and genetic aberrations in a subset of pediatric low-grade gliomas. Acta Neuropathol November 3, 2010.

Broniscer A, Baker JN, Tagen M, Onar-Thomas A, Gilbertson RJ, Davidoff AM, Panandiker AP, Leung W, Chin TK, Stewart CF, Kocak M, Rowland C, Merchant TE, Kaste SC, Gajjar A. Phase I study of vandetanib during and after radiotherapy in children with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma. J Clin Oncol October 4, 2010.

Fouladi M, Stewart CF, Blaney SM, Onar-Thomas A, Schaiquevich P, Packer RJ, Gajjar A, Kun LE, Boyett JM, Gilbertson RJ. Phase I trial of Lapatinib in children with refractory CNS malignancies: a Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium study. J Clin Oncol August 16, 2010.

Palmer SL, Hassall T, Evankovich K, Mabbott DJ, Bonner M, Deluca C, Cohn R, Fisher MJ, Morris EB, Broniscer A, Gajjar A. Neurocognitive outcome 12 months following cerebellar mutism syndrome in pediatric patients with medulloblastoma. Neuro Oncol August 16, 2010.

Qaddoumi I, Ellison DW, Morris EB, Broniscer A, Boop F, Merchant T, Palmer SL, Gajjar A. Dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumors and cognitive outcome: cure at a price? Cancer July 29, 2010.

Johnson RA, Wright KD, Poppleton H, Mohankumar KM, Finkelstein D, Pounds SB, Rand V, Leary SE, White E, Eden C, Hogg T, Northcott P, Mack S, Neale G, Wang YD, Coyle B, Atkinson J, Dewire M, Kranenburg TA, Gillespie Y, Allen JC, Merchant T, Boop FA, Sanford RA, Gajjar A, Ellison DW, Taylor MD, Grundy RG, Gilbertson RJ. Cross-species genomics matches driver mutations and cell compartments to model ependymoma. Nature July 18, 2010.

Broniscer A, Baker JN, Baker SJ, Chi SN, Geyer JR, Morris EB, Gajjar A. Prospective collection of tissue samples at autopsy in children with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma. Cancer June 29, 2010.

Ness KK, Morris EB, Nolan VG, Howell CR, Gilchrist LS, Stovall M, Cox CL, Klosky JL, Gajjar A, Neglia JP. Physical performance limitations among adult survivors of childhood brain tumors. Cancer 16(12):3034-3044, 2010.

Paugh BS, Qu C, Jones C, Liu Z, Adamowicz-Brice M, Zhang J, Bax DA, Coyle B, Barrow J, Hargrave D, Lowe J, Gajjar A, Zhao W, Broniscer A, Ellison DW, Grundy RG, Baker SJ. Integrated molecular genetic profiling of pediatric high-grade gliomas reveals key differences with the adult disease. J Clin Oncol May 17, 2010.

Palmer SL, Reddick WE, Glass JO, Ogg R, Patay Z, Wallace D, Gajjar A. Regional white matter anisotropy and reading ability in patients treated for pediatric embryonal tumors. Brain Imaging Behav March 9, 2010.

Show More

DeWire M, Sanders R, Ellison D, Patay, Z, McKinnon P, Gajjar A. Bi-Allelic BRCA2 Inactivation in Two Brothers with Embryonal CNS Tumors Diagnosed during Infancy. Pediatric Blood and Cancer 2009 (in press).

Forshew T, Tatevossian R, Lawson A, Ma J, Neale G, Ogunkolade W, Jones T, Aarum J, Dalton J, Bailey S, Chaplin T, Carter R, Gajjar A, Broniscer A, Young A, Ellison D, Sheer D. Activation of the ERK/MAPK pathway: a signature genetic defect in posterior fossa pilocytic astrocytomas. Journal of Pathology DOI: 10.1002/path.2558, 2009.

Qaddoumi I, Sultan I, Gajjar A. Outcome and Prognostic features in pediatric gliomas: A review of 6212 cases from the surveillance, epidemiology and end results (SEER) database. Cancer 2009 (in press).

Wright KD, Gajjar A. New chemotherapy strategies and biological agents in the treatment of childhood ependymoma. Child's Nervous System 1-8, 2009. NIHMSID: NIHMS85887

Furman WL, Navid F, Daw NC, McCarville M Beth, McGregor LM, Rodriguez-Galindo C, Panetta JC, Crews KR, Wu J, Gajjar A, Houghton PJ, Santana VM, Stewart CF. A Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor Enhances the Oral Bioavailability of Irinotecan in Pediatric Patients with Refractory Solid Tumors. J Clin Oncol 2009 (in press).

Chintagumpala M, Hassall T, Palmer S, Ashley D, Wallace D, Kasow K, Merchant TE, Krasin MJ, Dauser R, Boop FA, Krance R, Woo S, Cheuk R, Lau C, Gilbertson RJ, Gajjar A. A pilot study of risk adapted craniospinal irradiation followed by dose intensive chemotherapy with stem cell support for treatment of supratentorial primitive neuroectodermal tumors – results of a prospective multicenter collaborative study SJMB 96. Neuro Oncology 11 (1) 33-40, 2009.

Fouladi M, Gajjar A. Prevention of hearing loss in children receiving Cisplatin chemotherapy. J Clin Oncol 27(2): 318-9, 2009.

Fouladi M, Gururangan S, Moghrabi A, Phillips P, Gronewold L, Wallace D, Sanford RA, Gajjar A, Kun LE, Heideman R. Carboplatin-based primary chemotherapy for infants and young children with CNS tumors. Cancer 2009 (in press).

Uziel T, Karginov F, Xie S, Parker J, Wang YD, Gajjar A, He L, Gilbertson RJ, Hannon G, Roussel M. The mir-17-92 cluster collaborates with the Sonic Hedgehog pathway in medulloblastoma. Proc Natl Aca Sci  PMCID: PMC2636735

Armstrong GT, Whitton JS, Gajjar A, Kun LE, Chow EJ, Stovall M, Leisenring W, Robison LE, Sklar C. Abnormal Timing of Menarche in Survivors of Central Nervous System Tumors: The Childhood Cancer Survivor Study. Cancer 2009 (in press). NIHMSID: NIHMS113297

Broniscer A, Baker SJ, Stewart CF, Merchant TE, Laningham FH, Schaiquevich P, Kocak M, Morris B, Endersby R, Ellison DW, Gajjar A. Phase I and Pharmacokinetic studies of Erlotinib administered concurrently with radiotherapy for children, adolescents and young adults with high-grade glioma. Clin Cancer Res 15(2):701-7, 2009. PMCID: PMC2629527

Morris EB, Shelso J, Smeltzer MP, Thomas NA, Karimova EJ, Li CS, Merchant TE, Gajjar A, Kaste SC. The use of bone mineral density in a cohort of brain tumor patients. Pediatri Radiol 38: 1285-92, 2008. NIHMSID: NIHMS98774

Sanders RP, Onar A, Boyett JM, Broniscer A, Morris EB, Qaddoumi I, Armstrong GT, Boop FA, Sanford RA, Kun LE, Merchant TE, Gajjar A. M1 Medulloblastoma: High Risk at any Age. J Neurooncol 90(3): 351-5, 2008. PMCID: PMC2597631

Gottardo NG, Gajjar A. Chemotherapy for malignant brain tumors of childhood. J Child Neurol 10:1149-59, 2008.

Fouladi M, Chintagumpala M, Ashley D, Kellie S, Gururangan S, Hassall T, Stewart CF, Gronewold L, Wallace D, Broniscer A, Hale A, Kasow K, Merchant TE, Morris B, Krasin M, Kun LE, Boyett JM, Gajjar A. Amifostine Protects Against Cisplatin-Induced Ototoxicity in Children with Average-Risk Medulloblastoma. J Clin Oncol 26: 3749-3755, 2008. PMCID: PMC2504739

Broniscer A, Laningham FH, Sanders RP, Kun LE, Ellison DE, Gajjar A. Young Children with Diffuse Pontine Glioma Have a Better Outcome. Cancer 113: 566-72, 2008.

Helton KJ, Weeks JK, Phillips NS, Zou P, Kun LE, Khan RB, Gajjar, Fouladi M, Broniscer A, Boop FA, Li CS, Ogg RJ. Diffusion Tensor Imaging of Brainstem Tumors: Axonal Degeneration of Motor and Sensory Tracts. J Neurosurg Pediatrics 1:270-276, 2008.

Hijiya N, Stewart CF, Zhou Y, Rivera GK, Relling MV, Campana D, Pui CH, Gajjar A. Phase II study of topotecan in combination with dexamethasone, asparaginase, and vincristine in pediatric patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in first relapse. Cancer 112: 1983-91, 2008.

Gajjar A. High dose chemotherapy for recurrent medulloblastoma – time for a reappraisal. Cancer 112 (8): 1643-45, 2008.

Laughton SA, Merchant TE, Sklar C, Kun LE, Fouladi M, Broniscer A, Morris EB, Sanders R, Krasin MJ, Shelso J, Xiong Z, Wallace D, Gajjar A. Endocrine outcomes for children with embryonal brain tumors following risk-adapted cranio-spinal and conformal site irradiation followed by high-dose chemotherapy with stem cell rescue. J Clin Oncol 26(7): 1112-1119, 2008.

Shih CS, Hale GA, Gronewold L, Tong X, Gilger EA, Srivastava DK, Kun LE, Gajjar A, Fouladi MF. High-Dose Chemotherapy with Autologous Stem Cell Rescue for Children with Recurrent Malignant Brain Tumors. Cancer 112 (6): 1345-53, 2008.

Merchant TE, Kun LE, Krasin MJ, Wallace D, Chintagumpala M, Woo S, Ashley DM, Sexton M, Kellie SJ, Ahern V, Gajjar A. A multi institutional prospective trial of reduced dose craniospinal irradiation (23.4 Gy) followed by conformal posterior fossa (36 Gy) and primary site irradiation (55.8 Gy) and dose- intensive chemotherapy for average-risk medulloblastoma. Int J Radiation Oncology Biol Phys 70(3):782–787, 2008.

Schaiquevich P, Panetta JC, Iacono LC, Freeman BB, Santana VM, Gajjar A, Stewart CF. Population pharmacokinetic analysis of Topotecan in pediatric patients with cancer. Clinical Cancer Research 13(22): 6703-11, 2007.

Broniscer A, Gururangan S, MacDonald TJ, Goldman S Packer RJ, Stewart CF, Wallace D,6 Danks MK, Friedman HS, Poussaint TY, Kun LE, Boyett JM, Gajjar A. Phase I Trial of Single-Dose Temozolomide and Continuous Administration of O6-Benzylguanine in Children with Brain Tumors: a Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium Report. Clinical Cancer Research 13(22) 6712-18, 2007.

Sanders RP, Kocak M, Burger PC, Merchant TE, Gajjar A, Broniscer A. High-grade Astrocytoma in young children. Ped Blood & Cancer Jun 6, 2007. [Epub ahead of print]

Stewart CF, Panetta JC, O’Shaughnessy MA, Throm SL, Fraga CH, Owens T, Liu T, Billups C, Rodriguez-Galindo C, Gajjar A, Furman WL, McGregor LM. UGT1A1 promoter genotype correlates with SN-38 pharmacokinetics but not toxicity in patients receiving protracted irinotecan. J Clin Oncol 25(18):2594-600, 2007.

Morris EB, Gajjar A, Okuma J, Yasu Y, Wallace D, Kun L, Merchant TE, Fouladi M, Broniscer A, Robison L, Hudson MM. Survival and Late Mortality in Long-term Survivors of Pediatric Central Nervous System Tumors. J Clin Oncol 25(12) 1532-1538, 2007.

Palmer S, Reddick WE, Gajjar A. Cognitive Impact of Treatment in Medulloblastoma. J Pediatric Psychology 1-10, 2007.

Broniscer A, Panetta JC, Shaughnessy M, Fraga C, Feng B, Krasin MJ, Gajjar A, Stewart CF. Plasma and cerebrospinal fluid pharmacokinetics of Erlotinib and its active metabolite OSI-420. Clin Cancer Res 13(5): 1511-1515, 2007.

Broniscer A, Baker S, West A, Fraser M, Proko E, Kocak M, Dalton J, Zambetti G, Kun LE, Gajjar A, Gilbertson R, Fuller CE. Clinical and Molecular Characteristics of Malignant Transformation of Low-grade Glioma in Children. J Clin Oncol 25 (6): 682-689, 2007.

Calabrese C, Poppleton H, Kocak M, Hogg TL, Fuller C, Hamner B, Oh E Y, Gaber MW, Finkelstien D, Allen M, Frank A, Bayazitov IT, Zakharenko S, Gajjar A, Davidoff A, Gilberston RJ. A perivascular niche for brain tumor stem cells. Cancer Cell 11: 69-82, 2007.

Last update: July 2012