Skip to main content

Arif Hussain, MD

Academic Title:


Primary Appointment:


Secondary Appointment(s):

Pathology, BioChemistry&Molecular Biology

Additional Title:

Co-Leader, Hormone Responsive Cancers Program, University of Maryland Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center


Bressler Research Building, Room 9-041

Phone (Primary):

(410) 328-7225

Phone (Secondary):

(410)328-8089 (Lab)


(410) 328-6896

Education and Training

  • Howard University, BS, Mathematics, 1976 
  • Howard University, MD, Medicine, 1980
  • Washington Hospital Center, Resident, 1983
  • University of Maryland Cancer Center, Fellow, Hematology/Oncology, 1986
  • Memorial Sloan-Kettering, Rye, NY, Research Associate, Molecular Biology, 1987


I am a Professor of Medicine in the Department of Medicine and a member of the University of Maryland Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center. I also have appointments in the Department of Pathology and Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, University of Maryland School of Medicine. I have more than 25 years of experience as an academic medical oncologist. My clinical focus is in genitourinary cancers. I have conducted approximately 50 clinical trials, including investigator-initiated, cooperative group and sponsored clinical trials. I also have an active research laboratory that has been funded by various federal agencies for over 20 years. My research is in cell signaling in cancer cells and in drug resistance mechanisms, particularly in prostate cancer, with the long-term goal of identifying strategies to overcome resistance pathways and improve the efficacy of multi-targeted treatments in advanced prostate cancer. Another area of active, ongoing work is related to population-based studies using national registry datasets to better understand patient demographics, treatment patterns and potential disparities in treatment outcomes in cancer. I have served on the prostate cancer Merit Review Study Section for the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Scientific Review Panel for the National Institutes of Health. I am section editor for Current Opinion in Oncology, Genitourinary Cancers. As Co-Leader of the Hormone Responsive Cancers Program within the UMGCCC, I am involved in enhancing intra-programmatic and inter-programmatic translational and clinical collaborations.

Research/Clinical Keywords

Prostate Cancer, Genitourinary Cancer, Kidney Cancer, Testicular Cancer

Highlighted Publications

Onukwugha E, Kwok Y, Ciezki JP, Yong C, Plaisant C, Reddy CA, Mullins CD, Seal B, Valderrama A, Hussain A. Skeletal-related events and mortality among men diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer: The impact of alternative measures of radiation to the bone. PLoS One. 2017 Apr 18;12(4):e0175956. PMID: 28419139 PMCID: PMC5395181 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0175956

Onukwugha E, Yong C, Naslund M, Woods C, Mullins CD, Seal B, Hussain A. Specialist visits and initiation of cancer-directed treatment among a large cohort of men diagnosed with prostate cancer. Urol Oncol. 2017 Apr;35(4):150.e17-150.e23. PMID: 28041997 DOI: 10.1016/j.urolonc.2016.11.012

Onukwugha E, Osteen P, Jayasekera J, Mullins CD, Mair CA, Hussain A. Racial disparities in urologist visits among elderly men with prostate cancer: a cohort analysis of patient-related and county of residence-related factors. Cancer. 2014 Nov 1;120(21):3385-92. PMID: 24962590 DOI: 10.1002/cncr.28894

Tang Y, Khan MA, Goloubeva O, Lee DI, Jelovac D, Brodie AM, Hussain A. Docetaxel followed by castration improves outcomes in LNCaP prostate cancer-bearing severe combined immunodeficient mice. Clin Cancer Res. 2006 Jan 1;12(1):169-74. PubMed PMID: 1639703

Hussain A, Dawson N, Amin P, Engstrom C, Dorsey B, et al. Docetaxel followed by hormone therapy in men experiencing increasing prostate-specific antigen after primary local treatments for prostate cancer. J Clin Oncol. 2005 Apr 20;23(12):2789–96. PubMed PMID: 15837994

Research Interests

1. Studies related to drug resistance. During my initial training under a KO8 Award, I carried out studies with multidrug resistant and methotrexate-resistant Chinese hamster lung fibroblast cell lines in the laboratory of Dr. P. Melera. I was involved in the identification of full-length and splice variants of p-glycoprotein. I also developed expression vectors using a novel mutant form of dihydrofolate reductase to express high levels of intracellular calcium transport ATPase and human thyrotropin via methotrexate selection for biochemical studies. This training enabled me to set up my own laboratory where I carried out my first independent studies related to inhibitors of intracellular calcium transport ATPase, which was being evaluated by other investigators as a potential therapeutic target in prostate cancer. I was the first to develop and study mammalian cell lines resistant to thapsigargin, a highly potent and specific inhibitor of intracellular calcium ATPases. I showed that alterations in calcium ATPase expression via transcriptional upregulation or gene amplification—and/or alterations in p-glycoprotein expression—mediated resistance to thapsigargin in several cell culture models, including prostate cancer. I also identified a hot spot for point mutations in the thapsigargin binding domain and several mutants of calcium ATPase that can contribute to the drug-resistant phenotype.
a. Gutheil JC, Hart SR, Belani CP, Melera PW, Hussain A. Alterations in Ca2+ transport ATPase and P-glycoprotein expression can mediate resistance to thapsigargin. J Biol Chem. 1994 Mar 18;269(11):7976–81. PubMed PMID: 7907587. 
b. Hussain A, Garnett C, Klein MG, Tsai-Wu JJ, Schneider MF, et al. Direct involvement of intracellular Ca2+ transport ATPase in the development of thapsigargin resistance by Chinese hamster lung fibroblasts. J Biol Chem. 1995 May 19;270(20):12140–6. PubMed PMID: 7744863. 
c. Yu M, Zhong L, Rishi AK, Khadeer M, Hussain A, et al. Specific substitutions at amino acid 256 of the sarcoplasmic/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ transport ATPase mediate resistance to thapsigargin in thapsigargin-resistant hamster cells. J Biol Chem. 1998 Feb 6;273(6):3542–6. PubMed PMID: 9452480. 
d. Lee DI, Sumbilla C, Lee M, Natesavelalar C, Hussain A, et al. Mechanisms of resistance and adaptation to thapsigargin in androgen-independent prostate cancer PC3 and DU145 cells. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2007 Aug 1;464(1):19–27. PubMed PMID: 17475205. 
2. Preclinical studies on multimodal targeting of prostate cancer. Given that castration-resistant prostate cancer is a relatively chemo-resistant state, my laboratory has used LNCaP- based SCID mouse xenografts to evaluate optimal integration of docetaxel and androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) in the treatment of prostate cancer. This work demonstrated that docetaxel when used early (i.e., pre-ADT or concurrent with ADT) provides better antitumor effects than when used after ADT. In other studies using TRAMP mice, I have shown that differential expression of certain antiapoptotic and stress response proteins occurs at different time points post ADT, thus providing a potential time window to target these proteins to enhance antitumor activity of ADT. In addition, my laboratory is the first to show that not only ADT but also docetaxel chemotherapy can lead to the development of neuroendocrine carcinoma in TRAMP mice, suggesting that the cellular stress of antitumor therapies resulting in neuroendocrine carcinoma may possibly contribute to treatment failure. My group has also shown that telomere and microtubule targeting with arsenicals and taxanes, respectively, has synergistic antiproliferative activity in both wild-type and taxane-resistant cell culture models of prostate cancer.
a. Tang Y, Khan MA, Goloubeva O, Lee DI, Hussain A, et al. Docetaxel followed by castration improves outcomes in LNCaP prostate cancer-bearing severe combined immunodeficient mice. Clin Cancer Res. 2006 Jan 1;12(1):169–74. PubMed PMID: 16397039. 
b. Tang Y, Wang L, Goloubeva O, Khan MA, Hussain A, et al. Divergent effects of castration on prostate cancer in TRAMP mice: possible implications for therapy. Clin Cancer Res. 2008 May 15;14(10):2936–43. PubMed PMID: 18483360. 
c. Tang Y, Wang L, Goloubeva O, Khan MA, Hussain A, et al. The relationship of neuroendocrine carcinomas to anti-tumor therapies in TRAMP mice. Prostate. 2009 Dec 1;69(16):1763–73. PubMed PMID: 19691128. 
d. Zhang B, Suer S, Livak F, Adediran S, Hussain A, et al. Telomere and microtubule targeting in treatment-sensitive and treatment-resistant human prostate cancer cells. Mol Pharmacol. 2012 Aug;82(2):310–21. PubMed PMID: 22584221. 
3. Investigator-initiated multimodal clinical trials in prostate cancer. As a trialist, I have conducted a number of clinical trials in prostate cancer that have led to multiple joint publications with other investigators across different institutions, reflecting the contributions of the Hormone Responsive Cancers program to the broader clinical effort in genitourinary cancers at the national level. In addition, I have developed, conducted, and carried to completion investigator-initiated clinical trials in recurrent and high-risk prostate cancer, including Phase II studies that were the first to evaluate the role of sequential docetaxel and ADT in castration-sensitive prostate cancer recurring after definitive local therapies, and concurrent paclitaxel, radiation therapy and ADT in high risk prostate cancer given as primary therapy or in the adjuvant or salvage setting post prostatectomy. I have also actively contributed to an investigator-initiated trial developed at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute that evaluated docetaxel, ADT, and bevacizumab in patients experiencing biochemical failure after primary local therapies for prostate cancer. These studies have established the feasibility of multimodality treatments in the above disease states of prostate cancer.
a. Hussain A, Dawson N, Amin P, Engstrom C, Dorsey B, et al. Docetaxel followed by hormone therapy in men experiencing increasing prostate-specific antigen after primary local treatments for prostate cancer. J Clin Oncol. 2005 Apr 20;23(12):2789–96. PubMed PMID: 15837994. 
b. Dibiase SJ, Hussain A, Kataria R, Amin P, Bassi S, et al. Long-term results of a prospective, Phase II study of long-term androgen ablation, pelvic radiotherapy, brachytherapy boost, and adjuvant docetaxel in patients with high-risk prostate cancer. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2011 Nov 1;81(3):732–6. PubMed PMID: 21036486. 
c. Hussain A, Wu Y, Mirmiran A, DiBiase S, Goloubeva O, et al. Long-term follow-up of a prospective trial of trimodality therapy of weekly paclitaxel, radiation, and androgen deprivation in high-risk prostate cancer with or without prior prostatectomy. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2012 Jan 1;82(1):167–74. PubMed PMID: 21036487. 
d. McKay RR, Gray KP, Hayes JH, Bubley GJ, Hussain A, et al. Docetaxel, bevacizumab, and androgen deprivation therapy for biochemical disease recurrence after definitive local therapy for prostate cancer. Cancer. 2015 Apr 22. PubMed PMID: 25903013. 
4. Population-based studies in prostate cancer using Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare datasets. Using the NCI SEER cancer registry linked to Medicare claims data, our group has demonstrated that a proportion of patients diagnosed with incident prostate cancer do not undergo subsequent staging, and that African Americans and older patients have statistically significant lower odds ratios for being staged than non-Hispanic Whites or younger patients. Further, among those staged, African Americans and older patients are more likely to be diagnosed with metastatic disease. In addition, we have demonstrated that although men with incident stage IV prostate cancer have similar odds ratios for post-urologist medical oncologist/hematologist visits, African Americans and elderly men are less likely to receive chemotherapy for advanced prostate cancer. We have also found that in men diagnosed with stage I–III prostate cancer, racial disparities in post-diagnosis urologist visits is impacted not only by patient-level factors but also by variations at the community level. In an effort to understand the impact of advanced prostate cancer on the extent and types of health services used, in other studies we have identified and quantified health services utilization among such men.
a. Mullins CD, Onukwugha E, Bikov K, Seal B, Hussain A. Health disparities in staging of SEER-Medicare prostate cancer patients in the United States. Urology. 2010 Sep 76(3):566–72. PubMed PMID: 20163844; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3736596. 
b. Onukwugha E, Mullins CD, Hsu VD, Seal B, Hussain A. Effect of urologists and medical oncologists on treatment of elderly men with Stage IV prostate cancer. Urology. 2011 May 77(5):1088–95. PubMed PMID: 21439617. 
c. Yong C, Onukwugha E, Mullins CD, Seal B, Hussain A. The use of health services among elderly patients with stage IV prostate cancer in the initial period following diagnosis. J Geriatr Oncol. 2014 Jul 5(3):290–8. PubMed PMID: 24780283. 
d. Onukwugha E, Osteen P, Jayasekera J, Mullins CD, Hussain A, et al. Racial disparities in urologist visits among elderly men with prostate cancer: a cohort analysis of patient-related and county of residence-related factors. Cancer. 2014 Nov 1;120(21):3385–92. PubMed PMID: 24962590. 

Links of Interest