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Qing Kay Li, MD PhD

Associate Professor of Pathology

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  • Associate Professor of Pathology


Cytopathology, Pathology

Research Interests

Early detection of lung and prostate cancer; Lung cancer; Genetic biomarkers


Dr. Qing Kay Li is an associate professor of pathology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Her areas of clinical expertise include cytopathology and surgical pathology.

Dr. Li received her medical degree from Tianjin Medical University. She completed residencies at Tianjin Medical University in internal medicine and Albany Medical College in pathology. She performed numerous fellowships including in internal medicine fellowship at Tianjin Medical University, cell biology fellowships at University Hospitals of Cleveland, the Cleveland Clinic, and the MetroHealth Medical Center, a cytopathology fellowship at University of Michigan Health System, and a pathology fellowship at University Hospitals of Cleveland.

Dr. Li’s research examines ways to apply the advanced technology of cellular and molecular biology to the field of cytopathology, particularly in the area of early detection of lung cancer and prostate cancer.


  • English
  • Chinese
Additional Resources +
  • Education +


    • Cleveland State University (Cleveland OH ) (1996)
    • Tianjin Medical University (Tianjin) (1983)


    • Albany Medical College / Pathology (Albany NY ) (2004)
    • Tianjin Medical University / Internal Medicine (Tianjin) (1987)


    • University Hospitals of Cleveland / Pathology (Cleveland OH ) (2006)
    • University of Michigan Health System / Cytopathology (Ann Arbor MI ) (2005)
    • MetroHealth Medical Center / Cell Biology (Cleveland OH ) (2000)
    • Cleveland Clinic / Cell Biology (Cleveland OH ) (1998)
    • University Hospitals of Cleveland / Cell Biology (Cleveland OH ) (1990)
    • Tianjin Medical University / Internal Medicine (Tianjin) (1988)


    • Cytopathology, American Board of Pathology (2007)
    • Anatomic & Clinical Pathology, American Board of Pathology (2005)
  • Research & Publications +

    Research Summary

    Dr. Qing Kay Li’s research focuses on the early detection of lung and prostate cancers and ways to separate aggressive from non-aggressive tumors of these organs using state-of-the-art molecular tools.

    Recently, Dr. Li and her team identified hundreds of protein and genetic biomarkers in the airway fluid (bronchoalveolar lavage) from lung cancer patients. Their preliminary data shows that these protein and genetic biomarkers have the potential to improve the accuracy of current lung cancer screening tests and could play a role in the early detection of lung cancers, particularly in patients with small lung nodules.

    Dr. Li also identified several serum protein biomarkers in prostate cancer patients, and these markers have the potential to improve the diagnosis of aggressive prostate cancers.

    Selected Publications

    1. Wang X, Chen J, Li QK, Peskoe SB, Zhang B, Coi C, Platz EA, Zhang H, “Overexpression of alpha (1,6) fucosyltransferase associated with aggressive prostate cancer.” Glycobiology. doi:10.1093/glycob/cwu051. Epub 2014 June 5.
    2. Ao MH, Zhang H, Sakowski L, Sharma R, Illei PB, Gabrielson E, Askin F, Li QK. “The utility of a novel triple marker (combination of TTF1, napsin A, and p40) in the subclassification of non–small cell lung cancer.” Human Pathology 45 (5), 926-934. 2014. Doi:
    3. Liu Y, Chen J, Sethi A, Li QK, Chen L, Collins B, Gillet LCJ, Wollscheid B, Zhang H, Aebersold R. “Glycoproteomic Analysis of Prostate Cancer Tissues by Glycoproteomic analysis of prostate cancer tissues by SWATH mass spectrometry discovers N-acylethanolamine acid amidase and protein tyrosine kinase 7 as signatures for tumor aggressiveness.” Mol Cell Proteomics. 2014 April 16. doi:10.1074/mcp.M114.038273.
    4. Holmes BJ, Sokoll LJ, Li QK. “Measurement of fine-needle aspiration thyroglobulin levels increases the detection of metastatic papillary thyroid carcinoma in cystic neck lesions.” Cancer Cytopathology. 2014 March 3. Doi: 10.1002/cncy.2141.
    5. Mahoney K, Cayea D, Li QK, Gelber AC. “A handy clue: palmar fasciitis and polyarthritis syndrome.” Am J Med. 2014 Feb;127(2):116-8. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2013.09.021. Epub 2013 Oct 8.
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    The Johns Hopkins Hospital
    600 N. Wolfe Street
    Baltimore, MD 21287
    Phone: 410-955-0671
    Appointment Phone: 410-550-0671
    Fax: 410-614-9556
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    Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center
    601 N. Caroline Street
    Baltimore, MD 21287
    Appointment Phone: 410-955-0671
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    Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center
    4940 Eastern Avenue
    Baltimore, MD 21224
    Appointment Phone: 410-955-0671
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    • Pathology

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