Nilofer Saba Azad, M.D.

Headshot of Nilofer Saba Azad
  • Co-Director of Cancer Genetics and Epigenetics
  • Professor of Oncology

Languages: English, Hindi, Urdu


Bile Duct Cancer, Cholangiocarcinoma, Clinical Trials, Colon Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Gastrointestinal Cancers, Gastrointestinal Tumors, Medical Oncology, Pancreatic Cancer, Rectal Cancer more

Research Interests

GI Cancers: Colorectal, pancreatobiliary

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Outside of Maryland & Washington D.C.

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Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center

Appointment Phone: 410-955-8964
401 N. Broadway
Baltimore, MD 21231
Phone: 410-955-8893
Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center - Google Maps


Dr. Nilofer S. Azad is an associate professor of oncology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Azad directs the Developmental Therapeutics Clinical Trials Program for the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center. 

Dr. Azad earned her medical degree and completed a residency in internal medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. She then complete a fellowship in oncology and hematology at the National Institute of Health's National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland where she served as chief fellow. Dr. Azad’s research focused on early phase drug development and the intersection of moving exciting laboratory findings into patients for new treatment options

Dr. Azad joined the faculty at the Kimmel Cancer Center in 2008. Dr. Azad’s clinical expertise is in cancers of the gastrointestinal tract, with a concentration in colorectal cancer, cholangiocarcinoma/ pancreaticobiliary tract cancer. Her research efforts are dedicated to developing new drug combinations for patients with advanced cancer. In particular, Dr. Azad’s laboratory and clinical trials explore epigenetic therapy in combination with chemotherapy and immunotherapy to improve survival for patients, as well as molecularly targeted drugs.  She is an active clinical trialist, leading numerous multiple clinical trials of molecularly targeted agents for advanced cancer patients. Dr. Azad has received numerous grants for her work from entities such as the NCI (National Cancer Center), American Cancer Society, American Society of Clinical Research, the Lustgarten Foundation, The Gateway Foundation, and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, among others. She serves as Principal for Johns Hopkins on the Stand Up 2 Cancer Colorectal Cancer Dream team, a $12 million grant to improve therapeutic options for colorectal cancer patients, and is a member of the Stand Up 2 Cancer Epigenetics Dream Team, leading the GI cancer initiatives for the group.  Dr. Azad is a national leader in GI cancer, including serving as a member of the national NCI Colon Cancer Task Force and the NCI MATCH (Molecular Analysis for Therapy Choice) Agents and Genes Working Group, the largest trial of personalized medicine in the country. more


  • Co-Director of Cancer Genetics and Epigenetics
  • Professor of Oncology

Departments / Divisions

  • Oncology - Cancer Genetics and Epigenetics

Centers & Institutes



  • MD; Baylor College of Medicine (2001)


  • Internal Medicine; Baylor College of Medicine (2004)


  • Oncology and Hematology; National Institutes of Health (2008)

Board Certifications

  • American Board of Internal Medicine (Medical Oncology) (2007)

Research & Publications

Clinical Trial Keywords

colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer, cholangiocarcinoma, bile duct cancer

Selected Publications

View all on PubMed

Pelosof L, Yerram SR, Ahuja N, Delmas A, Danilova L, Herman JG, Azad NS. CHFR
silencing or microsatellite instability is associated with increased antitumor
activity of docetaxel or gemcitabine in colorectal cancer. Int J Cancer. 2014 Feb
1;134(3):596-605. doi: 10.1002/ijc.28390. Epub 2013 Aug 24. PubMed PMID:
23873170; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3830586.5

Azad N, Zahnow CA, Rudin CM, Baylin SB. The future of epigenetic therapy in solid tumours--lessons from the past. Nat Rev Clin Oncol. 2013 May;10(5):256-66. doi: 10.1038/nrclinonc.2013.42. Epub 2013 Apr 2. Review. PubMed PMID: 23546521;
PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3730253

Azad NS, Posadas EM, Kwitkowski VE, Steinberg SM, Jain L, Annunziata CM, Minasian L, Sarosy G, Kotz HL, Premkumar A, Cao L, McNally D, Chow C, Chen HX, Wright JJ, Figg WD, Kohn EC. Combination targeted therapy with sorafenib and bevacizumab results in enhanced toxicity and antitumor activity. J Clin Oncol. 2008 Aug 1;26(22):3709-14. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2007.10.8332. Erratum in: J Clin Oncol. 2008 Sep 10;26(26):4363. Figg, William D [added]. PubMed PMID: 18669456.

Shroff RT, Yarchoan M, O'Connor A, Gallagher D, Zahurak ML, Rosner G, Ohaji C, Sartorius-Mergenthaler S, Subbiah V, Zinner R, Azad NS. The oral VEGF receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor pazopanib in combination with the MEK inhibitor trametinib in advanced cholangiocarcinoma. Br J Cancer. 2017 May 23;116(11):1402-1407. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2017.119. Epub 2017 Apr 25. Erratum in: Br J Cancer. 2018 Jan 09;:. PubMed PMID: 28441383; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5520097.

Azad NS, El-Khoueiry A, Yin J, Oberg AL, Flynn P, Adkins D, Sharma A, Weisenberger DJ, Brown T, Medvari P, Jones PA, Easwaran H, Kamel I, Bahary N, Kim G, Picus J, Pitot HC, Erlichman C, Donehower R, Shen H, Laird PW, Piekarz R, Baylin S, Ahuja N. Combination epigenetic therapy in metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) with subcutaneous 5-azacitidine and entinostat: a phase 2 consortium/stand up 2 cancer study. Oncotarget. 2017 May 23;8(21):35326-35338. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.15108. PubMed PMID: 28186961; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5471058.

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