Zahra Maleki, M.D.

Headshot of Zahra Maleki
  • Associate Professor of Pathology

Languages: English, Farsi


Cytopathology, Exfoliative Cytology, Fine Needle Aspiration, Pathology more

Research Interests

Translational studies in lung neoplasms


The Johns Hopkins Hospital

600 N. Wolfe Street
Department of Pathology, 412C
Baltimore, MD 21287 map


Dr. Zahra Maleki is an associate professor of pathology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Her areas of clinical expertise include surgical pathology and cytopathology. Her priority as a clinician and pathologist is to serve the patients by performing both fine needle aspirations and on site evaluations of specimen adequacy, and providing an accurate, timely diagnosis. She teaches and mentors fellows, residents, and students at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

She received her medical degree from Shaheed Beheshti University of Medical Sciences and completed a residency in anatomic and clinical pathology at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine. She performed her first fellowship at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine in pathology and a second fellowship in cytopathology at the University of Miami.

Dr. Maleki's research interests include head/neck and lung neoplasms. She is investigating the role of human papilloma virus (HPV) in head and neck squamous cell carcinomas.

She has published papers in surgical pathology and cytopathology. more


  • Associate Professor of Pathology

Departments / Divisions



  • MD; Shaheed Beheshti University of Medical Sciences (1995)


  • Anatomic and Clinical Pathology; Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine (2004)


  • Cytopathology; Jackson Memorial Hospital (2007)
  • Pathology; Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine (2005)

Board Certifications

  • American Board of Pathology (Anatomic & Clinical Pathology) (2005)
  • American Board of Pathology (Cytopathology) (2008)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Zahra Maleki is a cytopathologist with a particular interest in head and neck and lung neoplasms. She is investigating the role of human papilloma virus (HPV) in head and neck squamous cell carcinomas. She believes that further investigation of HPV and its pathway may initiate preventive measures in the future.

Selected Publications

Maleki Z, Bailis AJ, Argani CH, Askin FB, Graham EM. Periventricular leukomalacia and  placental histopathologic abnormalities. Obstet Gynecol. 2009 Nov;114(5):1115-20.

Maleki Z, Kim HS, Thonse VR, Judson K, Vinh TN, Vang R. Uterine artery embolization with trisacryl gelatin microspheres in women treated for leiomyomas: a  clinicopathologic analysis of alterations in gynecologic surgical specimens. Int J Gynecol Pathol. 2010 May;29(3):260-8.

Maleki Z.  Diagnostic issues with cytopathologic interpretation of lung neoplasms displaying high-grade basaloid or neuroendocrine morphology. Diagn Cytopathol. 2011 Mar;39(3):159-67. doi: 10.1002/dc.21351.

*Bishop JA, *Maleki Z, Valsamakis A, Ogawa T, Chang X, Pai SI, Westra WH. Application of the hybrid capture 2 assay to squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck: a convenient liquid-phase approach for the reliable determination of human papillomavirus status.  Cancer Cytopathol. 2012 Feb;120(1):18-25. doi: 10.1002/cncy.20175. *The first and second authors have contributed equally.

Maleki Z, Shariat S, Mokri M, Atri M. ER-negative /PR-positive Breast Carcinomas or Technical Artifacts in Immunohistochemistry? Arch Iran Med. 2012 Jun;15(6):366-9.

Vincent J, Maleki Z. Elastofibroma: cytomorphologic, histologic, and radiologic findings in five cases. Diagn Cytopathol. 2012 Aug;40 Suppl 2:E99-E103. doi: 10.1002/dc.21732. (selected as associated invited editorial and for bone and soft tissue special issue)

Ho CY, Maleki Z. Giant cell tumor of tendon sheath: cytomorphologic and radiologic findings in 41 patients. Diagn Cytopathol. 2012 Aug;40 Suppl 2:E94-8. doi: 10.1002/dc.22840. (selected as associated invited editorial and for bone and soft tissue special issue)

Maleki Z, Erozan Y, Geddes S, Li QK. Endorectal ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration: a useful diagnostic tool for perirectal and intraluminal lesions. Acta Cytol 2013;57 (1):9-18.

Zheng G, Ettinger DS, Maleki Z. Utility of the quantitative Ki-67 proliferation index and CD56 together in the cytologic diagnosis of small cell lung carcinoma and other lung neuroendocrine tumors.  Acta Cytol 2013;57(3):281-90.

Bagby C, Ronnett BM, Yemelyanova A, Maleki Z, Kuhn E, Vang R. Clinically occult tubal and ovarian high-grade serous carcinomas presenting in uterine samples: diagnostic pitfalls and clues to improve recognition of tumor origin. Int J Gynecol Pathol 2013 Sep;32 (5), 433-443. doi: 10.1097/PGP.0b013e31826a6446.

Pindrik J, Macki M, Bydon M, Maleki Z, Bydon A. Midline synovial and ganglion cysts causing symptomatic lumbar stenosis: literature review and case series. World J Clin Cases 2013 Dec 16;1(9): 285–9. doi: 10.12998/wjcc.v1.i9.285.

Sathiyamoorthy S, Maleki Z. Cytomorphologic overlap of differentiated thyroid carcinoma and lung adenocarcinoma and diagnostic value of TTF-1 and TGB on cytologic material. Diagn Cytopathol 2014 Jan;42(1):5-10. doi: 10.1002/dc.22997.

Smith DF, Maleki Z, Coughlan D, Gooi Z, Akpeng B, Ogawa T, Bishop JA, Frick KD, Agrawal N, Gourin CG, Ha PK, Koch WM, Richmon JD, Westra WH, Pai SI. Human papillomavirus status of head and neck cancer as determined in cytologic specimens using the hybrid-capture 2 assay. Oral Onco. 2014 Jun;50(6):600-4.

Olson MT, Novak A, Boonyaarunnate T, Trotter J, Sachs S, Kelly D,  Ford S, Cornish TC, Toll S, Tatsas AD, Maleki Z, Erozan YS, Rosenthal DL. Reproducibility of the Johns Hopkins Hospital template for urologic cytology samples. J Am Soc Cytopathol May-June 2014;3(3):156-64.

VandenBussche CJ, Maleki Z. Fine needle aspiration of squamous-lined cysts of the pancreas. Diagnostic Cytopatholog 2014 Jul;42(7):592-9. doi: 10.1002/dc.23080.

Toll AD, Kelly D, Maleki Z.  Utility of P16 expression and Ki-67 proliferation index in ASCUS and ASC-H pap tests. Diagn Cytopathol 2014 Jul;42(7):576-81. doi: 10.1002/dc.23076.

VandenBussche CJ, Wakely P, Siddiqui M, Maleki Z, Ali S. Cytopathologic characteristics of epithelioid vascular malignancies. Acta Cytol 2014;58(4):356-66. doi: 10.1159/000366151.

VandenBussche CJ, Illei PB, Lin MT, Ettinger DS, Maleki Z. Molecular alterations in non-small cell lung carcinomas of the young human pathology. Hum Pathol 2014 Dec;45(12):2379-87. doi: 10.1016/j.humpath.2014.08.005. (Selected for Advanced PubMed)

Toll AD, Maleki Z. Cytomorphology of non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) with anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene rearrangement.  Diagn Cytopathol 2015 Jan;43(1):8-15. doi: 10.1002/dc.23160.

Holmes B, Maleki Z, Westra W. The fidelity of p16 staining as a surrogate marker of human papillomavirus (HPV) status in fine needle aspirates and core biopsies of neck node metastases: Implications for HPV testing protocols. Acta Cytol 2015;59(1):97-103. doi: 10.1159/000375148.

Sheikh U, Rodic N, Maleki Z. Extramedullary hematopoiesis: cytomorphologic, histologic, and radiologic findings in 16 cases. Acta Cytol 2015;59(2):144-8. doi: 10.1159/000376602.

Onur I, Crane GM, Maleki Z.  Cytomorphologic and Flow Cytometric Analysis of Cerebrospinal Fluid with T-Cell Lymphoma Involvement: A Retrospective Study of Rare Cases. Acta Cytol. 2015;59(4):325-31. doi: 10.1159/000439106. Epub 2015 Aug 29.

Allison DB, Miller JA, Coquia SF, Maleki Z. Ultrasonography-guided fine-needle aspiration with concurrent small core biopsy of neck masses and lymph nodes yields adequate material for HPV testing in head and neck squamous cell carcinomas. JASC. 1-2, 2016,  5 (1): 22–30. Http://

Natalie Banet, Lisa M. Rooper, and Zahra Maleki. Metastatic HPV-related Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma to the Lung and Mediastinal Lymph Nodes in Aspirated Cytology Material: A Diagnostic Pitfall. Diagn Cytopathol. 2016 Mar;44(3):206-14. doi: 10.1002/dc.23425. Epub 2016 Jan 13.

Lisa M. Rooper, MD, Olga Nikolskaia, MD, Jamal Carter, MD, Yi Ning, MD, PhD, Ming-Tseh Lin, MD, PhD, and Zahra Maleki, MD.  A Single EBUS-TBNA Procedure Can Support a Large Panel of Immunohistochemical Stains, Specific Diagnostic Subtyping, and Multiple Gene Analyses in the Majority of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Cases. Human Pathology. doi:10.1016/j.humpath.2015.12.025. Available online 18 January 2016

Maleki Z. HPV Vaccination: Review Article and an Update.  World J Obstet Gynecol 5(1):16-27. doi: 10.5317/wjog.v5.i1.16. ISSN 2218-6220.

Allison DB, Maleki Z. HPV-related Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma: An Update and Review Article. JASC. Pages 1-13.  DOI:

Book Chapters.      Zahra Maleki. Chapter 6: ERUS and ERUS-FNA of Intramural and Extramural Masses of the Colorectum. Cytology of the Mediastinum and Gut Via Endoscopic Ultrasound-Guided Aspiration”. Ricardo Bardales. Springer.

Maleki Z, Azmi F. Mycosis fungoides of the true vocal cord: a case report and review of the literature. Arch Iran Med. 2010 Sep;13(5):429-31.

Ellis CL, Maleki Z, Ali SZ. Ectopic decidua in abdominal washings found intraoperatively at cesarean section. Diagn Cytopathol 2010 Oct;38(10):740-1.

Feldman MJ, Prosciak M, Maleki Z, Milner SM. Gas Gangrene. J Surg Radiol. 2010 Oct 1;1(2)

Maleki Z, Loveless M, Fraig M. Coexistence of gonadoblastoma and dysgerminoma in a dysgenetic gonad on touch preparation: a case report. Diagn Cytopathol 2011 Jan;39(1):42-4.

Xu R, Solakoglu C, Maleki Z, McGirt MJ, Gokaslan ZL, Bydon A. Hemorrhagic synovial cyst: the possible role of initial trauma and subsequent microtrauma in its pathogenesis: case report. Neurosurgery 2011 Mar;68(3):E858-65; discussion E865.

Tilson M, Maleki Z. Collagen balls in a cervical-vaginal smear: a case report. Diagn Cytopathol. 2011 Oct;39(10):760-1. doi: 10.1002/dc.21527

Li W, Maleki Z. Giant cell tumor of bone mimicking metastatic renal cell carcinoma: a case report. Diagn Cytopathol. 2012 Aug;40 Suppl 2:E169-71. doi: 10.1002/dc.21765.  (selected as associated invited editorial)

Rodic N, Maleki Z. Cytomorphologic findings of Schneiderian papilloma: a case report. Diagn Cytopathol 2012 Dec;40(12):1100-3. doi: 10.1002.

LeBlanc RE, Maleki Z. Herpes simplex viral cytopathic effect in urine cytology. Diagn Cytopathol 2013 Jan;41(1):61-2. doi: 10.1002/dc.21809.

Zhao P, Maleki Z. Strongyloides stercoralis in bronchoalveolar lavage specimen processed as Prussian Blue Stain. Diagn Cytopathol 2013 Feb;41(2):141-3. doi: 10.1002/dc.21822.

Bovbel A, Zaheer A, Maleki Z. Cytomorphologic findings of intraosseous notochordal rest on touch Preparation: A Case Report. Diagnostic Cytopathology.  Diagn Cytopathol. 2015 Mar;43(3):243-6. doi: 10.1002/dc.23186.

Holmes BJ, Subhawong AP, Maleki Z. Mycobacterial spindle cell pseudotumor: atypical mycobacterial infection mimicking malignancy on fine needle aspiration. Diagn Cytopathol 2014 Sep;42(9):772-4. doi: 10.1002/dc.23013.

Sayah M, VandenBussche C, Maleki Z. Epithelioid hemangioendothelioma in pleural effusion. Diagn Cytopathol. 2015 Sep;43(9):751-5. doi: 10.1002/dc.23315. Epub 2015 Jul 17.

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