Andrea B. Apolo, M.D.

Senior Investigator

Genitourinary Malignancies Branch


Building 10 - Magnuson Clinical Center, Room 13N240
Bethesda, MD 20892


Research Topics

Dr. Apolo is dedicated to improving the treatment and survival of patients with genitourinary tumors. Her research involves developing and designing clinical trials to test novel agents for the treatment of urologic cancers. Her primary research interest is in bladder cancer (urothelial carcinoma) and prostate cancer. In particular, she is working to develop new bladder cancer therapies that use targeted agents including anti-angiogenesis compounds, which block the growth of new blood vessels that feed tumors. Other research focuses include improving tumor detection by using new imaging modalities in bladder and prostate cancer and identifying molecular alterations in bladder tumors that will serve as targets for individualized treatment strategies in patients with this disease. Dr. Apolo is fluent in both English and Spanish.


Dr. Andrea Apolo is an internationally recognized expert in bladder cancer research. She graduated summa cum laude from Lehman College, City University of New York, with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Biochemistry. She then earned her medical degree at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. She completed residency training in internal medicine at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City, then completed a medical oncology fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. In 2010 she was recruited to the National Cancer Institute’s Physician-Scientist Early Investigator Program to build a translational bladder cancer program.

Dr. Apolo serves within the Center for Cancer Research of the National Cancer Institute as Head of the Bladder Cancer Section of the Genitourinary Malignancies Branch and Director of the Bladder Cancer and Genitourinary Tumors Multidisciplinary Clinic. She has been instrumental in the clinical development of multiple immunotherapeutic agents and immunotherapeutic combinations, from first-in-human studies through phase 3 clinical trials. She led the bladder cancer study of avelumab that resulted in FDA approval in advanced bladder cancer. She also leads multiple rationally designed, cutting-edge targeted therapy and immunotherapy combination studies in bladder cancer and rare genitourinary tumors.

Dr. Apolo serves on many national and National Institutes of Health committees. She has been an investigator on more than 35 clinical trials, authored over 80 scientific papers or chapters which have been cited over 1,800 times, serves on a number of editorial boards, and has made over 100 scientific presentations at universities and national/international meetings. She has received multiple awards, including the 2011 National Institutes of Health Award of Merit, the 2014 Lasker Clinical Research Scholars Program Award, the 2018 National Cancer Institute’s Director’s Award for Clinical Science, the 2018 Advancing Cancer Treatment Award for leadership in genitourinary clinical trial patient access, and the 2020 Arthur S. Flemming Award for leaders who make an impact in public service. She received tenure from NIH in 2021.

Selected Publications

  1. Apolo AB, Nadal R, Tomita Y, Davarpanah NN, Cordes LM, Steinberg SM, Cao L, Parnes HL, Costello R, Merino MJ, Folio LR, Lindenberg L, Raffeld M, Lin J, Lee MJ, Lee S, Alarcon SV, Yuno A, Dawson NA, Allette K, Roy A, De Silva D, Lee MM, Sissung TM, Figg WD, Agarwal PK, Wright JJ, Ning YM, Gulley JL, Dahut WL, Bottaro DP, Trepel JB. Cabozantinib in patients with platinum-refractory metastatic urothelial carcinoma: an open-label, single-centre, phase 2 trial. Lancet Oncol. 2020;21(8):1099-1109.
  2. Agrawal S, Haas NB, Bagheri M, Lane BR, Coleman J, Hammers H, Bratslavsky G, Chauhan C, Kim L, Krishnasamy VP, Marko J, Maher VE, Ibrahim A, Cross F Jr, Liu K, Beaver JA, Pazdur R, Blumenthal GM, Singh H, Plimack ER, Choueiri TK, Uzzo R, Apolo AB. Eligibility and Radiologic Assessment for Adjuvant Clinical Trials in Kidney Cancer. JAMA Oncol. 2020;6(1):133-141.
  3. Patel MR, Ellerton J, Infante JR, Agrawal M, Gordon M, Aljumaily R, Britten CD, Dirix L, Lee KW, Taylor M, Schöffski P, Wang D, Ravaud A, Gelb AB, Xiong J, Rosen G, Gulley JL, Apolo AB. Avelumab in metastatic urothelial carcinoma after platinum failure (JAVELIN Solid Tumor): pooled results from two expansion cohorts of an open-label, phase 1 trial. Lancet Oncol. 2018;19(1):51-64.
  4. Apolo AB, Infante JR, Balmanoukian A, Patel MR, Wang D, Kelly K, Mega AE, Britten CD, Ravaud A, Mita AC, Safran H, Stinchcombe TE, Srdanov M, Gelb AB, Schlichting M, Chin K, Gulley JL. Avelumab, an Anti-Programmed Death-Ligand 1 Antibody, In Patients With Refractory Metastatic Urothelial Carcinoma: Results From a Multicenter, Phase Ib Study. J Clin Oncol. 2017;35(19):2117-2124.

Related Scientific Focus Areas

This page was last updated on Friday, February 16, 2024