Anish Thomas, MBBS, M.D.

Senior Investigator

Developmental Therapeutics Branch


Building 10 Room 4-5330
Bethesda, MD 20892


Research Topics

Our key discoveries, using on a bed-to-bench-side approach to translational research (Cancer Cell 2022), include: (i) revealing replication stress as a transformative vulnerability of SCLCs characterized by high neuroendocrine differentiation (Cancer Cell 2021), (ii) providing novel insights into the genomic and transcriptomic features that render low neuroendocrine SCLC more sensitive to immunotherapy (Nat Commun 2021), (iii) validating ataxia telangiectasia and Rad3 related as a tractable SCLC target (J Clin Oncol 2018), (iv) discovery of a novel SCLC subset defined by the germline genotype and improved responses to DNA repair targeted drugs (Sci Trans Med 2021), (v) highlighting the transcriptional complexity of SCLC patient tumors in relation to patient-derived xenografts (Nat Commun 2022), and (vi) discovery of extrachromosomal DNA (ecDNA) as a new mechanism that governs MYC-driven SCLC heterogeneity (Cancer Discovery, 2023).

Altogether, our studies have defined previously unrecognized therapeutic vulnerabilities and molecularly distinct SCLC subtypes, transforming our understanding of this disease, with implications for the care of patients with this historically recalcitrant cancer. I am an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, and my work has been recognized by the NCI Director's Award for Clinical Science, NCI Director's Award for Translational Science, NIH Award of Merit, Federal Technology Transfer Award, and the PECASE Award, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers.

Since 2021, three of my trainees have received the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Young Investigator Awards, which supports high quality research conducted by early-career investigators during their transition to a faculty appointment. Seven post-doctoral trainee fellows currently hold physician-scientist or Assistant Professor positions in the US, Korea, Japan, France, and Hungary. My mentees have also been recognized by the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) Early Career Award, NIH Fellows Award for Research Excellence (FARE), NIH Physician-Scientist Early Investigator Award, Lasker Clinical Research Scholar Award, NCI Pathway to Independence Award for Outstanding Early Stage Postdoctoral Researchers (K99/R00), and have presented their findings at oral presentations at the World Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC) and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual meetings. I was awarded the 2022 NCI Director’s Outstanding Mentor Award for exemplary mentoring and guidance of trainees in cancer research. Since 2015, I have served as the Director of the NCI Medical Oncology Clinical Elective Program for medical students and residents.


Anish Thomas, M.D. is a medical oncologist who specializes in the treatment of thoracic cancers. He received his medical degree and postgraduate training in Internal Medicine from St. John's Medical College, Bangalore, India, following which he completed residency in Internal Medicine from State University of New York Upstate Medical University, Syracuse. He trained in Medical Oncology and Hematology at the Medical Oncology Branch of National Cancer Institute and the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, respectively.

In 2023, Dr. Thomas received tenure at NIH.

Selected Publications

  1. Thomas A, Tanaka M, Trepel J, Reinhold WC, Rajapakse VN, Pommier Y. Temozolomide in the Era of Precision Medicine. Cancer Res. 2017;77(4):823-826.
  2. Del Rivero J, Enewold L, Thomas A. Metastatic lung cancer in the age of targeted therapy: improving long-term survival. Transl Lung Cancer Res. 2016;5(6):727-730.
  3. Thomas A, Chen Y, Berman A, Schrump DS, Giaccone G, Pastan I, Venzon DJ, Liewehr DJ, Steinberg SM, Miettinen M, Hassan R, Rajan A. Expression of mesothelin in thymic carcinoma and its potential therapeutic significance. Lung Cancer. 2016;101:104-110.
  4. Khanna S, Thomas A, Abate-Daga D, Zhang J, Morrow B, Steinberg SM, Orlandi A, Ferroni P, Schlom J, Guadagni F, Hassan R. Malignant Mesothelioma Effusions Are Infiltrated by CD3+ T Cells Highly Expressing PD-L1 and the PD-L1+ Tumor Cells within These Effusions Are Susceptible to ADCC by the Anti-PD-L1 Antibody Avelumab. J Thorac Oncol. 2016;11(11):1993-2005.

Related Scientific Focus Areas

This page was last updated on Thursday, November 9, 2023