Arun Rajan, M.D.

Senior Clinician

Thoracic and GI Malignancies Branch


10-CRC, Room 4-5330
Bethesda, MD 20892



Dr. Rajan is a Staff Clinician in the Thoracic and GI Malignancies Branch at the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health. He is a medical oncologist by training and specializes in the treatment of lung and thymic cancers.

Dr. Rajan’s clinical research related to drug development for thymic cancers is well recognized. He has conducted numerous clinical trials evaluating various biological therapies including insulin-like growth factor receptor inhibitors (cixutumumab), histone deacetylase inhibitors (belinostat), and multikinase inhibitors (sunitinib). Dr. Rajan and his group have studied the expression of the cell surface glycoprotein, mesothelin in thymic carcinoma. Based on this work, an ongoing clinical trial is evaluating the mesothelin-directed, antibody-drug conjugate, anetumab in patients with advanced thymic carcinoma.

A major focus of Dr. Rajan’s research is the evaluation of immunotherapy for patients with advanced lung and thymic cancers. He is evaluating avelumab, a monoclonal antibody directed against programed death ligand-1 (PD-L1), in patients with advanced thymoma and thymic carcinoma. Dr. Rajan is also evaluating various forms of combination immunotherapy in patients with advanced lung cancer.

In recognition of his clinical research activities Dr. Rajan has received the Barbara Neibauer Award from the International Thymic Malignancies Interest Group (ITMIG) and a Group Award from the Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute for Preclinical and Clinical Studies of a Novel Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor Antibody.

Dr. Rajan has served as a member of various reviewing boards including the Oncologic Drug Advisory Committee (ODAC) of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, and an independent data monitoring committee (iDMC) for IMPOWER 132, a phase III clinical trial evaluating chemotherapy with or without immunotherapy in patients with advanced lung cancer. He is also a member of ITMIG’s virtual tumor board, a forum to discuss complex cases of thymic cancers from all over the world.

Dr. Rajan serves in various capacities at his institution including Chair of the Scientific Review Committee, Thoracic and GI Malignancies Branch, Member of the NIH Institutional Review Board (General Medicine Panel #1), Member of the PDQ Adult Treatment Editorial Board, and Member of the PDQ Lung Cancer Working Group.

Dr. Rajan received his medical degree from the University of Delhi, India in 1998 and completed post-graduation in Internal Medicine from the same institution in 2002. He completed a residency in Internal Medicine and fellowship in Hematology and Medical Oncology from the State University of New York, Syracuse, in 2005 and 2008, respectively. Thereafter, he joined the National Cancer Institute as faculty in July 2008.

Selected Publications

  1. Thomas A, Mena E, Kurdziel K, Venzon D, Khozin S, Berman AW, Choyke P, Szabo E, Rajan A, Giaccone G. 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography in the management of patients with thymic epithelial tumors. Clin Cancer Res. 2013;19(6):1487-93.
  2. Rajan A, Carter CA, Kelly RJ, Gutierrez M, Kummar S, Szabo E, Yancey MA, Ji J, Mannargudi B, Woo S, Spencer S, Figg WD, Giaccone G. A phase I combination study of olaparib with cisplatin and gemcitabine in adults with solid tumors. Clin Cancer Res. 2012;18(8):2344-51.
  3. Rajan A, Giaccone G. Treatment of advanced thymoma and thymic carcinoma. Curr Treat Options Oncol. 2008;9(4-6):277-87.

Related Scientific Focus Areas

This page was last updated on Friday, October 13, 2023