Avani S. Mohapatra, MD

MOHAPATRA_Avani_S_Nov_2_15Avani S. Mohapatra, MD, is an attending physician in medical oncology at MedStar Washington Hospital Center (MWHC). Dr. Mohapatra also is the director of the molecular tumor board at MWHC. In this position, she delivers personalized cancer therapy through the use of advanced genomic diagnostic testing.

Dr. Mohapatra’s clinical practice is focused on thoracic and breast oncology. She is an investigator on several trials sponsored by the National Cancer Institute. Her research has been published in peer-reviewed journals, including the American Journal of Hematology and the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. In addition, she coauthored a chapter on prostate cancer that was published by McGraw-Hill Education. She has presented her collaborative research findings to community and professional groups, on topics including the safety of various drug therapies for prostate cancer.

Dr. Mohapatra is a member of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, and she has served as a past president of its Medical Students, Residents, and Fellows Section. She is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and she is board certified in internal medicine, medical oncology and hematology.

Her medical degree is from the George Washington University School of Medicine, where she also completed a residency in internal medicine and additional training in health policy. She completed a fellowship in hematology/oncology at the National Cancer Institute, where she took part in conducting several clinical trials.

Research Interests

Dr. Mohapatra’s research interests include

  • Lung cancer
  • Breast diseases
  • Novel therapeutic options
  • Targeted drug therapies
  • Prostate cancer.

Selected Research

The Adjuvant Lung Cancer Enrichment Marker Identification and Sequencing Trials (ALCHEMIST), sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, involve genetic screening of tumors for specific gene mutations and testing of treatment with drugs that target those mutations. Dr. Mohapatra is participating in the following ALCHEMIST trials:

  • Randomized double-blind study of erlotinib or placebo in patients with completely resected epidermal growth factor receptor mutant non-small cell lung cancer
  • Phase III double-blind trial for surgically resected early stage non-small cell lung cancer: crizotinib versus placebo for patients with tumors harboring the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) fusion

The Molecular Analysis for Therapy Choice (MATCH) trials also are sponsored by the National Cancer Institute. These trials are designed to analyze patients’ tumors to determine whether they contain genetic abnormalities for which a targeted drug exists and to determine the effectiveness of treating cancers according to their molecular abnormalities. Dr. Mohapatra is participating in the following MATCH Trials:

  • Crizotinib in patients with tumors (other than adenocarcinoma of lung or anaplastic large cell lymphoma) with ALK translocations
  • Phase 2 study of crizotinib in patients with ROS1 translocations (other than patients with non-small cell lung cancer)
  • Phase 2 study of dabrafenib and trametinib in patients with tumors with BRAF V600E or V600K mutations (excluding melanoma and thyroid cancer)
  • Phase 2 study of trametinib in patients with BRAF fusions, or with non-V600E, nonV600K BRAF mutations

The Academic and Community Cancer Research United (ACCRU) network conducts trials designed to improve the duration and quality of life for cancer patients and to improve understanding of cancer biology and treatment. Dr. Mohapatra is participating in the following ACCRU trial.

  • Randomized phase 3 trial of eribulin compared to standard weekly paclitaxel as first- or second-line therapy for locally recurrent or metastatic breast cancer

Selected Publications (published under the name Avani A. Shah)

Pantin J, Tian X, Shah AA, Kurlander R, Ramos C, Cook L, Khuu H, Stroncek D, Leitman S, Barrett J, Donohue T, Young NS, Geller N, Childs RW. Rapid donor T-cell engraftment increases the risk of chronic graft-versus-host disease following salvage allogeneic peripheral blood hematopoietic cell transplantation for bone marrow failure syndromes. Am J Hematol. 2013;88:874-82. doi: 10.1002/ajh.23526.

Madan RA, Shah AA, Dahut WL. Is it time to reevaluate definitive therapy in prostate cancer? J Natl Cancer Inst. 2013;105:683-5. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djt094.

Shah AA, Figg W, Dahut W. Challenges in overcoming hormonal resistance in prostate cancer. Future Medicine. 2014;4:153-162. doi:10.4155/cli.13.131.


  • Research Areas
  • Oncology