Maen Abdelrahim, MD, PhD, PharmB

Associate Professor of Medicine, Academic Institute
Associate Clinical Member, Research Institute
Director, Cockrell Center for Advanced Therapeutics, Research Institute
Houston Methodist
Weill Cornell Medical College


Dr. Abdelrahim is a gastrointestinal medical oncologist and transplant oncologist attending to patients with upper and lower GI malignancies in addition to malignancies treated by liver transplantation. He is the section chief of GI medical oncology leading GI cancer care at Houston Methodist Neal Cancer Center with focus on clinical trial Phase II/III in GI malignancies. 

Dr. Abdelrahim serves as the medical Director of Cockrell Center for Advanced Therapeutics where he is oversees Phase I program at Houston Methodist Hospital and Neal Cancer Center. He is a principal investigator on multiple clinical trials with focus on chemotherapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy in GI malignancies.

His translational research is focused on developing new mechanism-based drugs for the treatment of gastrointestinal cancers. He has identified for the first time a new structural class of compounds that can target selective transcription factor that are now recognized as targets for the development of new anticancer drugs. The lead compound of this class reached Phase I clinical trial to treat patients with GI cancers.

Dr Abdelrahim has published more than 130 original research articles, review articles and book chapters in prestigious journals and publishing groups.  Dr. Abdelrahim is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer, Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation, European Society for Medical Oncology and International Liver Transplant Society. He is the site principal investigator for Southwest Oncology Cooperative Group at Houston Methodist Neal Cancer Center. He is on the editorial boards of several medical journals where he serves as Editor-in Chief of Transplant Oncology and Cancer Nursing Care section of Cancers and associate editor of Frontiers in Oncology.

Dr. Abdelrahim completed his pharmacy degree followed by PhD and graduate work in the field of pharmacology and toxicology from Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas. He obtained his medical degree from Texas A&M University, completed residency at Baylor College of Medicine, and fellowship in medical oncology at Duke University.

Description of Research

  • Targeted therapy in GI cancers
  • Transplant oncology
  • Immunotherapy
  • T cell therapy 

Dr. Abdelrahim's research has pinpointed few compounds that inhibit tumor growth and angiogenesis in-part by inducing proteasome-dependent degradation of selected Sp proteins in cancer cells and tumors. The lead compound of this class (Tolfenamic acid) has reached Phase I clinical trial to treat patients with advanced and metastatic pancreatic cancer in combination with gemcitabine and radiation therapy. Dr. Abdelrahim has a patent application submitted for the new use of these compounds in GI cancers. In prior research, he was the first to find that Sp4 protein is over expressed in GI cancers including pancreatic cancer and that the role of Sp4 can be equally important as Sp1 in some type of GI cancers.

Researchers in cancer have the ultimate responsibility of taking their findings to the clinic which is described as translational research. By seeing GI cancer patients in his practice, collaborating with translational scientists in the lab and conducting and directing clinical trials, Dr. Abdelrahim hopes to continue to fuel the translational research cycle from lab to clinic and back to the lab.


Areas Of Expertise

Clinical trials Gastrointestinal cancer Clinical research Translation research Transplant Oncology
Education & Training

Internship, Baylor College of Medicine
Fellow, Duke University Medical Center
MD, Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine
PhD, Texas A&M University
B Pharm, Isra University

Impact of Infections in Patients Receiving Pembrolizumab-Based Therapies for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
Burns, EA, Gee, K, Kieser, RB, Xu, J, Zhang, Y, Crenshaw, A, Muhsen, IN, Mylavarapu, C, Esmail, A, Shah, S, Umoru, G, Sun, K, Guerrero, C, Gong, Z, Heyne, K, Singh, M, Zhang, J, Bernicker, EH & Abdelrahim, M 2023, , Cancers, vol. 15, no. 1, 81.

Case report: Efficacy and safety of regorafenib plus fluorouracil combination therapy in the treatment of refractory metastatic colorectal cancer
Haque, E, Muhsen, IN, Esmail, A, Umoru, G, Mylavarapu, C, Ajewole, VB & Abdelrahim, M 2022, , Frontiers in Oncology, vol. 12, 992455.

Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma: The role of liver transplantation, adjunctive treatments, and prognostic biomarkers
Connor, AA, Kodali, S, Abdelrahim, M, Javle, MM, Brombosz, EW & Ghobrial, RM 2022, , Frontiers in Oncology, vol. 12, 996710.

Pancreatic Tumorigenesis: Precursors, Genetic Risk Factors and Screening
Badheeb, M, Abdelrahim, A, Esmail, A, Umoru, G, Abboud, K, Al-Najjar, E, Rasheed, G, Alkhulaifawi, M, Abudayyeh, A & Abdelrahim, M 2022, , Current Oncology, vol. 29, no. 11, pp. 8693-8719.

Recent Trends and Advancements in the Diagnosis and Management of Gastric Cancer
Haque, E, Esmail, A, Muhsen, I, Salah, H & Abdelrahim, M 2022, , Cancers, vol. 14, no. 22, 5615.

Newest Therapies for Cholangiocarcinoma: An Updated Overview of Approved Treatments with Transplant Oncology Vision
Zhang, Y, Esmail, A, Mazzaferro, V & Abdelrahim, M 2022, , Cancers, vol. 14, no. 20, 5074.

Gemcitabine Plus Cisplatin Versus Non-Gemcitabine and Cisplatin Regimens as Neoadjuvant Treatment for Cholangiocarcinoma Patients Prior to Liver Transplantation: An Institution Experience
Abdelrahim, M, Esmail, A, Xu, J, Umoru, G, Al-Rawi, H, Saharia, A, Abudayyeh, A, Victor, D, McMillan, R, Kodali, S & Ghobrial, RM 2022, , Frontiers in Oncology, vol. 12, 908687.

Immunotherapy as a Neoadjuvant Therapy for a Patient with Hepatocellular Carcinoma in the Pretransplant Setting: A Case Report
Abdelrahim, M, Esmail, A, Umoru, G, Westhart, K, Abudayyeh, A, Saharia, A & Ghobrial, RM 2022, , Current Oncology, vol. 29, no. 6, 4267.

Timeline of FDA-Approved Targeted Therapy for Cholangiocarcinoma
Cho, SM, Esmail, A, Raza, A, Dacha, S & Abdelrahim, M 2022, , Cancers, vol. 14, no. 11, 2641.

Immune checkpoint inhibitors for solid organ transplant recipients: clinical updates
Kawashima, S, Joachim, K, Abdelrahim, M, Abudayyeh, A, Jhaveri, KD & Murakami, N 2022, , Korean Journal of Transplantation, vol. 36, no. 2, pp. 82-98.

Gemcitabine and Cisplatin as Neo-Adjuvant for Cholangiocarcinoma Patients Prior to Liver Transplantation: Case-Series
Abdelrahim, M, Al-Rawi, H, Esmail, A, Xu, J, Umoru, G, Ibnshamsah, F, Abudayyeh, A, Victor, D, Saharia, A, McMillan, R, Al Najjar, E, Bugazia, D, Al-Rawi, M & Ghobrial, RM 2022, , Current Oncology, vol. 29, no. 5, pp. 3585-3594.

Thymoquinone’s Antiviral Effects: It is Time to be Proven in the Covid-19 Pandemic Era and its Omicron Variant Surge
Abdelrahim, M, Esmail, A, Al Saadi, N, Zsigmond, E, Al Najjar, E, Bugazia, D, Al-Rawi, H, Alsaadi, A & Kaseb, AO 2022, , Frontiers in Pharmacology, vol. 13, 848676.

Utilization of Immunotherapy for the Treatment of Hepatocellular Carcinoma in the Peri-Transplant Setting: Transplant Oncology View
Abdelrahim, M, Esmail, A, Saharia, A, Abudayyeh, A, Abdel-Wahab, N, Diab, A, Murakami, N, Kaseb, AO, Chang, JC, Gaber, AO & Ghobrial, RM 2022, , Cancers, vol. 14, no. 7, 1760.

Pancreatic head vs pancreatic body/tail cancer: Are they different?
Sun, K, Mylavarapu, C, Crenshaw, A, Zhang, Y, Hsu, E, Xu, J, Niravath, M, Jones, SL, Ordonez, A & Abdelrahim, M 2022, , World journal of gastrointestinal oncology, vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 716-723.

Transarterial Chemoembolization (TACE) Plus Sorafenib Compared to TACE Alone in Transplant Recipients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma: An Institution Experience
Abdelrahim, M, Victor, D, Esmail, A, Kodali, S, Graviss, EA, Nguyen, DT, Moore, LW, Saharia, A, McMillan, R, Fong, JN, Uosef, A, Elshawwaf, M, Heyne, K & Ghobrial, RM 2022, , Cancers, vol. 14, no. 3, 650.

Utility of Cell-Free DNA Detection in Transplant Oncology
Reddy, T, Esmail, A, Chang, JC, Ghobrial, RM & Abdelrahim, M 2022, , Cancers, vol. 14, no. 3, 743.

What Is Hot and New in Basic and Translational Science in Liver Transplantation in 2020–2021?—Report of the Basic and Translational Research Committee of the International Liver Transplantation Society
Czigany, Z, Brüggenwirth, IMA, Ekser, B, Abdelrahim, M, Bhat, M, Bonaccorsi-Riani, E, Chen, A, Emamaullee, J, Eymard, C, Ho, CM, Mas, VR, Zarrinpar, A, Yuksel, M, Martins, PN & Selzner, M 2022, , Transplantation, vol. 106, no. 2, pp. 227-233.

Emerging Concepts in Managing Malignancy in Kidney Transplant Patients
Schreiber, B, Abdelrahim, M, Abudayyeh, A & Murakami, N 2022, , Seminars in nephrology, vol. 42, no. 1, pp. 63-75.

Triple-Regimen of Vemurafenib, Irinotecan, and Cetuximab for the Treatment of BRAFV600E-Mutant CRC: A Case Report and Review
Cho, SM, Esmail, A & Abdelrahim, M 2021, , Frontiers in Pharmacology, vol. 12, 795381.

Transcription factors specificity protein and nuclear receptor 4A1 in pancreatic cancer
Safe, S, Mohankumar, K, Howard, M, Shrestha, R, Hedrick, E & Abdelrahim, M 2021, , World Journal of Gastroenterology, vol. 27, no. 38, pp. 6387-6398.