Rita Assi, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor
Department of Internal Medicine
Division of Hematology-Oncology
Dr. Rita Assi obtained her M.D. degree from the Lebanese University Faculty of Medical Sciences in 2010. Upon graduation from medical school, Dr. Assi completed a three-year residency training in Internal Medicine at the Lebanese University Affiliated Hospitals.
Following the completion of her residency training, Dr Assi pursued a fellowship in Hematology/Oncology at the American University of Beirut Medical Center from which she graduated in 2016. Subsequently, Dr. Assi moved to the U.S.A. where she completed an additional two-year fellowship in the diagnosis and management of leukemia at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. She graduated from that program in July 2018.
Dr. Assi is a member of several prestigious international organizations and societies such as the American Society of Hematology, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the Society of Hematological Oncology. The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston bestowed on Dr. Assi several honors and awards including the “Kimberley Patterson Endowed Fellowship in Leukemia Research” and “Best Leukemia Fellow”, as well as multiple abstract achievement awards. She also received the “Sherwin Family Endowed Award” from the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Dr Assi has presented her work in several high-level regional and international meetings such as ASH and ASCO. She has pursued an academic and clinical research career in general hematology and oncology with a major focus on hematological, gastrointestinal and genitourinary malignancies, and a particular interest in clinical investigation. Dr Assi has been a collaborator on many clinical trials at MDACC and has built many databases.
Additionally, she has been working on prospective collection of plasma samples from AML patients to conduct cell-free DNA sequencing (liquid biopsy). This is a novel concept in leukemia. Dr Assi has developed a special interest in immunology and immunotherapy over the course of her training; she has been fortunate to work with Nobel Prize Laureate Dr Jim Allison on his platform and has presented an oral abstract on this subject at the American Society of Hematology annual meeting.
Dr. Assi is the author of more than 30 peer-reviewed publications in prestigious and high-impact scientific international journals.
- Ravandi F, Assi R,< Daver N, Kantarjian H. Phase II Trial of Idarubicin, Cytarabine and Nivolumab in patients with newly diagnosed Acute Myeloid Leukaemia and high-risk Myelodysplastic Syndrome. Lancet Haematol. 2019 Sep;6(9):e480-e488. doi: 10.1016/S2352-3026(19)30114-0. Epub 2019 Aug 7.
- Assi A, Short N. Blast Crisis of Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML): A Digest for Intensivists. January 2019 DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-74698-2_93-1 In book: Oncologic Critical Care.
- Assi R, Mahfouz R, Owen R, Bazarbachi A. PAX5, NOTCH3, CBFB and ACD drive an Activated RAS Pathway and Monosomy 7 to B-ALL and AML in Donor Cell 2Leukemia. Bone Marrow Transplant. 2018 Dec 10. doi: 10.1038/s41409-018-0419-7. [Epub ahead of print]
- Assi R, Gur HD, Loghavi S, Khoury JD. P53 protein overexpression in de novo acute myeloid leukemia patients with normal diploid karyotype correlates with FLT3 internal tandem duplication and worse relapse-free survival. Am J Hematol. 2018 Nov;93(11):1376-1383. doi:10.1002/ajh.25255. Epub 2018 Sep 23.
- Assi R, Garcia-Manero G, Ravandi F, Kadia T. Addition of Eltrombopag to immunosuppressive therapy in patients with newly diagnosed aplastic anemia. Cancer. 2018 Oct 11. doi: 10.1002/cncr.31658. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 30117185
- Assi R, Kantarjian H, Kadia T, Borthakur G. Final results of a phase 2, open-label study of indisulam, idarubicin, and cytarabine in patients with relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukemia and high-risk myelodysplastic syndrome. Cancer. 2018 Apr 16. doi: 10.1002/cncr.31398. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID:30307606
- Assi R, Ravandi F. FLT3 Inhibitors in Acute Myeloid Leukemia: Choosing the best when the optimal does not exist. American Journal of Hematology 12/2017; DOI:10.1002/ajh.25027. PMID: 29285788
- Assi A, Kantarjian H, Ravandi F, Daver N: Immune therapies in acute myeloid leukemia: A focus on monoclonal antibodies and immune checkpoint inhibitors. Current Opinion in Hematology 12/2017;25(2):1., DOI:10.1097/MOH.0000000000000401. PMID: 29206680
- Assi R, Kantarjian HM, Garcia-Manero G, Daver N. A Phase II Trial of Ruxolitinib in combination with Azacytidine in myelodysplastic syndrome/myeloproliferative neoplasms. American Journal of Hematology 11/2017; 93(5)., DOI:10.1002/ajh.24972. PMID: 29134664
Professional and Research Interests
- General malignant hematology and oncology
- Treatments of leukemia
- Benign hematology
- Immunology and immunotherapy
- Molecular and genetic profiles of malignant disorders
Education and Training
- M.D. Degree, Clinical Medicine, Lebanese University, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Beirut, Lebanon, 2004 - 2010
- Residency in Internal Medicine, Lebanese University, Faculty of Medical Sciences, , 2010 - 2013
- Fellowship in Hematology and Oncology, American University of Beirut Medical Center, Beirut, Lebanon, 2013 - 2016
- Fellowship in Leukemia, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, U.S.A., 2016 - 2018
Professional Memberships and Organizations
- American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), 2013 - present
- American Society of Hematology (ASH), 2013 - present
- Society of Hematological Oncology (SOHO), 2013 - present
- Medication Safety Committee at MD Anderson Cancer Center, 2016 - 2018
- Member and Middle East Representative, Oncology Drug Development and Innovative Strategies in Clinical Trials “OncoDIStinCT” Research Network, 2019 - present