Heinz-Josef Lenz, M.D., FACP

Chief Science Officer and Director of Cardiovascular Research at Huntington Medical Research Institutes (HMRI). He serves as Professor of Medicine (Clinical Scholar) at Keck School of Medicine at University of Southern California (USC) and is an attending cardiologist at Los Angeles County/ USC Medical Center.

Category of Humanitarian Benefit: Health and Medical

Short Biography/Background

Heinz-Josef Lenz, M.D., FACP, is Professor of Medicine and Preventive Medicine, holds J Terrence Lanni Chair for Cancer Research and is the Associate Director for Clinical Sciences at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center at the USC Keck School of Medicine. He is the head of GI Oncology in the Division of Medical Oncology and Co-Director of the Colorectal Center at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.

An active researcher, Dr. Lenz focuses on identification of predictive and prognostic biomarker and is an expert on early drug development. Dr. Lenz serves as Chair of the Translational Medicine of the SWOG GI Committee. He is a member of the NCI Task Force for Gastroesophageal Cancer and the NCI Translational Science Committee. He is member of the NCI Investigational Drug Steering Committee. In addition to having an NCI-funded laboratory, he was a recipient of the ASCO Young Investigator Award, the ASCO Career Development Award, NCI Midcareer Development and the STOP Cancer Career Development Award. He is the PI of the NCI drug development grants USC UG1 and UM1 (California Cancer Consortium) He has published over 430 peer reviewed papers.


Project Name and Description

Name: Impact of Consensus Molecular Subtype on Survival in Patients With Metastatic Colorectal Cancer: Results From CALGB/SWOG 80405 (Alliance)


To determine the predictive and prognostic value of the consensus molecular subtypes (CMSs) of colorectal cancer (CRC) that represent a merging of gene expression–based features largely in primary tumors from six independent classification systems and provide a framework for capturing the intrinsic heterogeneity of CRC in patients enrolled in CALGB/SWOG 80405.


CALGB/SWOG 80405 is a phase III trial that compared the addition of bevacizumab or cetuximab to infusional fluorouracil, leucovorin, and oxaliplatin or fluorouracil, leucovorin, and irinotecan as first-line treatment of advanced CRC. We characterized the CMS classification using a novel NanoString gene expression panel on primary CRCs from 581 patients enrolled in this study to assess the prognostic and predictive value of CMSs in these patients.


The CMSs are highly prognostic for overall survival (OS; P < .001) and progression-free survival (PFS; P < .001). Furthermore, CMSs were predictive for both OS (P for interaction < .001) and PFS (P for interaction = .0032). In the CMS1 cohort, patients treated with bevacizumab had a significantly longer OS than those treated with cetuximab (P < .001). In the CMS2 cohort, patients treated with cetuximab had a significantly longer OS than patients treated with bevacizumab (P = .0046).


These findings highlight the possible clinical utility of CMSs and suggests that refinement of the CMS classification may provide a path toward identifying patients with metastatic CRC who are most likely to benefit from specific targeted therapy as part of the initial treatment.



Several impactful updates have been added by Dr.Lenz to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Guidelines for Colorectal Cancer (CRC) for the management of metastatic disease which leads to improve the patient’s quality of life.