Steffan Nawrocki, PhD

Associate Professor, Medicine
Research Director, (Translational) - Medical Oncology
Phone Number: 
(520) 626-7395

UACC Information

Street Address: 
University of Arizona College of Pharmacy, Drachman
1295 N Martin Ave, Tucson, AZ 85721
Professional Bio: 

Dr. Nawrocki received his Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences (Cancer Biology/Toxicology) from The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Hematology and Oncology. The major focus of his laboratory is the evaluation of the molecular mechanisms of action of novel experimental cancer therapeutics with an emphasis on targeting protein degradation. His current research interests include investigation of oncolytic reovirus for cancer therapy, enhancing proteasome inhibitor-induced apoptosis, and evaluating the role that autophagy plays during cancer progression and drug resistance.

Research Information

Research Program: 
Therapeutic Development
Selected Publications: 
  1. Kelly KR, Espitia CM, Zhao W, Wendlandt E, Tricot G, Zhan F, Carew JS, and Nawrocki ST. Junctional adhesion molecule-A is overexpressed in advanced multiple myeloma and determines response to Reolysin. Submitted.
  2. Mahalingam D, Patel S, Nuovo G, Gill G, Selvaggi G, Coffey M, and Nawrocki ST. Intravenous Reolysin induces reovirus replication and endoplasmic reticular stress in a patient with KRAS-activated pancreatic cancer. Submitted.
  3. Carew JS, Espitia CM, Zhao W, Mita MM, Mita AC, and Nawrocki ST. Targeting survivin inhibits renal cell carcinoma progression and enhances the activity of temsirolimus. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, 2015 14: 1404-1413.
  4. Nawrocki ST, Kelly KR, Smith PG, Keaton M, Carraway H, Sekeres MA, Maciejewski JP, and Carew JS. The NEDD8-activating enzyme inhibitor MLN4924 disrupts nucleotide metabolism and augments the efficacy of cytarabine. Clinical Cancer Research, 2015 21: 439-447.
  5. Mahalingam D, Mita MM, Sarantopoulos J, Wood L, Amaravadi R, Davis L, Mita A, Curiel TJ, Nawrocki ST, Giles FJ, and Carew JS. Combined autophagy and HDAC inhibition: A Phase I safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic analysis of hydroxychloroquine in combination with the HDAC inhibitor vorinostat in patients with advanced solid tumors. Autophagy, 2014 10: 1403-1414.
  6. Venkatasubbarao K, Peterson L, Zhao S, Hill P, Cao L, Zhou Q, Nawrocki ST, and Freeman JW. Inhibiting signal transducer and activator of transcription-3 increases response to gemcitabine and delays progression of pancreatic cancer. Molecular Cancer, 2013 12: 104.
  7. Carew JS, Espitia CM, Zhao W, Kelly KR, Coffey M, Freeman JW, and Nawrocki ST. Reolysin is a novel reovirus-based agent that induces endoplasmic reticular stress-mediated apoptosis in pancreatic cancer. Cell Death and Disease, 2013 4: e728.
  8. Nawrocki ST, Kelly KR, Smith PG, Espitia CM, Possemato A, Beausoleil SA, Milhollen MA, Blakemore S, Thomas M, Berger AJ, and Carew JS. Disrupting protein NEDDylation with MLN4924 is a novel strategy to target cisplatin resistance in ovarian cancer. Clinical Cancer Research, 2013 19: 3577-3590.
  9. Nawrocki ST, Kelly KR, and Carew JS. Autophagy as a target for cancer therapy: New developments. Cancer Management and Research, 2012 4: 357-365.
  10. Nawrocki ST, Griffin P, Kelly KR, and Carew JS. MLN4924: a novel first-inclass inhibitor of NEDD8-activating enzyme for cancer therapy. Expert Opin Investig Drugs, 2012 21: 1563-1573.
  11. Klionsky DJ, …, Nawrocki ST, …, Zuckerbraun B. Guidelines for the use and interpretation of assays for monitoring autophagy. Autophagy, 2012 8: 445-544.
  12. Rickles RJ, Tam WF, Giordano 3rd TP, Pierce LT, Farwell M, McMillin DW, Necheva A, Crowe D, Chen M, Avery W, Kansra V, Nawrocki ST, Carew JS, Giles FJ, Mitsiades CS, Borisy AA, Anderson KC, and Lee MS. Adenosine A2A and Beta-2 adrenergic receptor agonists: Novel selective and synergistic multiple myeloma targets discovered through systematic combination screening. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, 2012 11: 1432-1442.
  13. Kelly KR, Nawrocki ST, Espitia CM, Zhang M, Yang JJ, Padmanabhan S, Ecsedy J, Giles FJ, and Carew JS. Targeting Aurora A kinase activity with the investigational agent alisertib increases the efficacy of cytarabine through a FOXO-dependent mechanism. International Journal of Cancer, 2012 131: 2693-2703.
  14. Carew JS, Esquivel II JA, Espitia CM, Schultes CM, Mulbaier M, Lewis JD, Janssen B, Giles FJ, and Nawrocki ST. ELR510444 inhibits tumor growth and angiogenesis by abrogating HIF activity and disrupting microtubules in renal cell carcinoma. PLoS ONE, 2012 7: e31120.
  15. Millward M, Mainwaring P, Mita A, Federico K, Lloyd GK, Reddinger N, Nawrocki S, Mita M, and Spear MA. Phase I study of the novel vascular disrupting agent Plinabulin (NPI-2358) and docetaxel. Investigational New Drugs, 2012 30: 1065-1073.
  16. Kelly KR, Espitia CM, Taverna P, Choy G, Padmanabhan S, Nawrocki ST, Giles FJ, and Carew JS. Targeting PIM kinase activity significantly augments the efficacy of cytarabine. British Journal of Haematology, 2012 156: 129-132.
  17. Kelly KR, Espitia CM, Mahalingam D, Oyajobi BO, Coffey M, Giles FJ, Carew JS, and Nawrocki ST. Reovirus therapy stimulates endoplasmic reticular stress, NOXA induction, and augments bortezomib-mediated apoptosis in multiple myeloma. Oncogene, 2012 31: 3023-3038.
  18. Mahalingam D, Espitia CM, Medina EC, Esquivel II JA, Kelly KR, Bearss D, Gavin C, Taverna P, Carew JS, Giles FJ, and Nawrocki ST. Targeting PIM kinase enhances the activity of sunitinib in renal cell carcinoma. British Journal of Cancer, 2011 105: 1563-1573.
  19. Kelly KR, Ecsedy J, Mahalingam D, Nawrocki ST, Padmanabhan S, Giles FJ, and Carew JS. Targeting aurora kinases in cancer treatment. Current Drug Targets, 2011 12: 2067-2078.
  20. Swords R, Kelly K, Carew J, Nawrocki S, Mahalingam D, Sarantopoulos J, Bearss D, and Giles F. The PIM kinases: New targets for drug development. Current Drug Targets, 2011 12: 2059-2066.
  21. Mahalingam D, Oldenhuis C, Szegezdi E, Giles FJ, de Vries E, de Jong S, and Nawrocki ST. Targeting TRAIL towards the clinic. Current Drug Targets, 2011 12: 2079-2090.
  22. Kelly KR, Rowe JH, Padmanabhan S, Nawrocki ST, and Carew JS. mTOR as a target in hematological malignancies. Targeted Oncology, 2011 6: 53-61.
  23. Carew JS, Kelly KR, and Nawrocki ST. Mechanisms of mTOR inhibitor resistance in cancer therapy. Targeted Oncology, 2011 6: 17-27.
  24. Carew JS, Espitia CM, Esquivel II JE, Mahalingam D, Kelly KR, Reddy G, Giles FJ, and Nawrocki ST. Lucanthone: A novel inhibitor of autophagy that induces cathepsin D-mediated apoptosis. J Biol Chem, 2011 286: 6602-6613.
  25. Kelly KR, Ecsedy J, Medina E, Mahalingam D, Padmanabhan S, Nawrocki ST, Giles FJ, and Carew JS. The novel aurora a kinase inhibitor MLN8237 is active in resistant chronic myeloid leukemia and significantly increases the efficacy of nilotinib. J Cell Mol Med, 2011 15: 2057-2070.
  26. Swords RT, Kelly KR, Smith PG, Garnsey JJ, Mahalingam D, Medina E, Oberheu K, Padmanabhan S, O’Dwyer M, Nawrocki ST, Giles FJ, and Carew JS. Inhibition of NEDD8-activating enzyme: a novel approach for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia. Blood, 2010 115: 3796-3800.
  27. Mahalingam D, Medina EC, Esquivel II JA, Espitia CM, Smith S, Oberheu K, Swords R, Kelly KR, Mita MM, Mita AC, Carew JS, Giles FJ, and Nawrocki ST. Vorinostat enhances the activity of temsirolimus in renal cell carcinoma through suppression of survivin levels. Clinical Cancer Research, 2010 16: 141-153.
  28. Carew JS, Medina EC, Esquivel II JA, Mahalingam D, Swords R, Kelly K, Zhang H, Huang P, Mita AC, Mita MM, Giles FJ, and Nawrocki ST. Autophagy inhibition enhances vorinostat-induced apoptosis via ubiquitinated protein accumulation. Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, 2010 14: 2448-2459.
  29. Kelly K, Nawrocki S, Mita A, Coffey M, Giles FJ, and Mita M. Reovirus-based therapy for cancer. Expert Opinion on Biological Therapy, 2009 9: 817-830.
  30. Mahalingam D, Kelly KR, Swords RT, Carew J, Nawrocki ST, and Giles FJ. Emerging drugs in the treatment of pancreatic cancer. Expert Opinion in Emerging Drugs, 2009 14: 311-328.
  31. Mahalingam D, Mita A, Mita MM, Nawrocki ST, and Giles FJ. Targeted therapy for advanced non-small cell lung cancers: historical perspective, current practices, and future development. Current Problems in Cancer, 2009 33: 73-111.
  32. Mahalingam D, Swords R, Carew JS, Nawrocki ST, Bhalla K, and Giles FJ. Targeting HSP90 for cancer therapy. British Journal of Cancer, 2009 100: 1523-1529.
  33. Mita AC, Mita MM, Nawrocki ST, and Giles FJ. Survivin: key regulator of mitosis and apoptosis and novel target for cancer therapeutics. Clinical Cancer Research, 2008 14: 5000-5005.
  34. Carew JS, Giles FJ, and Nawrocki ST. Mechanisms of histone deacetylase inhibitor induced apoptosis. Cancer Letters, 2008 269: 7-17.
  35. Carew JS, Nawrocki ST, Giles FJ, and Cleveland JL. Inhibition of autophagy: a novel anticancer strategy with potential therapeutic implications for imatinib resistance. Biologics: Targets and Therapy, 2008 2: 201-204.
  36. Nawrocki ST, Carew JS, Maclean KH, Courage JF, Huang P, Houghton JA, Cleveland JL, Giles FJ, and McConkey DJ. Myc regulates aggresome formation, the induction of Noxa, and apoptosis in response to the combination of bortezomib and SAHA. Blood, 2008 112: 2917-2926.
  37. Carew JS, Nawrocki ST, Reddy VK, Bush D, Rehg JE, Goodwin A, Houghton JA, Casero RA, Marton LJ, and Cleveland JL. The novel polyamine analog CGC-11093 enhances the antimyeloma activity of bortezomib. Cancer Research, 2008 68: 4783-4790.
  38. Carew JS, Nawrocki ST, and Cleveland JL. Modulating autophagy for therapeutic benefit. Autophagy, 2007 3: 464-467.
  39. Nawrocki ST, Carew JS, Douglas L, Cleveland JL, Humphreys R, and Houghton JA. Histone deacetylase inhibitors enhance lexatumumab-induced apoptosis via a p21cip1-dependent decrease in survivin levels. Cancer Research, 2007 67: 6987-6994.
  40. Carew JS, Nawrocki ST, Kahue CN, Zhang H, Yang C, Chung L, Houghton JA, Huang P, Giles FJ, and Cleveland JL. Targeting autophagy augments the anticancer activity of the histone deacetylase inhibitor SAHA to overcome Bcr-Abl mediated drug resistance. Blood, 2007 110: 313-322.
  41. Khanbolooki S, Nawrocki ST, Arumugam T, Andtbacka R, Pino MS, Kurzrock R, Logsdon CD, Abbruzzese JL, and McConkey DJ. Nuclear factor-kB maintains TRAIL resistance in human pancreatic cancer cells. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, 2006 5: 2251-2260.
  42. Trevino JG, Gray MJ, Nawrocki ST, Summy JM, Lesslie DP, Evans DB, Sawyer TK, Shakespeare WC, Watowich SS, Chiao PJ, McConkey DJ, and Gallick GE. Src activation of Stat3 is an independent requirement from NF-kB activation for constitutive IL-8 expression in human pancreatic adenocarcinoma cells. Angiogenesis, 2006 9: 101-110.
  43. Nawrocki ST, Carew JS, Pino MS, Highshaw RA, Andtbacka RHI, Dunner Jr. K, Pal A, Bornmann WG, Chiao PJ, Huang P, Xiong H, Abbruzzese JL, and McConkey DJ. Aggresome disruption: a novel strategy to enhance bortezomibinduced apoptosis in pancreatic cancer cells. Cancer Research, 2006 66: 3773-3781.
  44. Carew JS, Nawrocki ST, Krupnik YV, Dunner Jr. K, McConkey DJ, Keating MJ, and Huang P. Targeting endoplasmic reticulum protein transport: A novel strategy to kill malignant B cells and overcome fludarabine resistance in CLL. Blood, 2006 107: 222-231.
  45. Nawrocki ST, Carew JS, Dunner Jr. K, Boise LH, Chiao PJ, Huang P, Abbruzzese JL, and McConkey DJ. Bortezomib inhibits PKR-like endoplasmic reticulum (ER) kinase and induces apoptosis via ER stress in human pancreatic cancer cells. Cancer Research, 2005 65: 11510-11519.
  46. Nawrocki ST, Carew JS, Pino MS, Highshaw RA, Dunner Jr. K, Huang P, Abbruzzese JL, and McConkey DJ. Bortezomib sensitizes pancreatic cancer cells to endoplasmic reticulum stress-mediated apoptosis. Cancer Research, 2005 65: 11658-11666.
  47. Pino MS, Nawrocki ST, Cognetti F, Abbruzzese J, Xiong HQ, and McConkey DJ. Prostaglandin E2 drives cyclooxygenase-2 expression via cyclic AMP response element activation in human pancreatic cancer cells. Cancer Biology and Therapy, 2005 4: 1263-1269.
  48. McConkey D, Nawrocki ST, and Andtbacka R. Velcade displays promising activity in primary effusion lymphoma cells. Cancer Biology and Therapy, 2005 4: 491-492.
  49. Nawrocki ST, Drake KD, Watson CF, Foster GD, and Maier KJ. A comparative aquatic toxicity evaluation of 2-(thiocyanomethylthio)benzothiazole (TCMTB) and selected degradation products using Ceriodaphnia dubia. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 2005 48: 344-350.
  50. Raut CP, Nawrocki S, Lashinger LM, Davis DW, Khanbolooki S, Xiong H, Ellis LM, and McConkey DJ. Celecoxib inhibits angiogenesis by inducing endothelial cell apoptosis in human pancreatic tumor xenografts. Cancer Biology and Therapy, 2004 3: 2-9.
  51. Carew JS, Nawrocki ST, Xu R, Dunner Jr. K, McConkey DJ, Wierda WG, Keating MJ and Huang P. Increased mitochondrial biogenesis in primary leukemia cells: the role of endogenous nitric oxide and impact on sensitivity to fludarabine. Leukemia, 2004 18: 1934-1940.
  52. Krett NL, Ayres M, Nabhan C, Ma Chunguang, Nowak B, Nawrocki S, Rosen ST, and Gandhi V. In vitro assessment of nucleoside analogs in multiple myeloma. Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology 2004 54: 113-121.
  53. Nawrocki ST, Sweeney-Gotsch B, Takamori R, and McConkey DJ. The proteasome inhibitor bortezomib enhances the activity of docetaxel in orthotopic human pancreatic tumor xenografts. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 2004 3: 59-70.
  54. Nawrocki ST, Bruns CJ, Harbison MT, Bold RJ, Sweeney-Gotsch B, Abbruzzese JL, Elliot P, Adams J, and McConkey DJ. Effects of the proteasome inhibitor, PS-341, on apoptosis and angiogenesis in orthotopic human pancreatic tumor xenografts. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, 2002 1: 1243-1253.

Professional Information

Positions and Honors: 
  • Voelcker Fund Young Investigator Award, 2011
  • Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Scholar, 2010
  • Brian D. Novis Junior Investigator Award, International Myeloma Foundation, 2010
  • University of Texas and M.D. Anderson Presidents’ Research Scholar, 2005
  • American Legion Auxiliary Fellowship in Cancer Biology, 2004
  • Andrew Sowell-Wade Huggins Cancer Research Scholar, 2004
  • Gulf Coast Society of Toxicology (GCSOT) Edward S. Reynolds Award for Best Platform Presentation, Houston, TX, 2004
  • UT GSBS Travel Award to AACR in Orlando, FL, 2004
  • SOT 3rd Place, Carl C. Smith Mechanisms Award, Baltimore, MD, 2004
  • American Legion Auxiliary Fellowship in Cancer Biology, 2003
  • Gulf Coast Society of Toxicology (GCSOT) 2nd Place, Best Platform Presentation, Galveston, TX, 2003
  • UT GSBS Travel Award to AACR in Washington, DC, 2003
  • Society of Toxicology (SOT) Graduate Student Travel Award, Salt Lake City, UT, 2003
  • GCSOT honorable mention, Best Platform Presentation, College Station, TX, 2002
  • UT GSBS Travel Award to AACR, San Francisco, CA, 2002
  • NIH Toxicology Training Grant, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, 2001
  • Member of Phi Kappa Phi Society, University of Memphis, 1999
  • Member of Gamma Beta Phi Society, University of Mississippi, 1996
  • Member of Golden Key National Honor Society, University of Mississippi, 1993

Academic Information

Biomedical Sciences (Cancer Biology/Toxicology), The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
Master's Degree: 
MS, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN
Undergraduate School: 
BS, Biological Sciences, University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS