Shernan Holtan

Hematologic Oncology

Cancers Treated:

Specializing In:

Blood and marrow transplantation Cellular immunotherapy Immune-based disease

Research Interests:

GVHD prevention and treatment Relapse prevention Regenerative medicine Immune-based diseases Nutrition and strength training

About Shernan Holtan


My research is primarily focused on the development of regenerative supportive therapies and advanced monitoring strategies for inflammatory complications following transplantation and cell therapy. My approach aims to promote normal tissue repair and resilience as an alternative to increasing immune suppression in the prevention and treatment of acute Graft-versus-Host Disease (GVHD) and post-transplant muscle loss.

I have conducted extensive studies in clinical and translational research, notably in the identification of novel tissue repair growth factors and pathways that are crucial for prognosis in GVHD cases. A significant achievement in this domain is the development of a longitudinal monitoring biomarker, amphiregulin (AREG), which has been validated through samples obtained from prospective, multicenter studies. Furthermore, my investigations into the gene expression patterns in rectosigmoid biopsies from patients suffering from life-threatening GVHD have revealed critical insights, indicating that DNA damage, cellular senescence, and stress responses are significant factors contributing to the ineffectiveness of standard immunosuppression therapies.

As the principal investigator of various observational and interventional clinical trials, including investigator-initiated studies, I have contributed to the advancement of our understanding of GVHD. This includes supporting Dr. Brian Betts in identifying the pathogenic expression of CD83 in lymphocyte subsets in both acute and chronic GVHD. This also includes establishment of post-transplant cyclophosphamide-based GVHD prophylaxis as the standard method of GVHD prevention through multicenter clinical trial leadership.

In addition to my professional pursuits, I am deeply engaged in personal interests that complement my professional work. I have a strong background in strength training and have previously set national and state records in powerlifting. This personal passion has been integrated into my professional work, leading to the development of clinical trials that focus on strength-based supportive care for individuals recovering from cancer therapy. Additionally, I am learning to play the bass guitar, which offers a refreshing counterbalance to my research activities.


Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Professor of Medicine
  • Chief of Blood and Marrow Transplantation Section
  • Department of Medicine

Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, State University of New York at Buffalo

  • Professor of Medicine


Education and Training:

  • 1999-2003 - MD - University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE


  • 2003-2006 - Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic Rochester, Rochester, MN


  • 2006-2011 - Hematology, Oncology and BMT, Mayo Clinic Rochester, Rochester, MN

Professional Memberships:

  • American Society of Hematology (ASH)
  • American Society for Transplantation and Cellular Therapy (ASTCT)

Honors & Awards:

  • 2019 - United States Powerlifting Association, US national record holder for squat

Featured on Cancer Talk


Full Publications list on PubMed

Post-Transplantation Cyclophosphamide-Based Graft-versus-Host Disease Prophylaxis.
Bolaños-Meade J, Hamadani M, Wu J, Al Malki MM, Martens MJ, Runaas L, Elmariah H, Rezvani AR, Gooptu M, Larkin KT, Shaffer BC, El Jurdi N, Loren AW, Solh M, Hall AC, Alousi AM, Jamy OH, Perales MA, Yao JM, Applegate K, Bhatt AS, Kean LS, Efebera YA, Reshef R, Clark W, DiFronzo NL, Leifer E, Horowitz MM, Jones RJ, Holtan SG; BMT CTN 1703 Investigators.
N Engl J Med. 2023 Jun 22;388(25):2338-2348. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa2215943.

Human Effectors of Acute and Chronic GVHD Overexpress CD83 and Predict Mortality.
Holtan SG, Savid-Frontera C, Walton K, Eaton AA, Demorest C, Hoeschen A, Zhang L, Reid K, Kurian T, Sayegh Z, Julia E, Maakaron J, Bachanova V, Jurdi NE, MacMillan ML, Weisdorf DJ, Felices M, Miller JS, Blazar BR, Davila ML, Betts BC.
Clin Cancer Res. 2023 Mar 14;29(6):1114-1124. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-22-2837.

Phase II Study of Myeloablative 7-8/8-Matched Allotransplantation with Post-Transplantation Cyclophosphamide, Tacrolimus, and Mycophenolate Mofetil.
Jurdi NE, Hoover A, O'Leary D, Cao Q, Gupta A, Ebens C, Maakaron JE, Betts BC, Rashidi A, Juckett MB, Lund T, Bachanova V, MacMillan ML, Miller JS, Orchard PJ, Wagner JE, Vercellotti G, Weisdorf DJ, Dusenbery K, Terezakis S, Holtan SG.
Transplant Cell Ther. 2023 Sep;29(9):576.e1-576.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.jtct.2023.06.008. Epub 2023 Jun 11.

Phase II, Open-Label Clinical Trial of Urinary-Derived Human Chorionic Gonadotropin/Epidermal Growth Factor for Life-Threatening Acute Graft-versus-Host Disease.
Holtan SG, Hoeschen A, Cao Q, Ustun C, Betts BC, Jurdi NE, Maakaron J, Rashidi A, Miller JS, Wagner JE, Blazar BR, Jacobson PA, Panoskaltsis-Mortari A, Weisdorf DJ, MacMillan ML.
Transplant Cell Ther. 2023 Aug;29(8):509.e1-509.e8. doi: 10.1016/j.jtct.2023.05.021. Epub 2023 Jun 4.

Amphiregulin as monitoring biomarker for life-threatening acute graft-versushost disease: secondary analysis of two prospective clinical trials.
Holtan SG, El Jurdi N, Rashidi A, Betts BC, Demorest C, Galvin JP, MacMillan ML, Weisdorf DJ, Panoskaltsis-Mortari A, Pratta MA.
Haematologica. 2023 Sep 14. doi: 10.3324/haematol.2023.283215. Online ahead of print.