Melissa Genevieve Lechner

Assistant Professor-in-Residence, Medicine, University of California Los Angeles

Melissa G. Lechner, MD, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. Her clinical and research interests are related to endocrine disease resulting from cancer immunotherapy (onco-endocrinology) and advanced thyroid cancer. She established the Onco-Endocrinology clinic at UCLA to care for patients with endocrine side effects from cancer immunotherapy and targeted therapies. She also has expertise in thyroid nodules (including biopsy). Dr. Lechner leads multiple prospective clinical trials at UCLA studying thyroid disease and cancer immunotherapy. She has received funding from the American Thyroid Association, Endocrine Fellows Foundation, and National Institutes of Health for her research and has been invited to speak nationally and internationally on the role of the immune system in cancer. She has published articles in Thyroid, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, The Journal of Immunology, Cancer, and Clinical Cancer Research, including original research and invited reviews, and serves on the National Comprehensive Cancer Network of Management of Immunotherapy Toxicity Side Effects guidance panel. After finishing her combined MD and PhD training in the joint USC Keck School of Medicine/Cal Tech physician-scientist training program, Dr. Lechner completed residencies in internal medicine and pediatrics at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Boston Children's Hospital of the Harvard Medical School. In 2018, she joined UCLA as a clinical fellow in endocrinology and post-doctoral researcher in the prestigious Specialty Training and Advanced Research (STAR) program. In 2020, Dr. Lechner joined the faculty at UCLA. Current Clinical Trials IRB#21-000633 Mechanisms of Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor cancer therapy-associated and Spontaneous Thyroid Autoimmune Disease PI: Dr. Lechner (Sponsors: UCLA, USC, NIH and Aramont Charitable Foundation) [Archival: IRB#19-001708 Comparison of Immune Profiles in Different Thyroid Disease States (Sponsors: UCLA and NIH)] Purpose: Immune related adverse events are autoimmune toxicities that occur in many patients treated with immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) cancer therapies, and the thyroid is one of the most common organs affected. In addition, thyroid autoimmune disease affects millions of individuals worldwide and leads to the need for lifelong thyroid hormone replacement. Our studies seek to determine the cause of these thyroid autoimmune diseases so that disease modifying therapies can be developed. Involvement: The study involves collection of peripheral blood and a thyroid fine needle aspirate. Compensation is provided. Eligibility: Adults with active thyroid disease, including immune checkpoint inhibitor thyroid disease, autoimmune thyroid disease (such as Hashimoto’s or thyroiditis). Controls without thyroid autoimmune disease are also needed, and can include individuals with benign thyroid nodules. Sites: UCLA and USC IRB#20-000494 Immune Profiles Associated with Development of Immune Toxicities in Checkpoint Immunotherapy-Treated Cancer Patients PI: Dr. Lechner (Sponsors: UCLA and NIH) Purpose: Immune related adverse events are autoimmune toxicities that occur in many patients treated with immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) cancer therapies. Our studies seek to determine the cause of these IrAEs by following immune changes over time in patients treated with ICI while monitoring for the development of IrAEs and potential biomarkers for these unwanted side effects. Involvement: The study involves collection of peripheral blood every 3 months for 1 year. Blood collection can be done in conjunction with Oncology visits. Eligibility: Adults with cancer being treated with immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy. Sites: UCLA and USC

Awards and Honors

  • “Top 10 innovations of 2011” CNN, Manhattan, NY, for research innovation, 2011.
  • Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Recognition Honor Medical Society, 2013.
  • Oral Abstract Award, American Association of Immunologists, Washington, D.C., 2023.
  • Early-Stage Immunologist Award, Aramont Charitable Foundation, UCLA, 2021-2024.
  • Rising Stars oral research presentation winner and abstract achievement award, Endocrine Society, 2021.
  • Oral Abstract Award, American Thyroid Association, Montreal, Canada, 2022.
  • US Patent 8883497 B2, co-inventor, Human myeloid derived suppressor cell cancer markers, 2014.


  1. Moffatt C, Lechner MG, Angell TE, Shen J, Drakaki A, Acosta GJ, Liang TZ, Tsai K. The Effect of Apalutamide on Thyroid Function in Prostate Cancer Patients.. Journal of the Endocrine Society, 2024.
  2. Lechner MG, Brent GA. A New Twist on a Classic: Enhancing Radioiodine Uptake in Advanced Thyroid Cancer.. Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, 2024.
  3. Seyedsadr M, Bang M, McCarthy E, Zhang S, Chen HC, Mohebbi M, Hugo W, Whitmire JK, Lechner MG, Su MA. A pathologically expanded, clonal lineage of IL-21 producing CD4+ T cells drives Inflammatory neuropathy.. bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology, 2024.
  4. Tsai K, Ma H, Liang TZ, Xing Y, Chung S, Dorff T, Bell D, Lechner MG. The Combined Effect of Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors and Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors on Thyroid Function.. Thyroid : official journal of the American Thyroid Association, 2024.
  5. Hilder R, Tsai K, Quandt Z, Isaacs D, Drakaki A, Xing Y, In GK, Angell TE, Lechner MG. Safety and efficacy of immune checkpoint inhibitor cancer therapy in patients with preexisting type 1 diabetes mellitus.. Frontiers in endocrinology, 2023.
  6. Schumm MA, Shu ML, Hughes EG, Nikiforov YE, Nikiforova MN, Wald AI, Lechner MG, Tseng CH, Sajed DP, Wu JX, Yeh MW, Livhits MJ. Prognostic Value of Preoperative Molecular Testing and Implications for Initial Surgical Management in Thyroid Nodules Harboring Suspected (Bethesda V) or Known (Bethesda VI) Papillary Thyroid Cancer.. JAMA otolaryngology-- head & neck surgery, 2023.
  7. Whitcroft KL, Altundag A, Balungwe P, Boscolo-Rizzo P, Douglas R, Enecilla MLB, Fjaeldstad AW, Fornazieri MA, Frasnelli J, Gane S, Gudziol H, Gupta N, Haehner A, Hernandez AK, Holbrook EH, Hopkins C, Hsieh JW, Huart C, Husain S, Kamel R, Kim JK, Kobayashi M, Konstantinidis I, Landis BN, Lechner M, Macchi A, Mazal PP, Miri I, Miwa T, Mori E, Mullol J, Mueller CA, Ottaviano G, Patel ZM, Philpott C, Pinto JM, Ramakrishnan VR, Roth Y, Schlosser RJ, Stjärne P, Van Gerven L, Vodicka J, Welge-Luessen A, Wormald PJ, Hummel T. Position paper on olfactory dysfunction: 2023.. Rhinology, 2023.
  8. Ding L, Sun L, Bu MT, Zhang Y, Scott LN, Prins RM, Su MA, Lechner MG, Hugo W. Antigen presentation by clonally diverse CXCR5+ B cells to CD4 and CD8 T cells is associated with durable response to immune checkpoint inhibitors.. Frontiers in immunology, 2023.
  9. Chen DH, Lenz HJ, Lechner MG, Angell TE. Reduced Tumor Size of Untreated Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma After Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor-Induced Thyroiditis.. AACE clinical case reports, 2023.
  10. Lechner MG, Zhou Z, Hoang AT, Huang N, Ortega J, Scott LN, Chen HC, Patel AY, Yakhshi-Tafti R, Kim K, Hugo W, Famini P, Drakaki A, Ribas A, Angell TE, Su MA. Clonally expanded, thyrotoxic effector CD8+ T cells driven by IL-21 contribute to checkpoint inhibitor thyroiditis.. Science translational medicine, 2023.
  11. El Zarif T, Nassar AH, Adib E, Fitzgerald BG, Huang J, Mouhieddine TH, Rubinstein PG, Nonato T, McKay RR, Li M, Mittra A, Owen DH, Baiocchi RA, Lorentsen M, Dittus C, Dizman N, Falohun A, Abdel-Wahab N, Diab A, Bankapur A, Reed A, Kim C, Arora A, Shah NJ, El-Am E, Kozaily E, Abdallah W, Al-Hader A, Abu Ghazal B, Saeed A, Drolen C, Lechner MG, Drakaki A, Baena J, Nebhan CA, Haykal T, Morse MA, Cortellini A, Pinato DJ, Dalla Pria A, Hall E, Bakalov V, Bahary N, Rajkumar A, Mangla A, Shah V, Singh P, Aboubakar Nana F, Lopetegui-Lia N, Dima D, Dobbs RW, Funchain P, Saleem R, Woodford R, Long GV, Menzies AM, Genova C, Barletta G, Puri S, Florou V, Idossa D, Saponara M, Queirolo P, Lamberti G, Addeo A, Bersanelli M, Freeman D, Xie W, Reid EG, Chiao EY, Sharon E, Johnson DB, Ramaswami R, Bower M, Emu B, Marron TU, Choueiri TK, Baden LR, Lurain K, Sonpavde GP, Naqash AR. Safety and Activity of Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors in People Living With HIV and Cancer: A Real-World Report From the Cancer Therapy Using Checkpoint Inhibitors in People Living With HIV-International (CATCH-IT) Consortium.. Journal of clinical oncology : official journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, 2023.
  12. Quandt Z, Kim S, Villanueva-Meyer J, Coupe C, Young A, Kang JH, Yazdany J, Schmajuk G, Rush S, Ziv E, Perdigoto AL, Herold K, Lechner MG, Su MA, Tyrrell JB, Bluestone J, Anderson M, Masharani U. Spectrum of Clinical Presentations, Imaging Findings, and HLA Types in Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor-Induced Hypophysitis.. Journal of the Endocrine Society, 2023.
  13. Lechner MG, Cheng MI, Patel AY, Hoang AT, Yakobian N, Astourian M, Pioso MS, Rodriguez ED, McCarthy EC, Hugo W, Angell TE, Drakaki A, Ribas A, Su MA. Inhibition of IL-17A Protects against Thyroid Immune-Related Adverse Events while Preserving Checkpoint Inhibitor Antitumor Efficacy.. Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950), 2022.
  14. Thompson JA, Schneider BJ, Brahmer J, Achufusi A, Armand P, Berkenstock MK, Bhatia S, Budde LE, Chokshi S, Davies M, Elshoury A, Gesthalter Y, Hegde A, Jain M, Kaffenberger BH, Lechner MG, Li T, Marr A, McGettigan S, McPherson J, Medina T, Mohindra NA, Olszanski AJ, Oluwole O, Patel SP, Patil P, Reddy S, Ryder M, Santomasso B, Shofer S, Sosman JA, Wang Y, Zaha VG, Lyons M, Dwyer M, Hang L. Management of Immunotherapy-Related Toxicities, Version 1.2022, NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology.. Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network : JNCCN, 2022.
  15. Dasgupta A, Tsay E, Federman N, Lechner MG, Su MA. Polyendocrine Autoimmunity and Diabetic Ketoacidosis Following Anti-PD-1 and Interferon α.. Pediatrics, 2022.
  16. Mosaferi T, Tsai K, Sovich S, Wilhalme H, Kathuria-Prakash N, Praw SS, Drakaki A, Angell TE, Lechner MG. Optimal Thyroid Hormone Replacement Dose in Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor-Associated Hypothyroidism Is Distinct from Hashimoto's Thyroiditis.. Thyroid : official journal of the American Thyroid Association, 2022.
  17. Wang Y, Guo L, Yin X, McCarthy EC, Cheng MI, Hoang AT, Chen HC, Patel AY, Allard Trout D, Xu E, Yakobian N, Hugo W, Howard JF, Sheu KM, Hoffmann A, Lechner MG, Su MA. Pathogenic TNF-α drives peripheral nerve inflammation in an Aire-deficient model of autoimmunity.. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2022.
  18. Wilkinson NM, Chen HC, Lechner MG, Su MA. Sex Differences in Immunity.. Annual review of immunology, 2022.
  19. Kathuria-Prakash N, Antrim L, Hornstein N, Sun AW, Kang IM, Baclig NV, Angell TE, Lechner MG, Wald-Dickler N, In GK. Factors Associated With Hospitalization Among Breast Cancer Patients With COVID-19: A Diverse Multi-Center Los Angeles Cohort Study.. Clinical breast cancer, 2021.
  20. Lechner MG, Ryder M. Insights into immune checkpoint inhibitor-induced thyroiditis.. Nature reviews. Endocrinology, 2021.
  21. Schumm MA, Lechner MG, Shu ML, Ochoa JE, Kim J, Tseng CH, Leung AM, Yeh MW. Frequency of Thyroid Hormone Replacement After Lobectomy for Differentiated Thyroid Cancer.. Endocrine practice : official journal of the American College of Endocrinology and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, 2021.
  22. Kathuria-Prakash N, Mosaferi T, Xie M, Antrim L, Angell TE, In GK, Su MA, Lechner MG. COVID-19 Outcomes of Patients With Differentiated Thyroid Cancer: A Multicenter Los Angeles Cohort Study.. Endocrine practice : official journal of the American College of Endocrinology and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, 2021.
  23. Lechner MG, Bernardo AC, Lampe A, Praw SS, Tam SH, Angell TE. Changes in Stage Distribution and Disease-Specific Survival in Differentiated Thyroid Cancer with Transition to American Joint Committee on Cancer 8th Edition: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.. The oncologist, 2020.
  24. Eberly LA, Richterman A, Beckett AG, Wispelwey B, Marsh RH, Cleveland Manchanda EC, Chang CY, Glynn RJ, Brooks KC, Boxer R, Kakoza R, Goldsmith J, Loscalzo J, Morse M, Lewis EF, Abel S, Adams A, Anaya J, Andrews EH, Atkinson B, Avutu V, Bachorik A, Badri O, Bailey M, Baird K, Bakshi S, Balaban D, Barshop K, Baumrin E, Bayomy O, Beamesderfer J, Becker N, Berg DD, Berman AN, Blum SM, Boardman AP, Boden K, Bonacci RA, Brown S, Campbell K, Case S, Cetrone E, Charrow A, Chiang D, Clark D, Cohen AJ, Cooper A, Cordova T, Cuneo CN, de Feria AA, Deffenbacher K, DeFilippis EM, DeGregorio G, Deutsch AJ, Diephuis B, Divakaran S, Dorschner P, Downing N, Drescher C, D'Silva KM, Dunbar P, Duong D, Earp S, Eckhardt C, Elman SA, England R, Everett K, Fedotova N, Feingold-Link T, Ferreira M, Fisher H, Foo P, Foote M, Franco I, Gilliland T, Greb J, Greco K, Grewal S, Grin B, Growdon ME, Guercio B, Hahn CK, Hasselfeld B, Haydu EJ, Hermes Z, Hildick-Smith G, Holcomb Z, Holroyd K, Horton L, Huang G, Jablonski S, Jacobs D, Jain N, Japa S, Joseph R, Kalashnikova M, Kalwani N, Kang D, Karan A, Katz JT, Kellner D, Kidia K, Kim JH, Knowles SM, Kolbe L, Kore I, Koullias Y, Kuye I, Lang J, Lawlor M, Lechner MG, Lee K, Lee S, Lee Z, Limaye N, Lin-Beckford S, Lipsyc M, Little J, Loewenthal J, Logaraj R, Lopez DM, Loriaux D, Lu Y, Ma K, Marukian N, Matias W, Mayers JR, McConnell I, McLaughlin M, Meade C, Meador C, Mehta A, Messenger E, Michaelidis C, Mirsky J, Mitten E, Mueller A, Mullur J, Munir A, Murphy E, Nagami E, Natarajan A, Nsahlai M, Nze C, Okwara N, Olds P, Paez R, Pardo M, Patel S, Petersen A, Phelan L, Pimenta E, Pipilas D, Plovanich M, Pong D, Powers BW, Rao A, Ramirez Batlle H, Ramsis M, Reichardt A, Reiger S, Rengarajan M, Rico S, Rome BN, Rosales R, Rotenstein L, Roy A, Royston S, Rozansky H, Rudder M, Ryan CE, Salgado S, Sanchez P, Schulte J, Sekar A, Semenkovich N, Shannon E, Shaw N, Shorten AB, Shrauner W, Sinnenberg L, Smithy JW, Snyder G, Sreekrishnan A, Stabenau H, Stavrou E, Stergachis A, Stern R, Stone A, Tabrizi S, Tanyos S, Thomas C, Thun H, Torres-Lockhart K, Tran A, Treasure C, Tsai FD, Tsaur S, Tschirhart E, Tuwatananurak J, Venkateswaran RV, Vishnevetsky A, Wahl L, Wall A, Wallace F, Walsh E, Wang P, Ward HB, Warner LN, Weeks LD, Weiskopf K, Wengrod J, Williams JN, Winkler M, Wong JL, Worster D, Wright A, Wunsch C, Wynter JS, Yarbrough C, Yau WY, Yazdi D, Yeh J, Yialamas MA, Yozamp N, Zambrotta M, Zon R. Identification of Racial Inequities in Access to Specialized Inpatient Heart Failure Care at an Academic Medical Center.. Circulation. Heart failure, 2019.
  25. Lechner MG, Praw SS, Angell TE. Treatment of Differentiated Thyroid Carcinomas.. Surgical pathology clinics, 2019.
  26. Lee JT, Lechner MG, Vaidya A, Weinmann M. Bridging the Gap.. The New England journal of medicine, 2019.
  27. Lechner MG, Vyas CM, Hamnvik OR, Alexander EK, Larsen PR, Choueiri TK, Angell TE. Hypothyroidism During Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor Therapy Is Associated with Longer Survival in Patients with Advanced Nonthyroidal Cancers.. Thyroid : official journal of the American Thyroid Association, 2018.
  28. Lechner MG, Vyas CM, Hamnvik OR, Alexander EK, Larsen PR, Choueiri TK, Angell TE. Risk Factors for New Hypothyroidism During Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor Therapy in Advanced Nonthyroidal Cancer Patients.. Thyroid : official journal of the American Thyroid Association, 2018.
  29. Angell TE, Lechner MG, Smith AM, Martin SE, Groshen SG, Maceri DR, Singer PA, Epstein AL. Circulating Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells Predict Differentiated Thyroid Cancer Diagnosis and Extent.. Thyroid : official journal of the American Thyroid Association, 2016.
  30. Brody GS, Deapen D, Taylor CR, Pinter-Brown L, House-Lightner SR, Andersen JS, Carlson G, Lechner MG, Epstein AL. Anaplastic large cell lymphoma occurring in women with breast implants: analysis of 173 cases.. Plastic and reconstructive surgery, 2015.
  31. Angell TE, Lechner MG, Nguyen CT, Salvato VL, Nicoloff JT, LoPresti JS. Clinical features and hospital outcomes in thyroid storm: a retrospective cohort study.. The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism, 2014.
  32. Angell TE, Lechner MG, Jang JK, LoPresti JS, Epstein AL. MHC class I loss is a frequent mechanism of immune escape in papillary thyroid cancer that is reversed by interferon and selumetinib treatment in vitro.. Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, 2014.
  33. Wilson CN, Vance CO, Lechner MG, Matuschak GM, Lechner AJ. Adenosine A1 receptor antagonist, L-97-1, improves survival and protects the kidney in a rat model of cecal ligation and puncture induced sepsis.. European journal of pharmacology, 2014.
  34. Angell TE, Lechner MG, Jang JK, Correa AJ, LoPresti JS, Epstein AL. BRAF V600E in papillary thyroid carcinoma is associated with increased programmed death ligand 1 expression and suppressive immune cell infiltration.. Thyroid : official journal of the American Thyroid Association, 2014.
  35. Lechner MG, Karimi SS, Barry-Holson K, Angell TE, Murphy KA, Church CH, Ohlfest JR, Hu P, Epstein AL. Immunogenicity of murine solid tumor models as a defining feature of in vivo behavior and response to immunotherapy.. Journal of immunotherapy (Hagerstown, Md. : 1997), 2013.
  36. Russell S, Angell T, Lechner M, Liebertz D, Correa A, Sinha U, Kokot N, Epstein A. Immune cell infiltration patterns and survival in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.. Head & neck oncology, 2013.
  37. Russell SM, Lechner MG, Mokashi A, Megiel C, Jang JK, Taylor CR, Looijenga LH, French CA, Epstein AL. Establishment and characterization of a new human extragonadal germ cell line, SEM-1, and its comparison with TCam-2 and JKT-1.. Urology, 2013.
  38. Li Z, Jang JK, Lechner MG, Hu P, Khawli L, Scannell CA, Epstein AL. Generation of tumor-targeted antibody-CpG conjugates.. Journal of immunological methods, 2012.
  39. Lechner MG, Megiel C, Church CH, Angell TE, Russell SM, Sevell RB, Jang JK, Brody GS, Epstein AL. Survival signals and targets for therapy in breast implant-associated ALK--anaplastic large cell lymphoma.. Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, 2012.
  40. Murphy KA, Lechner MG, Popescu FE, Bedi J, Decker SA, Hu P, Erickson JR, O'Sullivan MG, Swier L, Salazar AM, Olin MR, Epstein AL, Ohlfest JR. An in vivo immunotherapy screen of costimulatory molecules identifies Fc-OX40L as a potent reagent for the treatment of established murine gliomas.. Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, 2012.
  41. Lechner MG, Russell SM, Bass RS, Epstein AL. Chemokines, costimulatory molecules and fusion proteins for the immunotherapy of solid tumors.. Immunotherapy, 2011.
  42. Russell SM, Lechner MG, Gong L, Megiel C, Liebertz DJ, Masood R, Correa AJ, Han J, Puri RK, Sinha UK, Epstein AL. USC-HN2, a new model cell line for recurrent oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma with immunosuppressive characteristics.. Oral oncology, 2011.
  43. Lechner MG, Megiel C, Russell SM, Bingham B, Arger N, Woo T, Epstein AL. Functional characterization of human Cd33+ and Cd11b+ myeloid-derived suppressor cell subsets induced from peripheral blood mononuclear cells co-cultured with a diverse set of human tumor cell lines.. Journal of translational medicine, 2011.
  44. Lechner MG, Epstein AL. A new mechanism for blocking myeloid-derived suppressor cells by CpG.. Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, 2011.
  45. Lechner MG, Lade S, Liebertz DJ, Prince HM, Brody GS, Webster HR, Epstein AL. Breast implant-associated, ALK-negative, T-cell, anaplastic, large-cell lymphoma: establishment and characterization of a model cell line (TLBR-1) for this newly emerging clinical entity.. Cancer, 2010.
  46. Lechner MG, Liebertz DJ, Epstein AL. Characterization of cytokine-induced myeloid-derived suppressor cells from normal human peripheral blood mononuclear cells.. Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950), 2010.
  47. Liebertz DJ, Lechner MG, Masood R, Sinha UK, Han J, Puri RK, Correa AJ, Epstein AL. Establishment and characterization of a novel head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cell line USC-HN1.. Head & neck oncology, 2010.
  48. Djavani M, Crasta OR, Zhang Y, Zapata JC, Sobral B, Lechner MG, Bryant J, Davis H, Salvato MS. Gene expression in primate liver during viral hemorrhagic fever.. Virology journal, 2009.
  49. Lechner MG, Hershman JM. Thyroid Nodules and Cancer in the Elderly. Endotext, 2000.