Zhenfei Li

Zhenfei Li
About Zhenfei Li
  • While most men with prostate cancer initially respond well to androgen deprivation therapies (ADT) such as Zytiga®, some do not, and patients inevitably develop resistance to treatment. Recent research has identified a specific molecular interaction—conversion of Zytiga® into the metabolic product D4A—as an essential part of a patient’s positive clinical response.
  • Dr. Zhenfei Li hypothesizes that D4A has potent anti-tumor activity against prostate cancer tumors and that the conversion rate of Zytiga® to D4A is a biomarker for predicting patient response to Zytiga® early during treatment.
  • Establishing the clinical significance of D4A production in patients with CRPC will lead to potential identification of other steroidal metabolites of Zytiga®.
  • Dr. Li’s research may provide the first instance of the metabolite of a medication (D4A) being used as a biomarker of patient response and may provide a rapid, non-invasive approach for determining effectiveness of treatment with Zytiga®.

What this means for patients: The presence of D4A in the blood or tissue of CRPC patients might predict response to Zytiga®. If successful, this project will lead to the identification of a predictive biomarker in a routine blood test that informs clinicians early in the treatment whether Zytiga® is inducing a long-term remission.


2015 Steve Schwarzman–PCF Young Investigator

Zhenfei Li, PhD

Cleveland Clinic Foundation


Nima Sharifi, MD; Eric Klein, MD

Proposal Title

A Novel Abiraterone Metabolite as a Predictive Biomarker for Clinical Response to Abiraterone