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Alumni- Joseph M. Connors, MD., FRCPC

Clinical Director, Centre for Lymphoid Cancer (Retired 2018)

 Dr. Joseph Connors
Tel: 604-877-6000 x2746
Fax: 604-877-0585
BC Cancer Agency, Vancouver Centre
600 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver, V5Z 4E6

Previous Clinical & Research Roles:

  • Clinical Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia

  • Medical Oncologist, BC Cancer
  • Head, Provincial Lymphoma Tumour Group, BC Cancer 
  • Clinical Director, BC Cancer, Centre for Lymphoid Cancer


About Dr. Joseph Connors:


After 37 highly productive years with BC Cancer, Dr. Connors retired from the Centre for Lymphoid Cancer in 2018. 


Dr. Connors received his MD from Yale University and did his Internal Medicine residency training and chief residency at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. He then worked in the Indian Health Service in Alaska for two years before completing his Medical Oncology Fellowship at Stanford University under Dr. Saul Rosenberg. He accepted a position in Medical Oncology at the BC Cancer Agency in 1981 and was a member of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia, reaching the position of Clinical Professor in 1997.  He was a Clinical Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Medical Oncology, at the University of British Columbia, and the chair of the Lymphoma Tumor Group for BC Cancer.  He focused his clinical activities and long and productive research career in the area of understanding lymphoid cancers. 


Dr. Connors is best known for his clinical investigations into the treatment of Hodgkin lymphoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia and multiple myeloma.  He served as a member of the executive committee of the Hematology Site Group for the National Cancer Institute of Canada Clinical Trials Group, as chair of the Educational Activities Committee of the American Society of Hematology, and on the scientific advisory boards of the Lymphoma Foundation Canada and the Lymphoma Research Foundation of the United States.  He has published over 250 peer-reviewed scientific articles addressing various aspects of research into lymphoid cancers.  He has been awarded the Terry Fox Cancer Research Award by the British Columbia Medical Association, the Bernard L. Schwartz Memorial Award by the Scripps health system in San Diego, California, the Canadian Cancer Society John W. Whittick Memorial Award by the Saskatchewan Medical Association, and the Karl Musshoff Award of the German Hodgkin Lymphoma Study Group, Cologne, Germany.


 Dr. Connors has been a prominent internationally recognized clinical investigator involved in several major improvements in understanding the biology of lymphoid cancers and identifying new treatments for these diseases.  His major accomplishments include the following:


1.    Lead investigator in a series of international clinical trials that defined the best chemotherapy for advanced Hodgkin lymphoma.

  • Connors JM, Klimo P.  MOPP/ABV Hybrid chemotherapy for advanced Hodgkin's disease.  Semin Hematol 1987;24 (suppl 1):35-40.
  • Connors JM, Klimo P, Adams G, Burns BF, Cooper I, Meyer RM, O’Reilly SE, Pater J, Quirt I, Sadura A, Shustik C, Skillings J, Sutcliffe S, Verma S, Yoshida S, Zee B.  Treatment of advanced Hodgkin’s disease with chemotherapy - comparison of MOPP/ABV hybrid regimen with alternating courses of MOPP and ABVD:  A report from the National Cancer Institute of Canada Clinical Trials Group.  J Clin Oncol  1997;15:1638-45.
  • Duggan DB, Petroni GR, Johnson JL, Glick JH, Fisher RI, Connors JM, Canellos GP, Peterson BA. Randomized comparison of ABVD and MOPP/ABV hybrid for the treatment of advanced Hodgkin's disease: report of an intergroup trial. J Clin Oncol 2003;21(4):607-14.


2. Lead investigator in a series of clinical trials that defined the current internationally accepted best overall treatment approach to limited stage large cell lymphoma.


  • Connors JM, Klimo P, Fairey RN, Voss N.  Brief chemotherapy and involved field radiotherapy for limited stage aggressive histology non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.  Ann Intern Med 1987;107:25-9.
  • Shenkier TN, Voss N, Fairey R, Gascoyne RD, Hoskins P, Klasa R, Klimo P, O'Reilly SE, Sutcliffe S, Connors JM. Brief chemotherapy and involved-region irradiation for limited-stage diffuse large-cell lymphoma: an 18-year experience from the British Columbia Cancer Agency. J Clin Oncol 2002;20:197-204.


3. The Canadian representative in the drafting of the most widely internationally accepted treatment response assessment system for lymphoma.


  • Cheson BD, Horning SJ, Bertrand C, Shipp MA, Fisher RI, Connors JM, Lister TA, Vose J, Grillo-Lopez A, Hagenbeek A, Cabanillas F, Klippensten D, Hiddemann W, Castellino R, Harris NL, Armitage JO, Carter W, Hoppe R, Canellos GP. Report on an international workshop to standardize response criteria for non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas. J Clin Oncol 1999;17:1244-53.
  • Cheson BD, Pfistner B, Juweid ME, Gascoyne RD, Specht L, Horning SJ, Coiffier B, Fisher RI, Hagenbeek A, Zucca E, Rosen ST, Stroobants S, Lister TA, Hoppe RT, Dreyling M, Tobinai K, Vose JM, Connors JM, Federico M, Diehl V. Revised response criteria for malignant lymphoma. The International Harmonization Project on Lymphoma. J Clin Oncol. 2007;25:579-86. 


4. The Canadian representative and investigator in the study leading to the current internationally accepted prognostic model for large cell lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma in general.


  • Shipp MA, Harrington DP, Anderson JR, Armitage JO, Bonadonna G, Brittinger G, Cabanillas F, Canellos GP, Coiffier B, Connors JM, Cowan RA, Crowther D, Dahlberg S, Engelhard M, Fisher RI, Gisselbrecht C, Horning SJ, Lepage E, Lister TA, Meerwaldt JH, Montserrat E, Nissen NI, Oken MM, Peterson BA, Tondini C, Velasquez WS, Yead BY.  Development of a predictive model for aggressive lymphoma:  The International Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Prognostic Factors Project.  N Engl J Med 1993;329:987-94.


5. The clinical principal investigator in the definitive demonstration of the value of gene expression profiling to define the biology of the B-cell lymphomas.


  • Rosenwald A, Wright G, Chan WC, Connors JM, Campo E, Fisher RI, et al. The use of molecular profiling to predict survival after chemotherapy for diffuse large-B-cell lymphoma. N Engl J Med 2002;346(25):1937-47.
  • Rosenwald A, Wright G, Wiestner A, Chan WC, Connors JM, Campo E, Gascoyne RD, Grogan TM, Muller-Hermelink HK, Smeland EB, Chiorazzi M, Giltnane JM, Hurt EM, Zhao H, Averett L, Henrickson S, Yang L, Powell J, Wilson WH, Jaffe ES, Simon R, Klausner RD, Montserrat E, Bosch F, Greiner TC, Weisenburger DD, Sanger WG, Dave BJ, Lynch JC, Vose J, Armitage JO, Fisher RI, Miller TP, LeBlanc M, Ott G, Kvaloy S, Holte H, Delabie J, Staudt LM. The proliferation gene expression signature is a quantitative integrator of oncogenic events that predicts survival in mantle cell lymphoma. Cancer Cell 2003;3(2):185-97.
  • Rosenwald A, Wright G, Leroy K, Yu X, Gaulard P, Gascoyne RD, Chan WC, Zhao T, Haioun C, Greiner TC, Weisenburger DD, Lynch JC, Vose J, Armitage JO, Smeland EB, Kvaloy S, Holte H, Delabie J, Campo E, Montserrat E, Lopez-Guillermo A, Ott G, Muller-Hermelink HK, Connors JM, Braziel R, Grogan TM, Fisher RI, Miller TP, LeBlanc M, Chiorazzi M, Zhao H, Yang L, Powell J, Wilson WH, Jaffe ES, Simon R, Klausner RD, Staudt LM. Molecular diagnosis of primary mediastinal B cell lymphoma identifies a clinically favorable subgroup of diffuse large B cell lymphoma related to Hodgkin lymphoma. J Exp Med. 2003;198:851-62.
  • Dave SS, Wright G, Tan B, Rosenwald A, Gascoyne RD, Chan WC, Fisher RI, Braziel RM, Rimsza LM, Grogan TM, Miller TP, Leblanc M, Greiner TC, Weisenburger DD, Lynch JC, Vose J, Armitage JO, Smeland EB, Kvaloy S, Holte H, Delabie J, Connors JM, Lansdorp PM, Ouyang Q, Lister TA, Davies AJ, Norton AJ, Muller-Hermelink HK, Ott G, Campo E, Montserrat E, Wilson WH, Jaffe ES, Simon R, Yang L, Powell J, Zhao H, Goldschmidt N, Chiorazzi M, Staudt LM. Prediction of survival in follicular lymphoma based on molecular features of tumor-infiltrating immune cells. N Engl J Med 2004;351:2159-2169.
  • Dave SS, Fu K, Wright GW, Lam LT, Kluin P, Boerma EJ, Greiner TC, Weisenburger DD, Rosenwald A, Ott G, Müller-Hermelink HK, Gascoyne RD, Delabie J, Rimsza LM, Braziel RM, Grogan TM, Campo E, Jaffe ES, Dave BJ, Sanger W, Bast M, Vose JM, Armitage JO, Connors JM, Smeland EB, Kvaloy S, Holte H, Fisher RI, Miller TP, Montserrat E, Wilson WH, Bahl M, Zhao H, Yang L, Powell J, Simon R, Chan WC, Staudt LM. Molecular diagnosis of Burkitt's lymphoma. N Engl J Med. 2006;354:2431-42.


6. The senior clinical investigator in a series of investigations demonstrating the power of cutting-edge genomic analyses to understand the basic biology of lymphoid cancers.


  • Steidl C, Lee T, Shah SS, Farinha P, Han G, Nayar T, Delaney A, Jones SJ, Bast MA, Iqbal J, Rosenwald A, Rimsza LM, Campo E, Jaffe ES, Lenz GL, Connors JM, Staudt LM, Chan WC, Gascoyne RD. Tumor-associated macrophages predict long-term survival in classical Hodgkin lymphoma. N Engl J Med 2010;362. 
  • Morin RD, Johnson NA, Severson TM, Mungall AJ, An J, Goya R, Paul JE, Boyle M, Woolcock BW, Kuchenbauer F, Yap D, Humphries RK, Griffith OL, Shah S, Zhu H, Kimbara M, Shashkin P, Charlot JF, Tcherpakov M, Corbett R, Tam A, Varhol R, Smailus D, Moksa M, Zhao Y, Delaney A, Qian H, Birol I, Schein J, Moore R, Holt R, Horsman DE, Connors JM, Jones S, Aparicio S, Hirst M, Gascoyne RD, Marra MA. Somatic mutations altering EZH2 (Tyr641) in follicular and diffuse large B-cell lymphomas of germinal-center origin. Nat Genet 2010;42:181-5.