Headshot of Xiyuan Zhang

Xiyuan Zhang, Ph.D.

  • Center for Cancer Research
  • National Cancer Institute
Pediatric Oncology Branch


Xiyuan Zhang is a cancer biologist whose research program studies the role of epigenetic mechanisms of oncogenic activation during the malignant transformation of benign neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1)-associated nerve sheath tumor to malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors, using molecular, epigenetic, cellular and model system approaches. She pioneers the application of single-cell sequencing in understanding the complicated intra-tumoral heterogeneity in pediatric cancers and rare tumors.

Areas of Expertise

Cancer Biology
Malignant Transformation
Rare Cancer


Selected Key Publications

Single-cell sequencing reveals activation of core transcription factors in PRC2-deficient malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor

Xiyuan Zhang, Hannah E Lou, Vishaka Gopalan, Zhihui Liu, Hilda M Jafarah, Haiyan Lei, Paige Jones, Carly M Sayers, Marielle E Yohe, Prashant Chittiboina, Brigitte C Widemann, Carol J Thiele, Michael C Kelly, Sridhar Hannenhalli, Jack F Shern
Cell Rep. 2020.
Full-Text Article
[ Journal Article ]

Protocol for using single-cell sequencing to study the heterogeneity of NF1 nerve sheath tumors from clinical biospecimens

Xiyuan Zhang, Vishaka Gopalan, Neeraja Syed, Sridhar Hannenhalli, Jack F Shern
STAR Protoc. 2023.
Full-Text Article
[ Journal Article ]

Stem-like cells drive NF1-associated MPNST functional heterogeneity and tumor progression

Daochun Sun, Xuanhua P Xie, Xiyuan Zhang, Zilai Wang, Sameer Farouk Sait, Swathi V Iyer, Yu-Jung Chen, Rebecca Brown, Dan R Laks, Mollie E Chipman, Jack F Shern, Luis F Parada
Cell Stem Cell. 2021.
Full-Text Article
[ Journal Article ]

CASZ1 induces skeletal muscle and rhabdomyosarcoma differentiation through a feed-forward loop with MYOD and MYOG

Zhihui Liu, Xiyuan Zhang, Haiyan Lei, Norris Lam, Sakereh Carter, Oliver Yockey, Max Xu, Arnulfo Mendoza, Edjay R Hernandez, Jun S Wei, Javed Khan, Marielle E Yohe, Jack F Shern, Carol J Thiele
Nat Commun. 2020.
Full-Text Article
[ Journal Article ]

Lifetime Genistein Intake Increases the Response of Mammary Tumors to Tamoxifen in Rats

Xiyuan Zhang, Katherine L Cook, Anni Warri, Idalia M Cruz, Mariana Rosim, Jeffrey Riskin, William Helferich, Daniel Doerge, Robert Clarke, Leena Hilakivi-Clarke
Clin Cancer Res. 2017.
Full-Text Article
[ Journal Article ]