Michael A. O'Donnell, MD

Professor of Urology

Contact Information

3251 RCP
Iowa City, IA 52242

3241 MERF
Iowa City, IA 52242


MD, Duke University School of Medicine
Fellow, Beth Israel Hospital of Boston, Evaluation Research
Resident, Harvard Medical School, Urology

Center, Program and Institute Affiliations

Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center

Research Summary

Dr. O'Donnell's basic and clinical research has a long history of focusing on bladder immunology and bladder cancer immunotherapy, particularly the anti-cancer mechanisms of bacillus Calmette-Gu�rin (BCG) and its enhancement with combination therapies. Dr. O'Donnell recently headed a national trial of bladder cancer treatment utilizing BCG plus interferon (a natural protein which induces healthy cells to combat disease) comprised of over 1,000 patients, and holds several U.S. patents for his work. While BCG has long been a standard treatment for bladder cancer, its toxicity profile can be devastating. Dr. O'Donnell's studies, both laboratory and clinical, seek to both determine the exact mechanism by which BCG targets bladder cancer tumor cells, and enhance its efficacy, either alone or in combination with other agents, while reducing its toxicity to healthy cells. Dr. O'Donnell's research efforts also include exploration of methods to detect bladder cancer at earlier stages, as well as new combination topical chemotherapy treatments for early bladder cancer. He has instituted two such methods, including a urinary FISH assay and the NMP-22 Bladder Check test in the Urology Clinic. He has pioneered several new sequential combination therapies involving adriamycin, gemcitabine, docetaxel and mitomycin for treating BCG-resistant/recurrent bladder cancers.


Velaer, K. N., Steinberg, R. L., Thomas, L. J., O'Donnell, M. A. & Nepple, K. G. (2016). Experience with Sequential Intravesical Gemcitabine and Docetaxel as Salvage Therapy for Non-Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer. Current urology reports, 17(5), 38. PMID: 26968418.

Steinberg, R. L., Thomas, L. J., Mott, S. L. & O'Donnell, M. A. (2016). Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) Treatment Failures with Non-Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer: A Data-Driven Definition for BCG Unresponsive Disease. Bladder cancer, 2(2), 215-224. PMID: 27376140.

Schrepf, A., O'Donnell, M. A., Luo, Y., Bradley, C. S., Kreder, K. J. & Lutgendorf, S. K. (2016). Inflammation and Symptom Change in Interstitial Cystitis or Bladder Pain Syndrome: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Study of Chronic Pelvic Pain Research Network Study. Urology, 90, 56-61. PMID: 26768711.

Sweeney, S. K., Luo, Y., O'Donnell, M. A. & Assouline, J. (2016). Nanotechnology and cancer: improving real-time monitoring and staging of bladder cancer with multimodal mesoporous silica nanoparticles. Cancer nanotechnology, 7, 3. PMID: 27217840.

Steinberg, R. L., Thomas, L. J. & O'Donnell, M. A. (2015). Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) Treatment Failures in Non-Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer: What Truly Constitutes Unresponsive Disease. Bladder cancer, 1(2), 105-116. PMID: 27376112.

Cui, M., Au, J. L., Wientjes, M. G., O'Donnell, M. A., Loughlin, K. R. & Lu, Z. (2015). Intravenous siRNA Silencing of Survivin Enhances Activity of Mitomycin C in Human Bladder RT4 Xenografts. The Journal of urology, 194(1), 230-7. PMID: 25681288.

Moriarty, M. A., Uhlman, M. A., Bing, M. T., O'Donnell, M. A., Brown, J. A., Tracy, C. R., Deorah, S., Nepple, K. G. & Gupta, A. (2015). Evaluating the safety of intraoperative instillation of intravesical chemotherapy at the time of nephroureterectomy. BMC urology, 15, 45. PMID: 26018765.

Kamat, A. M., Flaig, T. W., Grossman, H. B., Konety, B., Lamm, D., O'Donnell, M. A., Uchio, E., Efstathiou, J. A. & Taylor, 3rd, J. A. (2015). Expert consensus document: Consensus statement on best practice management regarding the use of intravesical immunotherapy with BCG for bladder cancer. Nature reviews. Urology, 12(4), 225-35. PMID: 25800393.

Newton, M. R., Askeland, E. J., Andresen, E. D., Chehval, V. A., Wang, X., Askeland, R. W., O'Donnell, M. A. & Luo, Y. (2014). Anti-interleukin-10R1 monoclonal antibody in combination with bacillus Calmette--Guérin is protective against bladder cancer metastasis in a murine orthotopic tumour model and demonstrates systemic specific anti-tumour immunity. Clinical and experimental immunology, 177(1), 261-8. PMID: 24593764.

Lamm, D., Brausi, M., O'Donnell, M. A. & Witjes, J. A. (2014). Interferon alfa in the treatment paradigm for non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer. Urologic oncology, 32(1), 35.e21-30. PMID: 23628309.

Lightfoot, A. J., Breyer, B. N., Rosevear, H. M., Erickson, B. A., Konety, B. R. & O'Donnell, M. A. (2014). Multi-institutional analysis of sequential intravesical gemcitabine and mitomycin C chemotherapy for non-muscle invasive bladder cancer. Urologic oncology, 32(1), 35.e15-9. PMID: 23510863.

Berneking, A. D., Rosevear, H. M., Askeland, E. J., Newton, M. R., O'Donnell, M. A. & Brown, J. A. (2013). Morbidity and mortality of octogenarians following open radical cystectomy using a standardized reporting system. The Canadian journal of urology, 20(4), 6826-31. PMID: 23930606.

Gillespie, J. A., O'Donnell, M. A. (2013). New imaging techniques for non-muscle invasive bladder cancer: ready for primetime. The Urologic clinics of North America, 40(2), 271-9. PMID: 23540784.

Bockholt, N. A., Knudson, M. J., Henning, J. R., Maymi, J. L., Weady, P., Smith, III, G. J., Eisenbraun, M. D., Fraser, J. D., O'Donnell, M. A. & Luo, Y. (2012). Anti-interleukin-10R1 monoclonal antibody enhances bacillus Calmette-Guérin induced T-helper type 1 immune responses and antitumor immunity in a mouse orthotopic model of bladder cancer. J Urol, 187, 2228-35.

Askeland, E. J., Newton, M. R., O'Donnell, M. A. & Luo, Y. (2012). Bladder Cancer Immunotherapy: BCG and Beyond. Adv Urol.

Lightfoot, A. J., Rosevear, H. M., Nepple, K. G. & O'Donnell, M. A. (2012). Role of routine transurethral biopsy and isolated upper tract cytology after intravesical treatment of high-grade non-muscle invasive bladder cancer. Int J Urol, 19, 988-93.

Rosevear, H. M., Lightfoot, A. J., Birusingh, K. K., Maymi, J. L., Nepple, K. G., O'Donnell, M. A. (2011). Factors affecting response to bacillus Calmette-Guérin plus interferon for urothelial carcinoma in situ. J Urol, 186, 817-23.

Lightfoot, A. J., Rosevear, H. M. & O'Donnell, M. A. (2011). Recognition and treatment of BCG failure in bladder cancer. ScientificWorldJournal, 11, 602-13.

Griffith, T. S., Kucaba, T. A., O'Donnell, M. A., Burns, J., Benetatos, C., McKinlay, M. A., Condon, S. & Chunduru, S. (2011). Sensitization of human bladder tumor cells to TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL)-induced apoptosis with a small molecule IAP antagonist. Apoptosis : an international journal on programmed cell death, 16(1), 13-26. PMID: 20734142.

Luo, Y., Henning, J. & O'Donnell, M. A. (2011). Th1 cytokine-secreting recombinant Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin and prospective use in immunotherapy of bladder cancer. Clin Dev Immunol.

Rosevear, H. M., Lightfoot, A. J., Nepple, K. G. & O'Donnell, M. A. (2011). Usefulness of the Spanish Urological Club for Oncological Treatment scoring model to predict nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer recurrence in patients treated with intravesical bacillus Calmette-Guérin plus interferon-a. J Urol, 185, 67-71.

Rosevear, H. M., Lightfoot, A. J., Nepple, K. G. & O'Donnell, M. A. (2010). Safety and efficacy of intravesical bacillus Calmette-Guérin plus interferon a-2b therapy for nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer in patients with prosthetic devices. The Journal of urology, 184(5), 1920-4. PMID: 20846678.

Lerner, S. P., Grossman, H. B., Messing, E. M., Kibel, A. S., Stephenson, A., Gee, J. R., O'Donnell, M. A., Reid, R. D., Kamat, A. M., Parnes, H. L. & House, M. G. (2010). BCAN Think Tank session 3: Prevention of bladder cancer. (Vols. 28). (3), pp. 338-42. Urologic oncology. PMID: 20439034.

Gontero, P., Bohle, A., Malmstrom, P. U., O'Donnell, M. A., Oderda, M., Sylvester, R. & Witjes, F. (2010). The role of bacillus Calmette-Guérin in the treatment of non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer. European urology, 57(3), 410-29. PMID: 19969411.

Nepple, K. G., Lightfoot, A. J., Rosevear, H. M., O'Donnell, M. A., Lamm, D. L. (2010). Bacillus Calmette-Guérin with or without interferon a-2b and megadose versus recommended daily allowance vitamins during induction and maintenance intravesical treatment of nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer. J Urol, 184, 1915-9.

Nepple, K. G., O'Donnell, M. A. (2009). The optimal management of T1 high-grade bladder cancer. Canadian Urological Association journal = Journal de l'Association des urologues du Canada, 3(6 Suppl 4), S188-92. PMID: 20019983.

Rosevear, H. M., Lightfoot, A. J., O'Donnell, M. A. & Griffith, T. S. (2009). The role of neutrophils and TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) in bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) immunotherapy for urothelial carcinoma of the bladder. Cancer metastasis reviews, 28(3-4), 345-53. PMID: 19967427.

Liu, W., O'Donnell, M. A., Chen, X., Han, R. & Luo, Y. (2009). Recombinant bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) expressing interferon-alpha 2B enhances human mononuclear cell cytotoxicity against bladder cancer cell lines in vitro. Cancer immunology, immunotherapy : CII, 58(10), 1647-55. PMID: 19214503.

Nepple, K. G., Aubert, H. A., Braasch, M. R. & O'Donnell, M. A. (2009). Combination of BCG and interferon intravesical immunotherapy: an update. World journal of urology, 27(3), 343-6. PMID: 19479263.

O'Donnell, M. A. (2009). Optimizing BCG therapy. Urologic oncology, 27(3), 325-8. PMID: 19414123.

Streeper, N. M., Simons, C. M., Konety, B. R., Muirhead, D. M., Williams, R. D., O'Donnell, M. A. & Joudi, F. N. (2009). The significance of lymphovascular invasion in transurethral resection of bladder tumour and cystectomy specimens on the survival of patients with urothelial bladder cancer. BJU international, 103(4), 475-9. PMID: 18990174.

Nepple, K. G., Joudi, F. N. & O'Donnell, M. A. (2009). Review of topical treatment of upper tract urothelial carcinoma. Advances in urology, 472831. PMID: 19020655.

Braasch, M. R., Böhle, A. & O'Donnell, M. A. (2008). Risk-adapted use of intravesical immunotherapy. BJU international, 102(9 Pt B), 1254-64. PMID: 19035890.

Grossman, H. B., O'Donnell, M. A., Cookson, M. S., Greenberg, R. E. & Keane, T. E. (2008). Bacillus calmette-guérin failures and beyond: contemporary management of non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer. Reviews in urology, 10(4), 281-9. PMID: 19145271.

Simons, M. P., O'Donnell, M. A. & Griffith, T. S. (2008). Role of neutrophils in BCG immunotherapy for bladder cancer. Urologic oncology, 26(4), 341-5. PMID: 18593617.

Saban, M. R., O'Donnell, M. A., Hurst, R. E., Wu, X. R., Simpson, C., Dozmorov, I., Davis, C. & Saban, R. (2008). Molecular networks discriminating mouse bladder responses to intravesical bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG), LPS, and TNF-alpha. BMC immunology, 9, 4. PMID: 18267009.

Gallagher, B. L., Joudi, F. N., Maymí, J. L. & O'Donnell, M. A. (2008). Impact of previous bacille Calmette-Guérin failure pattern on subsequent response to bacille Calmette-Guérin plus interferon intravesical therapy. Urology, 71(2), 297-301. PMID: 18308107.

Ryan, A. A., Wozniak, T. M., Shklovskaya, E., O'Donnell, M. A., de Fazekas St Groth, B., Britton, W. J. & Triccas, J. A. (2007). Improved protection against disseminated tuberculosis by Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guerin secreting murine GM-CSF is associated with expansion and activation of APCs. Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950), 179(12), 8418-24. PMID: 18056388.

Knapp, D. W., Adams, L. G., Degrand, A. M., Niles, J. D., Ramos-Vara, J. A., Weil, A. B., O'Donnell, M. A., Lucroy, M. D. & Frangioni, J. V. (2007). Sentinel lymph node mapping of invasive urinary bladder cancer in animal models using invisible light. European urology, 52(6), 1700-8. PMID: 17646044.

Chen, X., O'DONNELL, M. A. & Luo, Y. (2007). Dose-dependent synergy of Th1-stimulating cytokines on bacille Calmette-Guérin-induced interferon-gamma production by human mononuclear cells. Clinical and experimental immunology, 149(1), 178-85. PMID: 17517055.

O'Donnell, M. A. (2007). Advances in the management of superficial bladder cancer. Seminars in oncology, 34(2), 85-97. PMID: 17382792.

Lightfoot, A. J., Eno, M., Kreder, K. J., O'Donnell, M. A., Rao, S. S. & Williams, R. D. (2007). Treatment of postoperative ileus after bowel surgery with low-dose intravenous erythromycin. Urology, 69(4), 611-5. PMID: 17445634.

Luo, Y., Chen, X. & O'Donnell, M. A. (2007). Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) induces human CC- and CXC-chemokines in vitro and in vivo. Clinical and experimental immunology, 147(2), 370-8. PMID: 17223980.

O'Donnell, M. A., Boehle, A. (2006). Treatment options for BCG failures. World journal of urology, 24(5), 481-7. PMID: 17021823.

O'donnell, M. A. (2006). Can a point-of-care urine protein assay monitor bladder cancer recurrence?. (Vols. 3). (9), pp. 482-3. Nature clinical practice. Oncology. PMID: 16955086.

Joudi, F. N., Smith, B. J. & O'Donnell, M. A. (2006). Final results from a national multicenter phase II trial of combination bacillus Calmette-Guérin plus interferon alpha-2B for reducing recurrence of superficial bladder cancer. Urologic oncology, 24(4), 344-8. PMID: 16818189.

Joudi, F. N., Smith, B. J., O'Donnell, M. A. & Konety, B. R. (2006). The impact of age on the response of patients with superficial bladder cancer to intravesical immunotherapy. The Journal of urology, 175(5), 1634-9; discussion 1639-40. PMID: 16600718.

Lee, D. K., Allareddy, V., O'donnell, M. A., Williams, R. D. & Konety, B. R. (2006). Does the interval between prostate biopsy and radical prostatectomy affect the immediate postoperative outcome?. BJU international, 97(1), 48-50. PMID: 16336327.

Joudi, F. N., Crane, C. N. & O'Donnell, M. A. (2006). Minimally invasive management of upper tract urothelial carcinoma. Current urology reports, 7(1), 23-30. PMID: 16480665.

O'Donnell, M. A. (2005). Practical applications of intravesical chemotherapy and immunotherapy in high-risk patients with superficial bladder cancer. The Urologic clinics of North America, 32(2), 121-31. PMID: 15862610.

Yamada, H., Luo, Y., Matsumoto, T. & O'Donnell, M. A. (2005). A novel expression of macrophage derived chemokine in human bladder cancer. The Journal of urology, 173(3), 990-5. PMID: 15711363.

Ludwig, A. T., Inampudi, L., O'Donnell, M. A., Kreder, K. J., Williams, R. D. & Konety, B. R. (2005). Two-surgeon versus single-surgeon radical cystectomy and urinary diversion: impact on patient outcomes and costs. Urology, 65(3), 488-92. PMID: 15780361.

van der Heijden, A. G., Jansen, C. F., Verhaegh, G., O'donnell, M. A., Schalken, J. A. & Witjes, J. A. (2004). The effect of hyperthermia on mitomycin-C induced cytotoxicity in four human bladder cancer cell lines. European urology, 46(5), 670-4. PMID: 15474281.

O'Donnell, M. A., Lilli, K. & Leopold, C. (2004). Interim results from a national multicenter phase II trial of combination bacillus Calmette-Guerin plus interferon alfa-2b for superficial bladder cancer. The Journal of urology, 172(3), 888-93. PMID: 15310991.

Joudi, F. N., O'Donnell, M. A. (2004). Second-line intravesical therapy versus cystectomy for bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) failures. Current opinion in urology, 14(5), 271-5. PMID: 15300147.

Luo, Y., Yamada, H., Chen, X., Ryan, A. A., Evanoff, D. P., Triccas, J. A. & O'Donnell, M. A. (2004). Recombinant Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) expressing mouse IL-18 augments Th1 immunity and macrophage cytotoxicity. Clinical and experimental immunology, 137(1), 24-34. PMID: 15196240.

Ludwig, A. T., Moore, J. M., Luo, Y., Chen, X., Saltsgaver, N. A., O'Donnell, M. A. & Griffith, T. S. (2004). Tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand: a novel mechanism for Bacillus Calmette-Guérin-induced antitumor activity. Cancer research, 64(10), 3386-90. PMID: 15150089.

Arnold, J., de Boer, E. C., O'Donnell, M. A., Böhle, A. & Brandau, S. (2004). Immunotherapy of experimental bladder cancer with recombinant BCG expressing interferon-gamma. Journal of immunotherapy (Hagerstown, Md. : 1997), 27(2), 116-23. PMID: 14770083.

O'Donnell, M. A., Luo, Y., Hunter, S. E., Chen, X., Hayes, L. L. & Clinton, S. K. (2004). Interleukin-12 immunotherapy of murine transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder: dose dependent tumor eradication and generation of protective immunity. The Journal of urology, 171(3), 1330-5. PMID: 14767343.