A photo of Maureen O'Brien.

Maureen M. O'Brien, MD, MS

  • Director, Leukemia/Lymphoma Program
  • Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics
My care philosophy ensures my patients and their families feel their specific needs, goals, hopes and fears are thoroughly addressed. I want them to understand I am here to support them on this difficult journey.



As a pediatric oncologist, I specialize in the care and treatment of children, adolescents and young adults with leukemia and lymphoma.

I knew from an early age that I wanted to be a doctor. I loved biology and chemistry in school. Medicine offered the opportunity to combine my desire to make new discoveries with my goal to help patients suffering from serious conditions.

Oncology drew my interest because research is closely intertwined with patient care. There is a constant drive to find and bring new treatments to patients as quickly as possible. I became a pediatric oncologist because I get to care for patients with complex medical problems over a prolonged period. As a result, I get to know the patient and their family extremely well. We build long-term and long-lasting relationships.

I work to provide cutting edge clinical care that brings my expertise in treating newly diagnosed and relapsed leukemia to each patient and family. I want my patients and families to know they have access to the latest treatment advances, including clinical trial options at Cincinnati Children's and elsewhere.

My care philosophy ensures my patients and their families feel their specific needs, goals, hopes and fears are thoroughly addressed. I want them to understand I am here to support them on this difficult journey.

The Cincinnati Children’s leukemia/lymphoma program includes experts in many different diagnoses and areas of research. We work as a team to find the best treatment plan for each patient. This means patients get access to the most up-to-date treatments and trials. We provide seamless integration of inpatient and outpatient care. Our holistic approach to patient care includes chemotherapy treatments, and supportive care managing side effects, nutrition and the psychological challenges faced by cancer patients and their families.

My research focuses on the development of new treatments for high-risk and relapsed leukemias. I lead multiple clinical trials for new leukemia treatments including immune-based therapies. Improving treatment for newly diagnosed patients and preventing relapses are my long-term goals.

I’m honored to be the recipient of several awards, including:

  • 2018, 2019, 2020 Top Doctor, Cincinnati Magazine
  • 2019 Cancer and Blood Diseases Institute Excellence in Teaching Award, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital
  • 2015 Cancer Family Care Unsung Hero Award

In my free time, I enjoy the outdoors and am happiest when I am hiking, kayaking or cycling. I also enjoy traveling to new places and exploring.

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Phase II Trial of Inotuzumab Ozogamicin in Children and Adolescents With Relapsed or Refractory B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia: Children's Oncology Group Protocol AALL1621. O'Brien, MM; Ji, L; Shah, NN; Rheingold, SR; Bhojwani, D; Yuan, CM; Xu, X; Yi, JS; Harris, AC; Brown, PA; et al. (2022) 40:956-967.

High-dose AraC is essential for the treatment of ML-DS independent of postinduction MRD: results of the COG AAML1531 trial. Hitzler, J; Alonzo, T; Gerbing, R; Beckman, A; Hirsch, B; Raimondi, S; Chisholm, K; Viola, S; Brodersen, L; Loken, M; et al. Blood. 2021; 138:2337-2346.

Treatment of posttransplant lymphoproliferative disorder with poor prognostic features in children and young adults: Short-course EPOCH regimens are safe and effective. Rubinstein, JD; Shah, R; Breese, EH; Burns, KC; Mangino, JL; Norris, RE; Lee, L; Mizukawa, B; O'Brien, MM; Phillips, CL; et al. Pediatric Blood and Cancer. 2021; 68.

Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cell Therapy in Patients with Multiply Relapsed or Refractory Extramedullary Leukemia. Rubinstein, JD; Krupski, C; Nelson, AS; O'Brien, MM; Davies, SM; Phillips, CL. Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation. 2020; 26:e280-e285.

How the COG is Approaching the High-Risk Patient with ALL: Incorporation of Immunotherapy into Frontline Treatment. Gupta, S; Maude, SL; O'Brien, MM; Rau, RE; McNeer, JL. Clinical Lymphoma, Myeloma and Leukemia. 2020; 20 Suppl 1:S8-S11.

Reducing acute kidney injury in pediatric oncology patients: An improvement project targeting nephrotoxic medications. Young, J; Dahale, D; Demmel, K; O'Brien, M; Geller, J; Courter, J; Haslam, DB; Danziger-Isakov, L; Goldstein, SL. Pediatric Blood and Cancer. 2020; 67.

Methylation profiling of hypomethylating agent response and treatment failure in pediatric and young adult MDS/AML. Jones, LM; O'Brien, MM; Breese, EH; Absalon, M; Burns, KC; Grimley, M; Mizukawa, B; Lee, LH; Perentesis, JP; Phillips, CL. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2020; 38:e22502-e22502.

Evaluation of CD22 modulation as a mechanism of resistance to inotuzumab ozogamicin (InO): Results from central CD22 testing on the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) phase II trial of INO in children and young adults with CD22+ B-acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL). Shah, NN; O'Brien, MM; Yuan, C; Ji, L; Xu, X; Rheingold, SR; Bhojwani, D; Yi, J; Harris, A; Brown, PA; et al. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2020; 38:10519-10519.

Experience with ponatinib in paediatric patients with leukaemia. Rossoff, J; Huynh, V; Rau, RE; Macy, ME; Sulis, ML; Schultz, KR; Burke, MJ; Athale, U; O'Brien, MM; Jr, GJ J; et al. British Journal of Haematology. 2020; 189:363-368.

Bortezomib reinduction chemotherapy in high-risk ALL in first relapse: a report from the Children's Oncology Group. Horton, TM; Whitlock, JA; Lu, X; O'Brien, MM; Borowitz, MJ; Devidas, M; Raetz, EA; Brown, PA; Carroll, WL; Hunger, SP. British Journal of Haematology. 2019; 186:274-285.

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