Dr. James Pingpank

Quick Summary

Dr. James Pingpank is a talented surgical oncologist at the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center in Pittsburgh, who specializes in treating peritoneal mesothelioma and increasing survival rates. He is particularly interested in regional treatments for advanced malignancies, including cancers of the abdomen, and has devoted his research to improving outcomes for patients with these conditions.

“We think that durable control of malignant peritoneal mesothelioma is possible for patients undergoing aggressive surgical therapy.”

In addition to his extensive research into mesothelioma, Dr. Pingpank is recognized for his talent and experience with cytoreductive surgery and heated chemotherapy. Both of these treatments can be highly effective for peritoneal mesothelioma patients.

Dr. Pingpank’s Location

Hillman Cancer Center

5115 Centre Ave.

Pittsburgh, PA  15232

(412) 692-2541

Dr. Pingpank’s Career Highlights

Dr. Pingpank has dedicated his career to improving patient survival rates.

Some of his career accomplishments include:

  • Specializes in regional treatment of advanced malignancies, including peritoneal mesothelioma
  • Experienced with cytoreductive and heated chemotherapy techniques
  • Researchers methods of increasing patient survival lengths and positive outcomes
  • Published nearly 100 scholarly articles and regularly shares his expertise at symposiums

Dr. Pingpank’s Background

Dr. Pingpank completed a Baccalaureate at Amherst College, before completing his medical degree at George Washington University’s School of Medicine in 1992. Dr. Pingpank’s completed fellowships in surgery at the University of Connecticut, and in surgical oncology at Philadelphia’s Fox Chase Cancer Center. He then pursued his love of research, joining the University of Pennsylvania as a Research Fellow.

Dr. Pingpank worked at the National Cancer Institute as the head of surgical metabolism. During this time, he was the principal investigator for Phase II and Phase III clinical trials that tested a new liver cancer treatments.

In 2008, Dr. Pingpank joined the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center as a surgical oncologist, where he could continue to research and treat mesothelioma.

“UPMC is a recognized leader in the area of regional cancer therapies. I am delighted to join the team at The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.”

In addition to his patient work and research, Dr. Pingpank is an associate professor of surgery at the University of Pittsburgh, where he is also assistant director of the Surgical Oncology Fellowship program.

Medical Specializations

Dr. Pingpank is a board-certified surgical oncologist who focuses on gastrointestinal conditions, with several areas of interest that focus on the regional treatment of advanced malignancies. He is particularly interested in the use of cytoreductive surgery and heated chemotherapy for patients with peritoneal mesothelioma.

“A form of regional therapy should be considered as a first line of therapy for this disease”

On the research front, Dr. Pingpank is focused on improving patient survival rates and outcomes. He recognizes that different therapies work best at different stages, and is attempting to work with the medical community to better understand and define which treatments should be used and when. He has devoted a significant portion of his career to cancer research, investigating genomic markers, cell signals, and surgical techniques.

Dr. Pingpank’s Career Accomplishments

Dr. Pingpank is a respected cancer researcher who has done extensive work on improving the survival of patients with mesothelioma. He has published close to 100 scholarly articles and frequently shares his findings with the world, helping the global community in its fight against mesothelioma and other rare cancers.

Awards & Honours

  • Technology Transfer Award – Center for Cancer Research
  • Patients’ Choice Award
  • ACS Fellow
  • Regional Top Doctor
  • Compassionate Doctor Recognition

Dr. Pingpank’s Current Work

Dr. Pingpank is currently a surgical oncologist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center; the top-ranked hospital in Pittsburgh. He is interested in treating patients with advanced malignancies and has worked extensively with peritoneal mesothelioma patients.

Current Work Update

A significant amount of Dr. Pingpank’s research is devoted to stopping the recurrence of mesothelioma. He reviews survival rates in conjunction with various treatment options, attempting to find the best treatment plans for individual patients. In this vein, he has researched surgical techniques, genomic biomarkers, and cell signal pathways, and the role these factors play in cancer growth and recurrence.


“One of the most important things moving forward is how are we going to identify the patients at risk for local recurrence and define a role for cytoreduction with additional agents for those patients?”

Dr. Pingpank is part of the mesothelioma movement that attempts to improve the diagnosis and prognosis of patients with the rare disease. He acknowledges that peritoneal mesothelioma has an entirely different presentation than breast or colon cancer, so it requires a unique, non-traditional staging system to help treat it more effectively.

Dr. Pingpank is currently affiliated with several hospitals, including UPMC’s Magee-Women’s, Mercy, Presbyterian, Passavant, and Shadyside hospitals.

Dr. Pinpank is involved in several professional organizations, including:

  • Member – American Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association
  • Fellow – American College of Surgeons
  • Member – American Society of Clinical Oncology
  • Member – American Association for Cancer Research

Notable Work by Dr. Pingpank

The medical community widely accepts that cytoreductive surgery and hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy can be effective treatments for treating malignant peritoneal mesothelioma. However, it is a highly aggressive procedure, and not all patients are good candidates. Dr. Pingpank and his team reviewed three genomic biomarkers, CDKN2A, NF2, and BAP1, which seem to have an impact on patient outcomes.

One of his studies concluded that specific genetic alterations to CDKN2A and NF2 tend to result in shorter progression-free and overall survival lengths and that these biomarkers should be considered while making treatment decisions for mesothelioma patients. This study will help oncologists and their patients make better decisions and choose the best treatment plan for their circumstance.

Dr. Pingpank’s Healing Philosophy

Dr. Pingpank takes an aggressive approach to treating peritoneal mesothelioma by combining cytoreductive surgery with heated chemotherapy. He is recognized by his patients for his outstanding quality of care, informative explanations, and excellent bedside manner. His former patients have described him as “compassionate”, “knowledgeable”, and “friendly and caring.”

As an integral member of the team at the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, Dr. Pingpank inherits the values and principles instilled by the hospital. Hillman Cancer Center believes in the treatment of each patient as a whole person. The hospital provides a wide range of support and services in addition to surgical procedures and recovery, including nutrition services, pain management, social support, and palliative care.

In addition, the hospital takes a multidisciplinary approach with each patient in which numerous medical specialists collaborate to create the best treatment plan. A mesothelioma patient’s care team is likely to include medical and surgical oncologists, a radiation oncologist, and a pathologist. Each care team is led by a care coordinator who acts as the primary point of contact for the patient, keeping the process streamlined.

To work with Dr. Pinkpank contact the Hillman Cancer Center today.

View Author and Sources
Author

Sources
  1. PubMed. “The prognostic significance of BAP1, NF2, and CDKN2A in malignant peritoneal mesothelioma.” Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26493618. Accessed on November 18th, 2017.
  2. University of Pittsburgh. “James F. Pingpank Jr., MD, FACS.” Retrieved from http://www.surgery.pitt.edu/people/james-f-pingpank-jr-md-facs. Accessed on November 18th, 2017.
  3. UPMC. “James F. Pingpank, MD.” Retrieved from http://www.upmc.com/media/experts/Pages/james-f-pingpank.aspx. Accessed on November 18th, 2017.
  4. UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. “Lung Cancer Care.” Retrieved from http://hillman.upmc.com/cancer-care/lung. Accessed on November 18th, 2017.
  5. UPMC. “Find A Doctor: James F. Pingpank, MD.” Retrieved from http://findadoc.upmc.com/PhysicianBioQuery.aspx?EPCDID=59683. Accessed on November 18th, 2017.
  6. Delcath Systems. “Delcath Cancer Trials Welcome New Principal Investigator From NCI.” Retrieved from http://www.marketwired.com/press-release/delcath-cancer-trials-welcome-new-principal-investigator-from-nci-nasdaq-dcth-894984.htm. Accessed on November 18th, 2017.
  7. Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation. “Peritoneal Mesothelioma Resource: Dr. James F. Pingpank.” Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFq_-KQcm7c. Accessed on November 18th, 2017.
  8. Pingpank JF, et al. (2016.) “The prognostic significance of BAP1, NF2, and CDKN2A in malignant peritoneal mesothelioma.” Modern Pathology. 29(1):14-24. doi: 10.1038. Accessed on November 18th, 2017.

Last modified: May 7, 2018