The VICC.ORG Investigator Directory

Joe B. (Bill) Putnam, Jr., M.D., F.A.C.S.

Ingram Professor of Cancer Research, Surgery
Professor of Thoracic Surgery, Biomedical Informatics
Program Director, Resident Education in Thoracic Surgery
VICC Member
Thoracic Surgeon

Patient Contact Information:

The Vanderbilt Clinic
1301 Medical Center Dr., Suite 1710
Nashville, TN 37232-5734
Fax: 615-322-3079

Healthcare Provider Contact Information:

Vanderbit Medical Center
609 Oxford House, 1313 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37232-4682
Fax: 615-322-3079


Dr. Putnam has extensive experience in the surgical management of a wide spectrum of thoracic diseases including lung cancer, esophageal cancer, pulmonary metastases, benign and malignant pleural diseases, and mediastinal and chest wall tumors. He has expertise in resection of complex thoracic tumors including advanced cancers, the multi-disciplinary management of these thoracic neoplasms, and reoperative thoracic surgery. His research has focused on improving outcomes in thoracic surgery, and evaluating novel therapies for thoracic diseases.

Dr. Putnam was born in Franklin, North Carolina. In 1975, he attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he received his A.B. with honors in Chemistry and Zoology; remaining at the University of North Carolina, Dr. Putnam received his M.D., in 1979. Following that he completed his surgical internship and year as the Junior Assistant Resident in Surgery, at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.

Dr. Putnam spent three years in a Medical Staff Fellowship with the Surgery Branch at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. In 1986 he completed his General Surgery residency at The University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in Rochester, New York, as a Senior Assistant Resident and Chief Resident in Surgery.

Dr. Putnam received additional specialty training in Thoracic Surgery at The University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) from 1986 to 1988. He joined the staff of The Department of Thoracic & Cardiovascular Surgery at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in 1988 as an Assistant Surgeon and Assistant Professor of Surgery. In 1994 he was promoted to the position of Associate Surgeon and Associate Professor of Surgery, and in 1995, he assumed the duties as Deputy Chairman of the department.

Dr. Putnam was recently been appointed Chair to the newly created Department of Thoracic Surgery, and Program Director for the residency education program in Thoracic Surgery. He has a secondary appointment as Professor within the Department of Biomedical Informatics. Dr. Putnam joins the Vanderbilt faculty from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center where he most recently was Professor of Surgery, and Deputy Chair, Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery. During Operation Desert Storm (1990-1991) he assumed Department Head responsibilities in the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Naval Hospital San Diego. Dr. Putnam currently holds the rank of Captain, Medical Corps, United States Naval Reserves.

Dr. Putnam is board certified in Surgery and Thoracic Surgery. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, a Fellow of the American College of Chest Physicians, and a member of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery, and The Society of Thoracic Surgeons. He has been instrumental in introducing the Video-assisted Thoracoscopy (VATS) techniques into surgery at M. D. Anderson through hands-on training courses.

He has also instructed surgeons in several foreign countries on the use of VATS to enhance their surgery efforts. Dr. Putnam has served on various UTMDACC committees, and is currently an active participant on 12 committees. In addition, he is a member of 19 national, international, and state societies and serves on six local, state, national or international committees.


  • Albert, JM, Gonzalez, A, Massion, PP, Chen, H, Olson, SJ, Shyr, Y, Diaz, R, Lambright, ES, Sandler, A, Carbone, DP, Putnam, JB, Johnson, DH, Lu, B Cytoplasmic clusterin expression is associated with longer survival in patients with resected non small cell lung cancer. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev, 16(9), 1845-51, 2007.
  • Putnam, JB Invited commentary. Ann Thorac Surg, 83(2), 424, 2007.
  • Antevil, JL, Putnam, JB Talc pleurodesis for malignant effusions is preferred over the pleurx catheter (pro position). Ann Surg Oncol, 14(10), 2698-9, 2007.
  • Karamichalis, JM, Putnam, JB, Lambright, ES Cardiovascular complications after lung surgery. Thorac Surg Clin, 16(3), 253-60, 2006.
  • Putnam, JB Invited commentary. Ann Thorac Surg, 81(1), 285, 2006.
  • Sasaki R, Komaki R, Macapinlac H, Erasmus J, Allen P, Forster K, Putnam, JB Jr., Herbst RS, Moran CA, Podoloff DA, Roth JA, Cox JD "[18F] fluorodeoxyflucose uptake by positron emission tomography predicts outcome of non-small-cell lung cancer." J Clin Oncol, Feb 20(236:), 1136-43, 2005.
  • Shaw AD, Vaporciyan AA, Wu X, King TM, Spitz MR, Putnam, JB Jr., Dickey BF "Inflammatory gene polymorphisms influence risk of postoperative morbidity after lung resection.." Ann Thor Surg, 79(5): (2005 May), 1704-10, 2005.
  • Putnam, JB Is resection necessary for esophageal carcinoma. Semin Oncol, 32(6 Suppl 9), S21-4, 2005.
  • Gaspar, LE, Gay EG, Crawford J, Putnam, JB Jr., Herbst RS, Bonner JA "Limited-Stage Small-Cell Lung Cancer (Stages I-III): Observations from the National Cancer Data Base.." Clin Lung Cancer, 6(6)(May), 355-60, 2005.
  • Kim ES, Putnam, JB Jr., Jr., Komaki R, Walsh GL, Ro JY, Shin HJ, Truong M, Moon H, Swisher SG, Fossella FV, Khuri FR, Hong WK, Shin DM "Phase II study of a multidisciplinary approach with induction chemotherapy, followed by surgical resection, radiation therapy and consolidation chemotherapy for unresectable malignant thymomas: final report." Lung Cancer, 44(3)(June), 369-79, 2005.
  • Rice DC, Correa AM, Vaporciyan AA, Sodhi N, Smythe RW, Swisher SG, Walsh GL, Putnam, JB Jr., Komaki R, Ajani JA, Roth JA "Preoperative chemoradiotherapy prior to esophagectomy in elderly patients is not associated with increased morbidity." Ann Thor Surg, 79(2)(Feb), 391-7, 2005.
  • Swisher SG, Eramus J, Maish M, Correa AM, Macapinlac H, Ajani JA, Cox JD, Komaki RR, Hong D, Lee HK, Putnam, JB Jr., Rice DC, Smythe WR, Thai L, Vaporciyan AA, Walsh GL, Wu TT, Roth JA ". 2-Fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose positron emission tomography imaging is predictive of pathologic response and survival after preoperative chemoradiation in patients with esophageal carcinoma." Cancer, 101 (8)(Oct 15), 1776-85, 2004.
  • Agarwal B, Swisher S, Ajani J, Kelly K, Fanning C, Komaki RR, Putnam, JB Jr., Abu-Hamda E, Molke KL, Walsh GL, Correa AM, Ho L, Liao Z, Lynch PM, Rice DC, Smythe WR, Stevens CW, Vaporciyan AA, Yao J, Roth JA "Endoscopic ultrasound after preoperative chemoradiation can help identify patients who benefit maximally after surgical esophageal resection." AM J Gastroenterol, 99(7):(Jul;), 1258-66, 2004.
  • Liao Z, Zhang Z, Jin J, Ajani JA, Swisher SG, Steven SW, Ho L, Smythe R, Vaporciyan AA, Putnam, JB Jr., Walsh GL, Roth JA, Yao JC, Allen PK, Cox JD, Komaki R "Esophagectomy after concurrent chemoradiotherapy improves locoregional control in clinical stage II or III esophageal cancer patients." Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys, 60(5)(Dec 1), 1484-93, 2004.
  • Jin J, Liao Z, Zhang Z, Ajani J, Swisher S, Chang JY, Jeter M, Guerrero T, Stevens CW, Vaporciyan A, Putnam, JB Jr., Walsh G, Smythe R, Roth J, Yao J, Allen P, Cox JD, Komaki R "Induction chemotherapy improved outcomes of patients with respectable esophageal cancer who received chemoradiotherapy followed by surgery." Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phy, 60(2)(Oct 1), 427-36, 2004.
  • Gassert HA, Casale AS, Creswell LL, Ferguson TB Jr., Fullerton DA, Kernstine KH, McMullan DM, Ring WS, Putnam, JB Jr. (Society of Thoracic Surgeons Workforce on Clinical Trials) "Mentoring clinical trials in thoracic and cardiovascular surgery: a new role for the Society of Thoracic Surgeons." Ann Thorac Surg, 77(5)(May), 1874-5, 2004.
  • Ajani JA, Walsh G, Komaki R, Morris J, Swisher SG, Putnam, JB Jr., Lynch PM, Wu TT, Smythe WR, Vaporciyan A, Faust J, Cohen DS, Nivers R, Roth JA "Preoperative induction of CPT-11 and cisplatin chemotherapy followed by chemoradiotherapy in patients with locoregional carcinoma of the esophagus or gastroesophageal junction." Cancer, 100 (11)(Jun 1), 2347-54, 2004.
  • Onn A, Correa Am, Gilcrease M, Isobe T, Massarelli E, Bucanna CD, O‚ÄôReilly MS, Hong WK, Fidler IJ, Putnam, JB Jr., Herbst RS "Synchronous overexpression of epidermal growth factor receptor and HER@-neu protein is a predictor of poor outcome in patients with state I non-small cell lung cancer." Clin Cancer Res, 10 (1 Pt 1)(Jan 1), 136-43, 2004.


Degree-Granting Education

  • The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Doctor of Medicine, 1975-1979
  • The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, AB with Honors in Chemistry,1971-75

Postgraduate Training

  • Resident in Thoracic Surgery, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 1986-1988
  • Chief Resident in Surgery, The University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, New York, 1985-1986
  • Senior Assistant Resident in Surgery, The University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, New York, 1984-1985
  • Medical Staff Fellow, Surgery Branch, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, 1981-1984
  • Junior Assistant Resident in Surgery, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD 1980-1981
  • Surgical Internship, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland, 1979-1980

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