Thoracic/Head and Neck Cancer Research Program

Pierre Massion, M.D.

Pierre Massion, M.D.


The Thoracic Program at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center is a wide-ranging program designed to perform cutting-edge lung cancer research and provide exceptional services to patients with lung cancer and other diseases of the chest. Led by program director Pierre P. Massion, M.D., professor of Medicine and Cancer Biology, the program is segmented into three arms.

The first arm features a Thoracic Center led by Joseph B. (Bill) Putnam, M.D., and Otis Rickman, D.O. Thoracic Center clinicians use innovative technologies for noninvasive diagnosis as well as minimally invasive thoracic surgeries. The Thoracic Center features a strong emphasis on the prevention of lung cancer, with an integrated smoking cessation program, and a new early detection clinic to screen and distinguish benign lung nodules from early stage lung cancer, when there is the best chance for a cure. They also have expanded personalized care for patients who are dealing with more advanced disease, including intensive palliative care for patients.

The second arm is a Thoracic Educational Program led by Leora Horn, M.D., Eric Grogan, M.D., and Rickman, D.O., which is designed to provide academic training for students, fellows and clinicians in preventive, diagnostic and continuing care, with special emphasis on continuing medical education for physicians.

The third arm is the Thoracic Research Program, led by William Pao, M.D., Ph.D., and Massion, M.D., which will be integrated within the lung cancer center and continue to develop investigator-initiated studies including clinical trials geared toward prevention, early diagnosis, personalized medicine and health services research.

About the Program Leader

Dr. Pierre P. Massion is Ingram Professor of Cancer Research. He is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Allergy, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and Professor of Cancer Biology at Vanderbilt Medical Center. Dr. Massion has worked in the field of lung cancer biology, early detection and therapeutics for 16 years. He is the director of the Thoracic Program at the Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center and thereby overseeing and fostering a rich environment to translate science from the program to trials in the cooperative groups. He has over 80 publications in the areas of lung cancer development, role of oncogenes in the progression of lung tumor cells and innovative strategies towards the development of molecular biomarkers for early detection of lung cancer and intermediate endpoint biomarkers of response to chemoprevention. He served as Chief of the Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine section at the Nashville VA Medical Center between 2007-2012. He is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in Internal Medicine and in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. He is the principal investigator of the Vanderbilt SPORE in lung cancer and of the Vanderbilt Clinical Validation Center sponsored by the EDRN to validate candidate biomarkers of lung cancer. He is also co-PI of two DoD grants, one of which offers lung cancer screening across 12 VA and military hospitals to validate candidate biomarkers of risk and of diagnosis for lung cancer. Dr. Massion has mentored over 19 postdoctoral fellows, 11 graduate students and 20 undergraduate students. He is committed to pursuing innovative strategies to deepen the understanding of lung cancer development and progression. His laboratory applies novel genomic and proteomic technologies to biological specimens to address questions related to the identification and validation of molecular determinants of disease diagnosis, progression, prognosis, and intermediate endpoint biomarkers of response to chemopreventive strategies. He is the PI of 6 active clinical studies - He is the Chair of the Lung Cancer Cooperative group in the EDRN and the Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the largest non-profit lung cancer foundation, LUNGevity. He is a contributing member to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network related Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Guidelines committee.

Program Members

  • Aldrich, Melinda, Ph.D., M.P.H.
    Assistant Professor of Thoracic Surgery
  • Blackwell, Timothy Scott, M.D.
    Ralph and Lulu Owen Professor of Medicine (Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care); Professor of Cancer Biology; Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology; Director, Division of Allergy, Pulmonary and Critical Care; Pulmonologist
  • Cmelak, Anthony J., M.D.
    Professor of Radiation Oncology; Senior Medical Director, Department of Radiation Oncology; Senior Medical Director, Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center at Franklin; Radiation Oncologist
  • Gilbert, Jill, M.D.
    Associate Professor of Medicine (Hematology/Oncology); Director, Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Program; Medical Oncologist
  • Grogan, Eric L., M.D., M.P.H.
    Assistant Professor of Thoracic Surgery; Investigator, Institute for Medicine and Public Health; Thoracic Surgeon
  • Hande, Kenneth R., M.D.
    Professor of Medicine (Hematology/Oncology); Professor of Medicine Pharmacology; Medical Oncologist
  • Horn, Leora, M.D., M.Sc.
    Assistant Professor of Medicine (Hematology/Oncology); Assistant Director, Educator Development Program; Clinical Director, Thoracic Oncology Program; Medical Oncologist
  • Keedy, Vicki L., M.D., MSCI
    Assistant Professor of Medicine (Hematology/Oncology); Clinical Director, Sarcoma Program; Assistant Medical Director, Clinical Trials Shared Resource; Medical Oncologist
  • Lambright, Eric S., M.D.
    Assistant Professor of Thoracic Surgery; Surgical Director, Lung Transplant; Chief of Thoracic Surgery, VA Hospital, Nashville, TN; Thoracic Surgeon
  • Lovly, Christine M., M.D., Ph.D.
    Assistant Professor of Medicine (Hematology/Oncology); Assistant Professor of Cancer Biology; Medical Oncologist
  • Loyd, James E., M.D.
    Rudy W. Jacobson Professor of Medicine (Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care); Director, Familial Primary Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension Registry; Director, Familial Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Registry ; Researcher
  • Massion, Pierre, M.D.
    Ingram Professor of Cancer Research; Professor of Medicine (Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care); Professor of Cancer Biology; Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Doctor
  • Murphy, Barbara A., M.D.
    Professor of Medicine (Hematology/Oncology); Director, Head & Neck Oncology; Program Director, Pain & Symptom Management Program; Medical Oncologist
  • Nesbitt, Jonathan C., M.D.
    Associate Professor of Thoracic Surgery; Vice Chair for Clinical Affairs, Department of Thoracic Surgery; Thoracic Surgical Oncologist
  • Netterville, James L., M.D.
    Mark C. Smith Professor of Head and Neck Surgery, Professor of Otolaryngology; Director, Head & Neck Oncologic Surgery; Associate Director, Bill Wilkerson Center for; Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences ; Head and Neck Surgical Oncologist
  • Newman, John H., M.D.
    Elsa S. Hanigan Professor of Pulmonary Medicine; Professor of Medicine (Allergy, Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine); Director, Pulmonary & Critical Care Fellowship Program ; Researcher
  • Oates, John A., M.D.
    Thomas F Frist, Senior Professor of Medicine (Clinical Pharmacology); Professor of Pharmacology; Chair Emeritus of the Department of Medicine; Researcher
  • Pao, William, M.D., Ph.D.
    Cornelius Abernathy Craig Professor of Medical & Surgical Oncology; Professor and Director of Hematology/Oncology ; Professor of Cancer Biology and Pathology/Microbiology/Immunology; Director, Personalized Cancer Medicine; Medical Oncologist
  • Pedchenko, Tetyana V., Ph.D.
    Research Instructor of Medicine (Allergy, Pulmonary & Critical Care); Researcher
  • Putnam, Joe B. (Bill), 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; Thoracic Surgeon
  • Rickman, Otis B., D.O.
    Assistant Professor of Medicine, Thoracic Surgery; Interventional Pulmonologist
  • Roden, Dan M., M.D.
    William Stokes Professor of Experimental Therapeutics ; Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology; Assistant Vice-Chancellor for Personalized Medicine; Director, Oates Institute for Experimental Therapeutics ; Researcher
  • Slebos, Robbert, Ph.D., M.H.S.
    Research Assistant Professor of Cancer Biology, Otolaryngology; Researcher
  • Solorzano, Carmen C., M.D., F.A.C.S.
    Professor of Surgery; Director, Vanderbilt Endocrine Surgery Center; Chief of General Surgery, VA Tennessee Valley Health Care System, Nashville Campus; Surgical Oncologist
  • Walker, Ronald C. , M.D.
    Professor of Clinical Radiology & Radiological Sciences
  • Worrell, John A., M.D.
    Professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences; Researcher

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