Dr. Anne Tsao

Dr. Anne Tsao is a leading expert in the treatment of head and neck cancers and thoracic cancers, specializing in mesothelioma.

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Dr. Anne Tsao is an accomplished oncologist, serving as the director of the mesothelioma program at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. She has led and collaborated on many clinical trials that have helped advance mesothelioma treatments and benefited numerous patients and families. Dr. Tsao’s skill and expertise goes well beyond mesothelioma, as she also researches and treats head and neck cancers, aerodigestive malignancies, and other thoracic cancers, making her a true asset in the cancer field.

Professional History

Soon after completing her fellowship, Dr. Tsao hit the ground running and joined the medical team at MD Anderson Cancer Center. She serves as an associate professor in the Department of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology, later also becoming the director of the mesothelioma program. She also earned her board certification in medical oncology through the American Board of Internal Medicine, which exemplifies her expertise. From the start of her career, she has conducted both clinical and translational laboratory research, with a strong focus on identifying new therapeutic targets and developing new treatments for aerodigestive cancers and mesothelioma.

As the director of the mesothelioma program at MD Anderson Cancer Center, Dr. Tsao works with a team of more than 30 mesothelioma experts. Thoracic surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists all work together on advancing treatment through cutting edge clinical trials and creating multidisciplinary treatment plans for each patient’s individual case.

Dr. Tsao and her team focus on preserving lung function and maintaining a good quality of life for mesothelioma patients by using specialized, less invasive surgeries and highly targeted radiation therapy. Clinical trials are also an important aspect of treatment at the cancer center, as they are often at the forefront of developing and testing the latest cancer therapies. Dr. Tsao has led or participated in many of these clinical trials, which focus on varied topics like combination therapy with novel drugs like cediranib or studies of new drug combinations with conventional surgeries for pleural mesothelioma.

Clinical Interests and Research

With expertise in the treatment of several kinds of cancer, Dr. Tsao has varied research areas she’s interested in. These interests have influenced the direction of her clinical research and clinical trials she becomes involved with.

Dr. Anne Tsao's Medical Areas of Interest
  • Lung cancer
  • Aerodigestive cancers

Her varied research in treatments for mesothelioma and other cancers have made great contributions in advancing standard treatment options and investigating the efficacy of emerging treatments. In particular, much of Dr. Tsao’s research has been focused on providing personalized medicine through understanding the molecular mechanisms of these diseases.

Dr. Tsao has extended her expertise to her peers around the world through her published research, as well as in lectures she gives nationally and internationally. She also serves as a member in many medical groups, like the SWOG Mesothelioma Steering Committee and the Scientific Board of the American Radium Society.

Selected Publications

A Randomized Phase II Trial of Adjuvant Galinpepimut-S, WT-1 Analogue Peptide Vaccine, After Multimodality Therapy for Patients with Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma. Clinical Cancer Research. December 2017; 23(24): 7483-7489. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-17-2169

Predictors of trimodality therapy and trends in therapy for malignant pleural mesothelioma. European Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery. December 2017. doi:10.1093/ejcts/ezx427

Long-term survival outcomes of cancer-directed surgery for malignant pleural mesothelioma: Propensity score matching analysis. Journal of Clinical Oncology. October 2017; 35(29): 3354-3362. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2017.73.8401

Phase I Trial of Cediranib in Combination with Cisplatin and Pemetrexed in Chemonaive Patients with Unresectable Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma (SWOG S0905). Journal of Thoracic Oncology. August 2017; 12(8):1299-1308. doi: 10.1016/j.jtho.2017.05.021


For all her contributions in research benefiting mesothelioma, lung cancer, and other cancers, Dr. Tsao has been recognized on many occasions by various medical organizations. In addition to being honored with these awards, Dr. Tsao is also a program project leader for many large grants, further highlighting her expertise and success in the field.

  • Merit Award, Young Investigator Award – American Society of Clinical Oncology
  • Young Investigator Award  – American Society of Clinical Oncology
  • Career Development Award  – American Society of Clinical Oncology
  • Achievement in Research Award – M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
  • Head and Neck SPORE Career Development Award – National Cancer Institute
  • Clinical Scientist Institutional Career Development Program Award (K12) – National Institutes of Health