Dr. Paul H. Sugarbaker

Dr. Paul Sugarbaker has made huge movements in the treatment and study of malignant peritoneal mesothelioma, helping patients extend their survival and explore new treatment options.

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Dr. Sugarbaker prepared for his career in medicine with a medical degree and Master’s in Basic Sciences, laying the groundwork for innovative research into new methods for diagnosing and treating terminal diseases, such as malignant mesothelioma. His professional history coupled with his clinical research has made him a well-known surgeon and mesothelioma specialist.

Professional History

Dr. Paul Sugarbaker began growing his medical expertise with a medical degree at Cornell University Medical College and a Master’s in Basic Sciences from Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Sugarbaker participated in surgical training through the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital (currently known as the Brigham and Women’s Hospital) and spent a decade as senior surgeon for the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute and Surgery Branch. His accomplishments and successes during this time led to his appointment as medical director at the Washington Cancer Institute for MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

Although Dr. Sugarbaker accomplished much before his time at the Washington Cancer Institute, many of his largest successes came during his time as a surgical oncologist in Washington, D.C. Treatment of aggressive cancers, such as mesothelioma, can be extremely difficult, leading to a variety of experimental treatments and multimodal plans. Dr. Sugarbaker is known for combining cytoreductive surgery with heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC), which has been an innovative and effective approach in addressing malignant mesothelioma. This treatment involves surgical removal of malignant tumors and application of a heated chemotherapy solution throughout the abdominal cavity. Not only has this helped numerous patients by improving survival, but it has also laid the groundwork for further research and promise for treating mesothelioma.

Dr. Sugarbaker has focused on peritoneal mesothelioma, in particular, along with similar conditions. His name can be seen on many well-recognized articles, alongside other top researchers and physicians, especially those seeking to better understand malignant peritoneal mesothelioma.

Clinical Interests and Research

Dr. Paul Sugarbaker’s interest centers upon malignancies that affect the abdomen, including gastrointestinal cancer, gynecologic malignancy and peritoneal mesothelioma. More specifically, Dr. Sugarbaker has focused his clinical studies and research on how to address malignant metastases in the abdomen, or spreading of abdominal cancers.

Dr. Paul Sugarbaker’s Medical Areas of Interest
  • Peritoneal mesothelioma
  • Gastrointestinal cancer
  • Cytoreductive surgery
  • Peritoneal metastases
  • Peritoneal surface malignancies
  • Colorectal cancer

Through his interest in peritoneal mesothelioma and similar cancers, Dr. Sugarbaker established the therapy mentioned above, combining surgical resection with chemotherapy to extend the lives of patients and help prevent further symptomatic growth of their cancer. Dr. Sugarbaker continues to explore this topic as well as other forms of mesothelioma metastasis, mesothelioma treatment options, mesothelioma classification and survival rate predictions and other related topics through recent publications.

His medical success and research has led him to be a well-known mesothelioma doctor and earned him the position as an editorial board member for famous publications, including the American College of Surgeons, Society of Surgical Oncology, European Society of Surgical Oncology and American Surgical Association. He is also a founding member of the International Society of Regional Cancer Therapy and founder of the non-profit organization Foundation for Applied Research in Gastrointestinal Oncology.

Selected Publications

A review of peritoneal mesothelioma at the Washington Cancer Institute. Surgical Oncology Clinics of North America. July 1, 2003;12(3):605-621. doi:10.1016/S1055-3207(03)00045-0.

Cytoreductive Surgery and Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy for Malignant Peritoneal Mesothelioma: Multi-Institutional Experience. Journal of Clinical Oncology. December 20, 2009;27(36). doi:10.1200/JCO.2009.23.9640.

Intra-abdominal manifestations of pleural mesothelioma. Annals of Translational Medicine. June 2017;5(11):231. doi:10.21037/atm.2016.11.44.

Is Cytoreductive Surgery with Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy Justified for Biphasic Variants of Peritoneal Mesothelioma? Outcomes from the Peritoneal Surface Oncology Group International Registry. Annals of Surgical Oncology. March 2018;25(3):67-673.

Peritoneal Metastases, A Frontier for Progress. Surgical Oncology Clinics of North America. July 2018;27(3):413-424. doi:10.1016/j.soc.2018.02.001.


Dr. Sugarbaker has been a part of hundreds of publications and textbooks due to his expertise in the medical field. He has earned many awards and recognitions for his work, some of which are listed below.

  • Distinguished Service Award – American Society of Abdominal Surgeons
  • E.T. Krementz Award for Best Research Development – 8th International Conference of Regional Cancer Treatment
  • Merium Ann Simone Distinguished Service Award – International Spirit of Life Foundation
  • Nurses’ Choice Physician Collaboration Award – Washington Hospital Center