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Dr. David H. Harpole Jr.

Dr. David H. Harpole Jr.

Thoracic Surgeon

Dr. David Harpole Jr. is a leading thoracic surgeon at Duke Cancer Center. His clinical interests include mesothelioma, lung cancer, thoracic oncology and general thoracic surgery.

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About David H. Harpole Jr.

  • Pleural and Lung Cancer icon

    Pleural and Lung Cancer

  • Research Excellence icon

    Excellence in Research

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    Team Leader

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    20+ Years of Experience

Get to Know Dr. David Harpole Jr.

Dr. David Harpole Jr. serves as a resident research director, professor of surgery and associate professor of pathology, and is a key component to the comprehensive care Duke Cancer Center offers patients with mesothelioma.

Harpole first came to Duke for a general surgery internship after his graduation from the University of Virginia School of Medicine. He stayed for a fellowship in thoracic surgical research. He then spent three years in Boston as an instructor at Harvard Medical School and as an associate in thoracic surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he conducted research with the late mesothelioma expert Dr. David Sugarbaker.

Since coming to Duke in 1996, Harpole has focused on the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer and esophageal cancer, as well as the creation of databases for the Duke thoracic oncology program.

In 2011, U.S. News and World Report recognized him as among the top 10% of U.S. doctors specializing in cardiovascular and thoracic surgery.

Harpole’s contribution to mesothelioma and lung cancer research includes evaluation of treatment procedures, experimentation with biomarkers and management of the staging process. He has worked alongside experts in the field to publish studies that assist in understanding these cancers.

For example, Harpole and several colleagues conducted a study of imaging techniques for chest cavity abnormalities in 2002. They proposed that positron emission tomography (PET) scans fused with computed tomography (CT) scans could better recognize and locate abnormalities. The results of their study confirmed this hypothesis, providing a way for better staging of diseases, including lung cancer and mesothelioma.

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Specialties of Dr. David Harpole Jr.

  • Pleural and lung cancer

  • Research

  • Pathology

Dr. David Harpole Jr.’s Experience and Medical Education

  • University of Virginia School of Medicine (Medical school)

  • Duke University Medical Center (Residency)

  • Duke University Medical Center, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School (Fellowships)

Dr. David Harpole Jr.’s Awards and Certifications

  • Director’s Distinguished Service Award, National Institutes of Health, 2017

  • Top Doctor, U.S. News and World Report, 2011

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Publications of Dr. David Harpole Jr.

  • Rhodin, K.E. et al. (2020). The Effect of Timing of Adjuvant Therapy on Survival After Esophagectomy. Annals of Thoracic Surgery.

  • Bueno, R. et al. (2020). Multi-Institutional Prospective Validation of Prognostic mRNA Signatures in Early Stage Squamous Lung Cancer (Alliance). Journal of Thoracic Oncology.

  • Nobuhara, C.K. et al. (2020). A protocol to reduce self-reported pain scores and adverse events following lumbar punctures in older adults. Journal of Neurology.

Disclaimer: Dr. David H. Harpole Jr. has no professional affiliation with

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Senior Content Writer

Tim Povtak is an award-winning writer with more than 30 years of reporting national and international news. His specialty is interviewing top mesothelioma specialists and researchers, reporting the latest news at mesothelioma cancer centers and talking with survivors and caregivers.

Walter Pacheco, Managing Editor at
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3 Cited Article Sources

The sources on all content featured in The Mesothelioma Center at include medical and scientific studies, peer-reviewed studies and other research documents from reputable organizations.

  1. Duke Health. (2020). David H. Harpole Jr., MD.
    Retrieved from:
  2. Duke Surgery. (2020). David H. Harpole Jr., MD.
    Retrieved from:
  3. D’Amico, T.A. et al. (2002 July). Impact of computed tomography-positron emission tomography fusion in staging patients with thoracic malignancies. Annuls of Thoracic Surgery.
    Retrieved from:

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Last Modified October 15, 2020

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