Surgical Oncology

Get to Know Dr. James F. Pingpank Jr.

Dr. James F. Pingpank Jr. is a compassionate and articulate surgical oncologist for the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. In addition to advocating specific mesothelioma treatment procedures, Pingpank is committed to developing new ways of identifying patients at high risk of an early local cancer recurrence.

In addition to his position as a surgical oncologist at the Hillman Cancer Center, Pingpank is also an associate professor of surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. The medical school manages the national mesothelioma tissue bank, which collects tissue samples from around the country to advance treatment.

Through his research, Pingpank determined that regional treatment is the most effective in combating peritoneal mesothelioma without damaging the surrounding healthy tissue. He strongly advocates surgery, followed by heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy, in which hot chemotherapy drugs are delivered directly into the abdominal cavity.

Many of Pingpank’s studies aim to decrease the rate of early recurrence. He focuses on increasing progression-free survival, the amount of time after treatment before the disease spreads. He also tries to improve his patients’ overall survival or their total life span after treatment.

In the 2011 International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma, Pingpank discussed the difficulties of getting drug companies to invest in new treatments. He emphasized using smaller, cost-effective trials and demonstrating valid biological evidence of treatment results necessary to understand mesothelioma.

Specialties of Dr. James F. Pingpank Jr.

  • Peritoneal mesothelioma
  • Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy
  • Research

Dr. James F. Pingpank Jr.’s Experience and Medical Education

  • Amherst College (Baccalaureate)
  • George Washington University School of Medicine (M.D.)
  • University of Connecticut (Residency)
  • University of Pennsylvania (Fellowship)
  • Fox Chase Cancer Center (Fellowship)

Awards and Certifications

  • Technology Transfer Award, Center for Cancer Research, NCI, NIH (2005 and 2007)
  • Board certified in surgery


  • Bruce Jackson, peritoneal mesothelioma patient: “How often do you get to chat one-on-one like that with the doctor who’s going to save your life? It was amazing.”

Publications of Dr. James F. Pingpank Jr.

  • Favazza, L.A. et al. (2020, May 6). KRAS amplification in metastatic colon cancer is associated with a history of inflammatory bowel disease and may confer resistance to anti-EGFR therapy. Modern Pathology.
  • Choudry, H.A. et al. (2019, May 20). Discordant Diagnostic Terminology and Pathologic Grading of Primary Appendiceal Mucinous Neoplasms Reviewed at a High-Volume Center. Annals of Surgical Oncology.