Dr. Rodney Landreneau, Thoracic Surgeon& Expert Contributor for Asbestos.com

Rodney Landreneau M.D.

Thoracic Surgeon

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About Dr. Landreneau


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Dr. Landreneau is a thoracic surgeon who specializes in a variety of cancers, including pleural mesothelioma and lung cancer. In 2015, he opened his practice, Landreneau Thoracic Surgical Associates, shortly after leaving Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, where he served as director of the Esophageal and Lung Institute.

Before arriving at Allegheny, he worked at the Ochsner Cancer Institute in New Orleans, where he served as director and chief of general thoracic surgery. He also served as vice chairman of the facility’s Department of Surgery for Cancer Services.

Landreneau is committed to advancing our understanding of surgery’s role in cancer management. He is a leading clinical investigator for the American College of Surgeons Oncology Group and a member of the Alliance Cancer Cooperative Group.

Pittsburgh Magazine included Landreneau on its list of 2011 top doctors. He has earned numerous other distinctions throughout his career, including General Thoracic Surgery Faculty of the Year Award (The Cardiothoracic Residents, 2006 and 2007), the Thoracic Surgical Teaching Award (2007) and the Health Care Hero Award (Pittsburgh Business Times, 2000).

Prior to joining Ochsner in 2013, Landreneau was director of the Lung Cancer Program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). He spent more than two decades at UPMC performing minimally-invasive and video-assisted surgery for patients with mesothelioma, lung cancer and other conditions of the chest.

Making Milestones in Louisiana

Shortly after returning to his home state of Louisiana, Landreneau performed an innovative mesothelioma therapy at Ochsner – the first of its kind in the state. The treatment, called surgical debulking with hyperthermic chemotherapy, involves removing all visible signs of cancer before introducing heated, cancer-killing drugs to the chest cavity.

Landreneau completed the procedure many times during his 25-year stint at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. By bringing this treatment option to Ochsner, he can offer a well-needed novel treatment to an underserved group of patients.

“This therapy provides hope for the many [mesothelioma] patients of our region with this potentially devastating disease,” he says.

Landreneau earned his bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and went on to study medicine at Louisiana State University Medical School. He graduated from medical school with honors and was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society. Landreneau completed two residencies, one in general surgery at the University of Texas-Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and another in thoracic surgery at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

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In addition to treating mesothelioma and lung cancer, Landreneau specializes in mediastinal conditions like myasthenia gravis and mediastinal cancer, as well as cancerous and benign diseases of the esophagus. He is certified to perform several advanced therapies, including Nd-YAG laser surgery, fluoroscopic radiation management, photodynamic therapy and Cyberknife robotic radiosurgery.

Landreneau has written more than 350 articles for peer reviewed clinical journals and dozens of book chapters and abstracts. He has professional memberships to several medical organizations, including the American Surgical Association, the Society of Surgical Oncology, the American Association for Thoracic Surgery, the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons, the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American College of Surgeons.

Interview with Dr. Landreneau

Thoracic surgeon Dr. Rodney Landreneau in 2015 opened his practice, Landreneau Thoracic Surgical Associates, at ACMH Hospital in Pennsylvania. He had served at Allegheny General hospital after leaving his home state of Louisiana, where he worked at the Ochsner Cancer Institute. Landreneau held several administrative and clinical roles as the director of the cancer institute and the vice-chairman of the department of surgery.

Shortly after his arrival at Ochsner in 2013, Landreneau performed the first surgical debulking/hyperthermic chemoperfusion procedure on a pleural mesothelioma patient in the state of Louisiana. Although the procedure is done by specialists in only a few cancer centers around the country, Landreneau had performed it many times before at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Center, where he worked for more than 20 years.

“There has been a void of mesothelioma specialization in this area of the country, a large underserved population for too long,” Landreneau said after his first month at Ochsner. “I see this (move) as a great opportunity to help a lot of people from my home area. I’m glad to be back.”

His skill as a surgeon and his innovative approach has brought hope to mesothelioma patients throughout the Gulf South states, where there has been little specialized care in the past for this incurable cancer. While at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Center in Pittsburgh, he often saw patients who traveled from Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana for surgery, but more often he heard about patients who were unable, or unwilling, to make the trip with mesothelioma.

The procedure he brought to Ochsner should lead to improved removal of visible tumors in the chest cavity, along with the heated chemotherapy bath that that cleans up any remaining microscopic tumor cells. The heated chemotherapy bath has been used more often for peritoneal mesothelioma, but Landreneau became one of the few who uses it for pleural mesothelioma.

Landreneau previously served as director of the Lung Cancer Program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. At the UPMC, his interests revolved around mesothelioma, esophageal disorders, lung cancer, myasthenia gravis, and the benign esophageal disorders of gastroesophageal reflux disease

His surgical expertise there included both minimally-invasive and video-assisted surgery. He does laser and stent therapies and lung and esophageal cancer surgeries. He is the editor of two thoracic surgery textbooks, authored 50 book chapters on surgical topics and wrote more than 260 peer-reviewed publications.

Family History in Surgery

His interest in surgery was never surprising. His father was a prominent surgeon in the Louisiana town of Eunice. His two younger brothers, now deceased, also became surgeons in Louisiana. His sister is a registered nurse there. Although he was born into the business, he worked to earn the respect of his peers as one of America’s most prominent thoracic surgeons, making his return to his home state something special.

“It’s an exciting move for me,” he said. “From a clinical standpoint, and from a family standpoint, it was the right thing to do.”

He started his career at the University of Missouri Medical Center before joining UPMC in 1990, establishing his practice in Western Pennsylvania, where he developed a strong interest in the Pittsburgh professional sports scene.

Conversations there with patients often went beyond the medical diagnosis and treatment. Patients enjoyed his conversations that included the Steelers (football), Penguins (hockey) and Pirates (baseball), all staples in the Pittsburgh community, along with family and politics during office visits.

After growing up in Eunice, he did his undergraduate work at Louisiana State University (LSU) and finished at the LSU Medical School in New Orleans, where he returned recently to help direct the Ochsner staff. He completed his residency in general surgery at the University of Texas-Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. He completed his residency in thoracic surgery at the University of Michigan.

Patients say he still follows the successful sports teams of the schools he attended. As his interests vary, so do the number of hats he wears medically. In addition to having served as the Medical Director at the Ochsner Cancer Institute, he also was vice chairman, Department of Surgery, Clinical Program Development at the Ochsner Medical Center.

Disclaimer: Dr. Rodney Landreneau has no professional affiliation with Asbestos.com.

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Tim Povtak, Senior Content Writer at Asbestos.com

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.

  1. ACMH.org. (2015). Landreneau Thoracic Surgical Associates, PC. Retrieved from http://acmh.org/services/landreneau/
  2. U.S. News & World Report. (n.d.). Dr. Rodney J Landreneau MD. Retrieved from http://health.usnews.com/doctors/rodney-landreneau-10873
  3. Doximity. (n.d.). Rodney Landreneau, MD. Retrieved from https://www.doximity.com/pub/rodney-landreneau-md/1
  4. Landreneau, Rodney, M.D., interview with Asbestos.com (2013, Oct. 23)
  5. UPMC Cancer Centers – Search Our Website. (2012). Biography: Rodney Landreneau, MD. Retrieved from http://www.upmccancercenters.com/search/page_physbio.cfm?id=3567
  6. UPMC – Find a Doctor. (2012). Rodney Jerome Landreneau, MD. Retrieved from http://findadoc.upmc.com/PhysicianBioQuery.aspx?ID=25003102
  7. Rodney J. Landreneau M.D. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.rodneylandreneau.com/
  8. Ochsner Health System. (2013, October 22). Surgeons at Ochsner Cancer Institute Introduce Innovative New Procedures to Region. Retrieved from https://news.ochsner.org/news-releases/surgeons-at-ochsner-cancer-institute-introduce-innovative-new-procedures-to/
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