Mount Sinai Liver Cancer Research Program

The Mount Sinai Liver Cancer Research Program, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is situated in New York City, the most ethnically diverse city in the United States. Our center sits on the edge of Harlem, a community with a predominantly Afro-American and Hispanic population in which the incidence of HCC approaches 20 per 100,000, similar to that observed in high-incidence countries like China. Mount Sinai has developed an extensive outreach program that conducts screening and surveillance throughout our catchment area in underserved communities including neighborhoods with predominantly Chinese, Pakistani, and Egyptian populations as well as in Harlem. We have a long-standing interest in liver cancer at Mount Sinai that dates back to the creation of the specialty of Hepatology by Mount Sinai icons Hans Popper and Fenton Schaffner, which was accelerated greatly with the creation of the Liver Transplant Program, the first in New York State, in 1988.

The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and The Mount Sinai Hospital have been at the forefront of clinical management of HCC in the United States for at least 20 years, owing in large part to the unique talents of the Hepatobiliary Surgery Unit led by Myron Schwartz, MD, along with members of the Divisions of Oncology and Liver Diseases, Pathology, and Radiology. Our institution ranks first in regional inpatient market share for HCC; The Mount Sinai Hospital is, in fact, the leading center in the US in the number of new HCC patients evaluated annually, approximately 400 in 2013. This program initially earned its international reputation as a consequence of the clinical contributions made in the area of the surgical management of HCC, combined with the growth of its liver transplantation program and the burgeoning clinical and research activities of the Division of Liver Diseases, a separate Division in the Department of Medicine distinct from the Gastroenterology Division. In parallel, Josep M. Llovet, MD, joined the Mount Sinai faculty in 2004 following a sabbatical at our institution and established the basis for the clinical and translational research of the program.

The formal creation of the Mount Sinai Liver Cancer Program in April 2005, which has now been incorporated within the Tisch Cancer Institute, resulted from several key developments:

  1. The creation of the Mount Sinai Liver Cancer Program following the recruitment of Josep M Llovet, MD, as full-time faculty in the Division of Liver Diseases to lead the program as Research Director in 2005. He has served as ILCA President (2011-2013), Chair of the EASL-EORTC guidelines and was the Principal Investigator of the phase III trial demonstrating survival benefits form sorafenib.
  2. An internationally recognized and highly successful clinical HCC program, directed by Myron Schwartz, MD, current member of the Governing Board of ILCA; The outstanding reputation obtained as a referral center for multidisciplinary management of liver cancer, with more than 3,600 new cases/15years, representing the leading institution in the US
  3. The support and commitment of the Divisions of Liver Diseases led by Scott Friedman, Past President of AASLD
  4. The exceptional scientific productivity of the group with more than 170 papers in the last five years, including landmark studies in the New England Journal of Medicine, Nature, Cancer Cell, Nature Genetics and Lancet.

The Mount Sinai Liver Cancer Research Program now has more than 24 active members with annual NIH funding of $7M, and is leading three active international randomized controlled trials than can advance the management of the disease. The Liver Cancer Research Program is the only clinical program being presented in Mount Sinai’s current application for an institutional NCI Cancer Center Support Grant, the first NCI application ever to include an HCC component.

From the outset, the HCC program has been structured as a multidisciplinary group comprising hepatologists, surgeons, oncologists, pathologists, radiologists, genetics and genomics experts, and basic scientists exploring novel models of disease, mechanisms of inflammation and signaling, fibrosis, and gene therapy.

By optimizing integration of HCC efforts both within Mount Sinai and as part of an international HCC Consortium that includes investigators for leading genomics and Centers throughout the world (Dana Farber-Broad Institute-MIT, Boston; Hospital Clinic, University of Barcelona; Instituto di Tumori (Milan), the Mount Sinai Liver Cancer Research Program has achieved remarkable success in a relatively short time, including more than 150 publications, and the international leadership of five clinical trials. Now seven clinical trials on HCC and cholangiocarcinoma are active at our institution.

The Liver Cancer Research Program hosts an established monthly program meeting since 2006, during which time research updates are presented, new clinical trial prospects are discussed and research directions and priorities are consolidated. The program has also hosted an annual Postgraduate Course focused solely on HCC for eight years, featuring lectures by both international leaders from outside institutions, as well as the full range of expertise within the program. Finally, the program has been awarded to organize the First international ILCA School of Liver Cancer (Dec 2014).

Program Leaders

Scott L. Friedman, MD
Josep Llovet, MD

Program Members

Name Degree(s) Title Department/Division (Primary)
Other Dept/Div
Ang, Celina MD Assistant Professor Medicine/Hematology and Medical Oncology
Bansal, Meena MD Associate Professor Medicine/Liver Diseases
Branch, Andrea PhD Professor

Medicine/Liver Diseases
PhD Professor Pharmacology and Systems
Chang, Charissa MD Assistant Professor Medicine/Liver Diseases
MD Professor Medicine/Liver Diseases
Evans, Matthew PhD Assistant Professor Microbiology
Facciuto, Marcelo MD Associate Professor Surgery, Liver Transplant
Federman, Alex MD, MPH Associate Professor Medicine/General Internal Medicine
Fiel, MariaIsabel MD Professor Pathology
Florman, Sander MD Professor Surgery
Friedman, Scott MD
Dean for Therapeutic Discovery
Chief, Division of Liver Diseases
Medicine/Liver Diseases
PhD Assistant Professor
Developmental and Regenerative Biology
Medicine/Liver Diseases
Hoshida, Yujin MD, PhD Assistant Professor Medicine/Liver Diseases
Llovet, Josep MD Professor Medicine/Liver Diseases
Nieto, Natalia PhD Associate Professor Medicine/Liver Diseases
MD Assistant Professor Medicine/Liver Diseases
PhD Associate Professor
Medicine/Liver Diseases
Developmental and Regenerative Biology
Sarpel, Umut MD Assistant Professor Surgery
Schwartz, Myron MD Professor Liver Transplant
Sung, Max MD Associate Professor
Medicine/Hematology and Medical Oncology
Oncological Sciences
Taouli, Bachir MD Associate Professor Radiology
Thung, Swan MD Professor Pathology
Ward, Stephen MD, PhD Assistant Professor Pathology