Dr. James Pingpank

Quick Summary

Dr. James Pingpank is a nationally recognized surgical oncologist. He is one of the leading experts in the treatment of peritoneal mesothelioma in the United States.

In the treatment of peritoneal mesothelioma, Dr. Pingpank is known for using a combination of cytoreduction and hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC).

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Who Is Dr. James Pingpank?

Dr James Pingpank MD

Dr. James Pingpank is a board-certified general surgeon specializing in treating peritoneal mesothelioma and other gastrointestinal cancers.

Dr. Pingpank’s medical specialization combines HIPEC with cytoreduction surgery in order to treat cancer and improve the prognosis of his mesothelioma patients.

He has more than 10 years of experience working with these procedures, as well as experience with other laparoscopic, minimally invasive, and robotic surgical techniques.

What Medical Conditions Does Dr. Pingpank Treat?

Dr. Pingpank is best known for performing a combination of cytoreductive surgery with HIPEC, but he practices in many other specialties and treatments as well.

Dr. Pingpank’s medical specialties include treatment of the following conditions

  • Metastatic gastrointestinal cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Stomach tumors
  • Small bowel tumors
  • Peritoneal mesothelioma
  • Advanced malignancies of the liver
  • Advanced malignancies of the peritoneal cavity

Dr. Pingpank also specializes in the following treatments and procedures

  • General surgery
  • HIPEC (hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy)
  • Cytoreduction surgery
  • Robotic surgical techniques
  • Placement of hepatic arterial infusion pumps
  • Isolated hepatic perfusion with melphalan
  • Medical advice

Dr. Pingpank's Mesothelioma Treatment

Mesothelioma is often best treated using a combination of treatments and therapies, and Dr. Pingpank’s mesothelioma treatment approach is no different.

The two therapies most often utilized by Dr. Pingpank are HIPEC and cytoreduction surgery. HIPEC is a form of heated chemotherapy that causes little to no damage to healthy cells. Cytoreduction surgery, on the other hand, is an extensive surgery that removes all signs of cancer from a person’s abdominal area. When used together, these two methods have been shown to be effective for peritoneal mesothelioma. The cytoreductive surgery removes the visible signs of cancer, and the HIPEC follows to remove the microscopic signs of cancer.

HIPEC is often considered one of the best treatments for mesothelioma because it is effective on cancerous cells while causing very little damage to healthy cells. This preservation of healthy cells can be crucial, especially in patients in a later stage of illness.

Determining if HIPEC or any other treatment is the right one for you takes collaboration with your doctor. Our 14 Questions to Ask Your Doctor checklist can help you and your medical team work together to find the best treatments for you.

Dr. Pingpank’s Medical Background

Dr. Pingpank began his education with a bachelor’s degree from Amherst College in Massachusetts.

He attended The George Washington University School of Medicine for his medical degree.

To round out his medical education, he completed:

  • His surgical residency at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine
  • A research fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania
  • A Surgical Oncology Fellowship at the Fox Chase Cancer Center

Dr. Pingpank began at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in 2008, where he is also an associate professor of surgery for the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

  • Work Experience

    Dr. Pingpank’s time at UPMC is spent training new doctors as a professor of surgery and as a cancer specialist and surgical oncologist at the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. Dr. Pingpank collaborates closely with physicians at other UPMC campuses, including UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside, UPMC Passavant, and UPMC Magee Womens Hospital. He also frequently participates in clinical trials that aim to discover new treatments to address peritoneal mesothelioma and other gastrointestinal cancers.

    As of today, Dr. Pingpank boasts more than 20 years of experience in cancer treatment and research and is highly respected among his peers and patients.

Dr. Pingpank’s Treatment Approach

Dr. Pingpank believes in providing patients with a compassionate and seamless transition through the various stages of cancer care, from pre-operative through post-operative treatments.

As a surgeon, he prefers minimally invasive techniques and is usually recognized for his work in combining cytoreduction surgery with HIPEC.

Cytoreduction surgery is a complex surgery performed on people with advanced cancer. This procedure is only performed by the most experienced and highly skilled surgeons, as Dr. Pingpank is considered in his field.

HIPEC is traditionally performed after mesothelioma surgery is complete.

Highlights of Dr. Pingpank’s Medical Career

Dr. Pingpank has done much in the areas of cancer research and treatment through his more than 20-year career in both fields.

Awards and Accolades

Dr. Pingpank has received an abundance of local and national recognition for his work in cancer research and treatment work.

  • Some of his awards and accolades include:

    • Patient’s Choice Award
    • Technology Transfer Award
    • American Cancer Society Distinguished Service Award
    • American College of Surgeons Outstanding Cancer Researcher Award
    • National Cancer Institute Director’s Award
    • The Vitals On-Time Doctor Award
    • Named one of Castle Connolly’s Regional “Top Doctors”
    • Compassionate Doctor Recognition

Work Highlights

With several memberships and certifications in relevant organizations, Dr. Pingpank has established himself as an experienced and internationally recognized surgeon and cancer expert.

  • These memberships, affiliations, and roles include:

    • Director of Gastrointestinal Surgery Division at UPMC
    • Member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology
    • Certified by the American Board of Surgery
    • Fellow of the American College of Surgeons
    • Member of the American Association for Cancer Research
    • Member of the American Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association

Research and Published Works

Dr. Pingpank frequently participates in clinical research and has published more than 100 articles on cytoreduction, HIPEC, and many other medical topics.

  • Some of his most recent contributions from the past few years include:

    • Choudry, M.H.A., et al. “Correction to: Postoperative Complications Independently Predict Cancer-Related Survival in Peritoneal Malignancies.” Published in Annals of Surgical Oncology, December 2019.
    • Kowalsky, S.J., et al. “Omission of Right Hemicolectomy May be Safe for Some Appendiceal Goblet Cell Adenocarcinomas: A Survival Analysis of the National Cancer Database.” Published in Annals of Surgical Oncology, December 2021.
    • Pakrafter, S., et al. “Institutional Experience with Ostomies Created During Cytoreductive Surgery and Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemoperfusion.” Published in Annals of Surgical Oncology, December 2017.
    • Rieser, C.J., et al. “Failure to Thrive Following Cytoreduction and Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy: Causes and Consequences.” Published in Annals of Surgical Oncology, April 2022.

Dr. Pingpank’s Work in Cancer Treatment & Research

Dr. Pingpank has earned himself the title of one of the leading healthcare providers of gastrointestinal cancer and mesothelioma treatment in the nation.

Additionally, his work has brought significant attention to the rare disease of malignant peritoneal mesothelioma and the need for improved treatments and a better prognosis for patients.

He has also been featured as a keynote speaker at various mesothelioma symposiums and conferences for the health sciences.

Dr. Pingpank’s Contributions to the Medical Profession

Peritoneal mesothelioma often receives less attention than pleural mesothelioma as it is rarer and harder to treat.

Doctors like Dr. Pingpank help bring attention to this rare but aggressive and potentially life-threatening cancer and the need for new and improved treatments.

With further research and more clinical trials headed by doctors such as Dr. Pingpank, mesothelioma patients can look forward to leading longer and better lives.

Connect With Dr. Pingpank

If you or one of your loved ones has been diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma, you may be wondering what your next steps are or if you could benefit from cytoreduction surgery or HIPEC with Dr. Pingpank.

Dr. Pingpank can be reached directly through UPMC by calling (412) 692-2852 or by emailing [email protected]. His main office is at the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center at 5115 Centre Ave. in Pittsburgh.

If you need further assistance contacting Dr. Pingpank or any other leading mesothelioma doctors around the United States, the Mesothelioma Veterans Center can help.

More than a third of mesothelioma victims are veterans, and we are dedicated to providing free support for veterans and their families. Call us at (877) 450-8973 or fill out our contact form anytime for mesothelioma support and resources.

Veterans Support Team
Christopher Dryfoos PhotoWritten by:

Contributing Author

Christopher Dryfoos is a journalist and member of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA). As the grandson of the U.S. Navy’s first forensic pathologist, he aims to help veterans with mesothelioma access needed care.

View 4 Sources
  1. National Cancer Institute. “Hyperthermia to Treat Cancer.” Retrieved January 23, 2023, from https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/types/hyperthermia
  2. National Library of Medicine: PubMed.gov. “Pingpank JF[Author]”. Retrieved January 23, 2023, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/?term=Pingpank%20JF%5BAuthor%5D
  3. U.S. News and World Report. “Dr. James F. Pingpank, MD.” Retrieved January 23, 2023, from https://health.usnews.com/doctors/james-pingpank-4407
  4. University of Pittsburgh. “James F. Pingpank Jr., MD, FACS.” Retrieved January 23, 2023, from: https://www.surgery.pitt.edu/people/james-f-pingpank-jr-md-facs
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