About Paul H. Sugarbaker
Get to Know Dr. Paul Sugarbaker
Dr. Paul Sugarbaker has been credited with first developing the cytoreductive surgery and heated chemotherapy combination used today by surgical oncologists at most mesothelioma specialty centers.
Many of those he taught refer to the effective mesothelioma treatment as the Sugarbaker Procedure.
He is chief of the Peritoneal Surface Malignancy Program and the director of the Center for Gastrointestinal Malignancies at the MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C., where he has been since 1989.
Sugarbaker focuses almost exclusively on gynecologic malignancy, gastrointestinal cancer and peritoneal mesothelioma.
His laboratory work centers around reducing the peritoneal surface dissemination of cancer.
The Sugarbaker Procedure, which is also used as the signature treatment for other abdominal cancers, involves removing the lining of the abdomen and all visible tumor cells on organs throughout the cavity. This process is known as cytoreductive surgery.
A heated chemotherapy solution is then circulated throughout the abdominal cavity for 90 minutes to kill any microscopic tumor cells that evaded the surgeon. The solution is then drained, and the surgical incisions are closed. The entire procedure can take up to 10 hours.
The procedure has been credited with extending lives of peritoneal mesothelioma patients. The majority of those undergoing the procedure survive at least five years. Many live 10 years and beyond.
Specialties of Dr. Paul Sugarbaker
Dr. Paul Sugarbaker’s Experience and Medical Education
Cornell University Medical College
Harvard School of Arts and Sciences
Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Residency)
Massachusetts General Hospital (Fellowship)
National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute
Awards and Other Recognitions
Founding member, International Society of Regional Cancer Therapy
Editorial board, European Journal of Surgical Oncology
Distinguished Service Award, American Society of Abdominal Surgeons
Nurses Choice Physician Collaboration Award, Washington Hospital Center
E.T. Krementz Award for Best Research Development, 8th International Conference of Regional Cancer Treatment
Fellow, The Royal College of Surgeons of England and The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, Scotland
The Sugarbaker Name
The Sugarbaker name is synonymous with advancing the treatment of mesothelioma cancer.
Brother David Sugarbaker died in 2018, but not before becoming the first thoracic surgeon to embrace the challenge of treating pleural mesothelioma, giving hope to those who once had none.
Paul Sugarbaker did much the same for peritoneal mesothelioma.
He did the first Sugarbaker Procedure more than two decades ago, offering his expertise to young surgeons throughout the world to build on what he started.
Through the years, he has traveled to all five continents to teach others.
Sugarbaker still travels to Europe annually to teach a course in peritoneal surgical oncology. He has written books and made videos on the topic. He lectures extensively and is on the editorial board of 11 medical journals.
“I think part of your obligation as an innovator is to pass on what you learned, and what you accomplished, so others can expand on it,” he said. “We both saw ourselves as trying to bring new and beneficial things to those with this rare disease. You help everyone that way.”
Learn About Top Mesothelioma Treatments
Free guide has the latest information on emerging treatments and clinical trials.
Testimonials from Other Mesothelioma Doctors
Dr. Jesus Esquivel, Frederick Memorial Hospital
“We are very grateful for his impact in the country where I am from. He is responsible for first bringing the Sugarbaker Procedure to Mexico by his pioneering efforts. Because of him, we opened the first peritoneal and HIPEC workshop there.”
Dr. Marcello Deraco, National Cancer Institute of Milan, Italy
“No other treatment has ever had such an impact on the quality of life for patients with mesothelioma than the surgical concept [Paul] introduced.”
Dr. Brendan Moran, Peritoneal Malignancy Institute, Basingstoke, U.K.
“He is a tireless innovator and one of the legends of our time. I consider Paul Sugarbaker the global leader in surgical oncology.”
Publications of Dr. Paul Sugarbaker
Sugarbaker, P. (2020, June). Unusually favorable outcome of 6 consecutive patients with diffuse malignant peritoneal mesothelioma treated with repeated doses of intraperitoneal paclitaxel. A case series. Surgical Oncology.
Sugarbaker, P. et al. (2019, December 16). Intraperitoneal delivery of chemotherapeutic agents for the treatment of peritoneal metastases: current challenges and how to overcome them. Expert Opinion Drug Delivery Journal.
Sugarbaker, P. (2018, October). Update on the management of malignant peritoneal mesothelioma. Translational Lung Cancer.
Sugarbaker, P. (2018, July 27). Peritoneal Metastases, a Frontier for Progress. Surgical Oncology Clinics of North America.
Sugarbaker, P. et al. (2017, July). Long-term regional chemotherapy for patients with epithelial malignant peritoneal mesothelioma results in improved survival. European Journal of Surgical Oncology.
Sugarbaker, P. (2017, June 5). Intra-abdominal manifestations of pleural mesothelioma. Annals of Translational Medicine.
Common Questions About Dr. Paul Sugarbaker
- Does Dr. Paul Sugarbaker treat peritoneal mesothelioma?
Dr. Paul Sugarbaker is a leading expert on peritoneal mesothelioma. He is recognized globally for his innovative surgical procedures that have significantly extended survival times for those patients.
- What is the Sugarbaker Procedure?
The Sugarbaker Procedure is a combination therapy that involves cytoreductive surgery to remove tumor masses, followed by circulating heated chemotherapy in the abdomen to kill remaining tumor cells. Dr. Paul Sugarbaker is credited with developing this breakthrough therapy, which has extended survival for peritoneal mesothelioma patients by 10 years or more.
- Is HIPEC effective at treating peritoneal mesothelioma?
HIPEC is an effective treatment for peritoneal mesothelioma patients. Average survival for peritoneal mesothelioma patients was approximately six months prior to the availability of HIPEC treatment. With the introduction of HIPEC therapy, half of patients now live longer than five years.
- How do I choose a mesothelioma doctor that is right for me?
Choosing the right mesothelioma doctor involves researching the years of experience they have specializing in the treatment of mesothelioma. You will also want to verify that your doctor is covered by your insurance plan.
Disclaimer: Dr. Paul H. Sugarbaker has no professional affiliation with Asbestos.com.
2 Cited Article Sources
The sources on all content featured in The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com include medical and scientific studies, peer-reviewed studies and other research documents from reputable organizations.
- Sugarbaker, P.H. and Stuart, A. (2020). Unusually favorable outcome of 6 consecutive patients with diffuse malignant peritoneal mesothelioma treated with repeated doses of intraperitoneal paclitaxel. A case series.
- Sugarbaker Oncology Sources. (n.d.). Dr. Paul H. Sugarbaker, FACS, FRCS. Retrieved from:
Did this article help you?
How did this article help you?
What about this article isn’t helpful for you?
Did this article help you?
Thank you for your feedback. Would you like to speak with a Patient Advocate?
Share this article
Last Modified August 10, 2020