I am a board-certified gynecologic oncologist who specializes in the surgical treatment of women with known or suspected ovarian cancer.
For most women with these cancers, surgery is an important part of the initial treatment and increases the possibility of long-term survival. Many studies have shown that women with gynecologic cancers have better outcomes when a gynecologic oncologist performs their primary surgery. For women with advanced ovarian cancer, the resection, or removal, of all visible disease at the time of initial surgery is a critical component of long-term success. Every time I enter the operating room, my entire focus and effort is solely directed toward complete cancer removal. A diagnosis of ovarian cancer can be very challenging for both women and their families. Together we can create an individualized plan of surgical excellence that incorporates the latest knowledge in ovarian cancer therapy both in the operating room and beyond. My multidisciplinary approach to ovarian cancer therapy coupled with years of expertise allows my patients to benefit from cutting-edge surgical and medical treatments.
In addition to my expertise in the aggressive surgical management of advanced ovarian cancers, I also have special training in minimally invasive surgery (laparoscopy) and preventive surgery for appropriately selected patients. I also perform single-incision laparoscopic surgery in appropriate cases, which reduces the number of surgical incisions or scars to only one. Intraperitoneal chemotherapy has been proven to be a superior method of treatment for advanced ovarian cancer, and I fully incorporate this into the treatment of my patients. New treatments for ovarian cancer are continually being developed. If ovarian cancer does recur, I am able to incorporate genomic testing to analyze tumors and translate molecular insights into individualized therapies. I can comprehensively profile tumor tissue using next-generation sequencing and other technologies and correlate the findings with available clinical trials. My goal is to allow precision medicine to guide treatment for recurrent cancer through cancer genomics to create better treatment options for all women with ovarian cancer.
I head the Gynecology Research Laboratory, where my efforts focus on early detection, prevention, precision medicine, and rare tumors with unmet needs. We focus our work on ovarian and endometrial cancers and are leading the development of national trials in ovarian cancer prevention. We are also developing novel biomarkers for early detection that capitalize on our new knowledge that ovarian cancer likely develops at the end of the fallopian tube and not on the surface of the ovary, as previously thought. A large portion of my research focuses on deriving molecular profiles of women who are treated with novel targeted anticancer drugs to determine who is most likely to respond to treatment and spare others from unnecessary toxicity. By identifying which patients are most likely to respond to a given therapy, we can direct the best treatments toward the most-appropriate patients. We perform molecular characterization for ovarian and uterine cancer patients treated at Memorial Sloan Kettering and on national cooperative group clinical trials. My research has been supported by funding from the National Cancer Institute, the Department of Defense, Stand Up To Cancer, the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation, the Entertainment Industry Foundation, and Cycle for Survival.
I have authored or co-authored more than 130 peer-reviewed research papers, review articles, and book chapters. I am the founding editor of Atlas of Procedures in Gynecologic Oncology — the first full-color photographic surgical atlas in the field — which is now in its third edition. I serve on the editorial board of Gynecologic Oncology, the scientific advisory committee of the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund and the Clearity Foundation, the Board of Directors of The Honorable Tina Brozman Foundation, and the Experimental Medicine, Cancer Prevention and Control, and Ovarian Cancer Committees of the Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG)/NRG Oncology. I have received the Mentor of the Year Award from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in 2012 and the Foundation for Women’s Cancer Excellence in Ovarian Cancer Research Prize in 2013. I am co-chair of the Ovarian Cancer, Endometrial Cancer, and Uterine Carcinosarcoma Working Groups for The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA).
Originally from Syracuse, New York, I graduated from Franklin and Marshall College in 1991. I completed medical school at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Mount Sinai Medical Center, both in New York City, followed by a gynecologic oncology fellowship at MSK. Upon the completion of my training in 2002, I spent two years doing full-time laboratory research, also at MSK, and joined the MSK staff in 2004. I spend my time at MSK’s main campus in Manhattan, where I perform all of my surgical cases. I see new patients on Thursdays at the Rockefeller Outpatient Pavilion, MSK’s location on 53rd Street.
My goals are to provide the highest-quality comprehensive care to women with ovarian cancer and those at high risk for developing the disease, and to improve patient outcomes through research and education.
- Clinical Expertise: Gynecologic Oncology; Cancers of the Ovary; Laparoscopy; Single Incision Surgery; Minimally Invasive Surgery; Prevention of Ovarian and Endometrial Cancers in High-Risk Women
- Languages Spoken: English
- Education: MD, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
- Residencies: Mount Sinai Medical Center (New York)
- Fellowships: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
- Board Certifications: Obstetrics and Gynecology, Gynecologic Oncology
Atlas of Procedures in Gynecologic Oncology. Levine DA, Barakat RR, Hoskins WJ, eds. London: Martin Dunitz; 2003.
Atlas of Procedures in Gynecologic Oncology. 2nd ed. Levine DA, Barakat RR, Abu-Rustum NR. London: Informa Healthcare; 2008.
Handbook for Principles and Practice of Gynecologic Oncology. Levine DA, De Los Santos JF, Fleming GF, Barakat RR, Markman M, Randal ME. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins; 2010.
Atlas of Procedures in Gynecologic Oncology. 3rd ed. Abu-Rustum NR, Barakat RR, Levine DA. London: Informa Healthcare; 2013.
Selected Book Chapters
“Gynecologic cancers.” Levine DA, Barakat RR, section eds. In: Atlas of Cancer. 2nd ed. Markman M, ed. Philadelphia: Current Medicine; 2008.
“Genetics of hereditary gynecologic cancers.” Levine DA, Kauff ND, Boyd J. In: Atlas of Cancer. 2nd ed. Markman M, ed. Philadelphia: Current Medicine; 2008.
“Radical surgery for early and recurrent cervical cancer.” Eisenhauer EE, Levine DA. In: Atlas of Cancer. 2nd ed. Markman M, ed. Philadelphia: Current Medicine; 2008.
“Laparoscopic radical hysterectomy.” Levine DA, Barakat RR. In: Atlas of Procedures in Gynecologic Oncology. 2nd ed. Levine DA, Barakat RR, Abu-Rustum NR, eds. London: Informa Healthcare; 2008.
“Pelvic exenteration.” Levine DA, Bochner BH, Chi DS. In: Atlas of Procedures in Gynecologic Oncology. 2nd ed. Levine DA, Barakat RR, Abu-Rustum NR, eds. London: Informa Healthcare; 2008.
“Genetics and biology of gynecologic cancers.” Levine DA. In: Gynecologic Oncology: Clinical Practice and Surgical Atlas. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2012.
“Molecular pathogenesis of gynecologic cancers.” Berchuck AB, Birrer MB, Farley J, Levine DA. In: Principles and Practice of Gynecologic Oncology. 6th ed. Barakat RR, Markman M, Randall ME, Berchuck AB. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2013.
As home to one of the world’s top cancer research centers, Memorial Sloan Kettering is typically involved in more than 900 clinical trials at a given time. Currently, clinical trials focused on the conditions I treat are enrolling new patients. If you’re interested in joining a clinical trial, click to learn about the trial’s purpose, eligibility criteria, and how to get more information.Learn more