Howard I. Scher, MD
Co-Chair, Center for Mechanism Based Therapy; Head of the Biomarker Development Initiative; D. Wayne Calloway Chair in Urologic Oncology
Prostate Cancer and Other Genitourinary Malignancies; Immunotherapy
New Patient Appointments
Scheduling a visit is easy. Click below or call us to get started.
Dr. Scher accepts the following list of insurance providers. Select your insurance provider to see more details.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with Aetna HMO, POS, and PPO plans. Aetna does not include us in any of the plans you can purchase through the insurance exchanges or through Medicare. Please ask your insurance if you need a one-time referral.
In New York State
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield (Wellpoint) of New York HMO, EPO, PPO, and POS plans, with the following exceptions:
- Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield does not include us in any of the plans you can buy through the insurance exchanges.
- Memorial Sloan Kettering is not an in-network provider for Empire's Medicare Managed Care plan known as Mediblue).
- The Empire Indemnity Plan provides limited coverage for our services.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Center of Excellence by Blue Cross Blue Shield.
In New Jersey
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with some Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey plans for individuals, families, and small businesses. For example, the PPO plan is in-network with our Manhattan locations.
Horizon Blue Cross HMO is only in-network with our Basking Ridge, Bergen and Monmouth locations. It does not allow access to our Manhattan facilities.
Horizon Blue Cross PPO is in network with our Basking Ridge, Bergen, Monmouth and Manhattan locations.
OMNIA Plans: Tier I EPO based plan policy is only in-network with our Basking Ridge, Bergen and Monmouth locations and does not allow access to our Manhattan sites. Tier II EPO is only in-network with our Manhattan sites if it is a blue-card plan (there would be a suitcase logo indicating PPO on the front of the card).
Other plans may only be in-network at our Basking Ridge, Bergen or Monmouth locations.
Outside New York State and New Jersey
Some, but not all, Blue Cross Blue Shield plans outside of New York and New Jersey include Memorial Sloan Kettering as an in-network provider. Contact your insurance to find out if your plan provides in-network access to Memorial Sloan Kettering.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with CIGNA's HMO, POS, and PPO plans. CIGNA does not include us in any of the plans you can buy through the insurance exchanges.
- If you are a New York State resident: Please ask your insurance if you need a one-time referral.
- If you live outside of New York State: Please ask your insurance if you have in-network access to Memorial Sloan Kettering.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Center of Excellence by Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with EmblemHealth’s PPO, EPO, POS, and HMO plans as well as their Enhanced Care Prime Network, which supports Medicaid Managed Care and Child Health Plus and Medicare plans. Memorial Sloan Kettering is also in-network with the New York State Essential Emblem Health plan, which can be purchased on the insurance exchange. Emblem Health does not include us in any of its Medicare plans or in any of its Select Care network plans. You must bring a referral from your Emblem primary care doctor to your first appointment.
Formerly known as Health Plus Amerigroup, Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Plus is an in-network provider with Memorial Sloan Kettering. You will need a one-time referral from your primary care doctor.
We understand that there may be many complexities involved with insurance coverage purchased through the health exchange network of the Affordable Care Act. We're here to help. If you have questions about how your care will be covered by an insurance provider, or need help navigating a change in coverage, please call us at 646-227-3378; if you are not a resident of New York, you can call us at 866-248-1274. Our team is here to listen to your concerns and assist you in any way we can. We want our care to be as accessible and affordable for as many people as possible.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with HealthSmart’s Accel, HSPC, and HPO networks.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Center of Excellence by Humana.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Center of Excellence by Interlink Health Services.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Center of Excellence by Lifetrac.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider for all MagnaCare health plans except those products you can buy through the insurance exchanges.
New York State Medicaid covers physician and hospital services at Memorial Sloan Kettering. Patients are responsible for co-payments.
We also have contractual relationships involving Medicaid Managed Care plans. MSK is an in-network provider with Medicaid NY Emblem Health (formerly known as HIP) and Medicaid NY Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield HealthPlus (formerly known as Amerigroup). You will need a one-time referral from your primary care doctor.
In New York: Memorial Sloan Kettering’s New York locations are in-network with the Emblem
In New Jersey: Memorial Sloan Kettering’s New Jersey locations in Basking Ridge, Bergen and Monmouth are in-network with the Horizon Medicare Advantage Plan. This plan is not accepted for care provided at MSK’s New York locations.
If you are enrolled in any other Medicare Advantage plan, please contact your insurance carrier to determine your benefits and coverage at Memorial Sloan Kettering since your access may be limited.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with some Multiplan/Beech Street/PHCS plans. Contact your insurance carrier to find out if your plan provides in-network access to Memorial Sloan Kettering.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Center of Excellence by Multiplan.
If you are covered by more than one insurance plan, you will want to determine your benefits from both plans. First, you need to determine which one is your primary insurance provider by contacting your employee benefits office or your insurance carriers. After you find out which is your primary insurance provider, you should then contact your insurance carrier to determine if you have access to Memorial Sloan Kettering.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with some MVP plans. Contact your insurance carrier to find out if your plan provides in-network access to Memorial Sloan Kettering.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider for New York State employees who have enrolled in UnitedHealthcare's Cancer Resource Services. If you have the Empire Plan, you should call Cancer Resources Services at 866-936-6002 to verify and enroll in this coverage.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is in-network with Oscar's Circle Plus Network, a part of its Small Group Broad line that is offered only to select small business groups. Oscar does not include Memorial Sloan Kettering as an in-network provider for any of its individual plans. Please confirm eligibility with your insurance carrier.
We have agreements with several insurance companies that may provide additional coverage for cancer patients. These benefit programs include:
- AXA Assistance USA
- Beech Street
- Integrated Health Plans
- National Health Administrators
- National Preferred Provider Network
- UnitedHealthcare's Cancer Resource Services
- United Resource Network
- Veterans Choice Program
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with Oxford’s Freedom and Liberty plans as well as the Metro Plan (which is only offered to small business groups and no longer offered as individual plans). Please confirm with your insurance if you need a one-time referral. Note: Oxford's Medicare Managed Care plan — Secure Horizon — does not include Memorial Sloan Kettering as an in-network provider. Oxford does not include us in any of the plans you can buy through the insurance exchanges.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with QualCare's PPO and HMO/POS network.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Center of Excellence by Specialty Care Management.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with UnitedHealthCare's HMO, POS, and PPO plans. Please confirm with your insurance if a one-time referral is needed.
UnitedHealthCare's Medicare Managed Care plan does not include Memorial Sloan Kettering as an in-network provider.
United does not include us in any of the plans you can buy through the insurance exchanges.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Center of Excellence by UnitedHealthcare.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with the World Trade Center Health Program.
Contact and Location
Memorial Sloan Kettering has locations throughout New York City, Long Island, New Jersey, and Westchester. These locations offers many services, including screening, chemotherapy, and medical testing.
MD, New York University School of Medicine
Medicine - Bellevue Hospital Center
Medical Oncology - Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Internal Medicine; Medical Oncology
I am a board-certified medical oncologist with special expertise in treating men with advanced prostate cancer. I served as Chief of the Genitourinary Oncology Service at the Sidney Kimmel Center for Urologic and Prostate Cancers at Memorial Sloan Kettering for 25 years. The Genitourinary Oncology Service program is dedicated to the treatment of prostate cancer, testicular cancer, bladder and upper-tract urothelial cancer, and kidney cancer. Our objective is to foster synergy between scientific research and clinical practice, and to ensure that promising scientific discoveries are used to develop new diagnostic tests and treatments for patients.
My own research is focused on three critical areas: developing treatments that target specific signaling pathways that contribute to prostate cancer growth, developing non-invasive methods to determine whether these agents are working, and improving the way drugs are evaluated in the clinic.
Targeted therapies, which attack specific cancer cells without harming normal cells, have the potential to treat cancers with fewer side effects than conventional therapies. Critical to the development of this approach, is to determine which treatment is most likely to be benefit an individual patient. Currently, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is the best routinely available biomarker providing diagnostic and prognostic information about prostate cancer. PSA testing is useful, but does not reliably determine whether or not a treatment is working, nor does not provide definitive guidance in selecting one therapy over another. My colleagues and I are evaluating promising new technologies to capture and characterize circulating tumor cells from a routine blood draw. We are finding that the number of circulating tumor cells in a patient’s blood helps determine a patient’s prognosis and whether or not a treatment is working. Circulating tumor cells are also providing a biological snapshot of an individual patient’s tumor, which may help determine the choice of therapy.
As a member of the Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials Working Group, I led an international effort to standardize development of the design, conduct, and analysis of phase 2 clinical trials in prostate cancer, so we can better evaluate new therapeutics and assess their effectiveness using novel imaging modalities. The recommendations were incorporated and contributed to the successful development of zytiga (now approved) and enzalutamide (under review by the FDA). Both of these agents target androgen receptor signaling and were shown to prolong the survival of men with castration-resistant disease. I also developed the Clinical States Model of Prostate Cancer Progression, which, in categorizing the clinical spectrum of prostate cancer from diagnosis to metastasis, provides a framework to access and reassess a patient’s prognosis as the disease evolves over time and to guide management of the disease.
I am also the principal investigator of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Prostate Cancer SPORE (Specialized Program on Research Excellence) sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and Principal Investigator of the Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials Consortium, a 13-center research collaborative headquartered at Memorial Sloan Kettering and funded by the Department of Defense and the Prostate Cancer Foundation. A critical part of this effort is to design and conduct clinical trials of promising new approaches so that they are available to patients as soon as possible. Since 2006, the consortium has facilitated more than 120 new early-phase studies related to prostate cancer. Ultimately, through these clinical trials, we seek to develop more-effective treatments for prostate cancers of all stages and to discover means of prevention.
In addition to having served as Chief of the Genitourinary Oncology Service, I am the incumbent of the D. Wayne Calloway Chair in Urologic Oncology and a Professor of Medicine at the Weill Cornell Medical College. I am a recipient of the Donald S. Coffey-Prostate Cancer Foundation Physician-Scientist Award, and the Distinguished Alumnus Award. I also serve on numerous editorial and scientific advisory boards and am a reviewer for many journals, including The New England Journal of Medicine, Nature, Science and Translational Medicine, Lancet Oncology, and the Journal of Clinical Oncology. I have written extensively and published over 430 peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals and coauthored the textbook Principals and Practice of Genitourinary Oncology.
Awards and Honors
- Castle Connolly: New York Magazine Top Doctors (2002-2018)
Doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering work as teams, with specialists from all different areas. This allows us to consider all your needs together, and to give you the best possible care.
Clinical Trials Investigated by Dr. Scher
- A Study of Multi-Modality Therapy for Very High-Risk Localized and Low-Volume Prostate Cancer
Clinical Trials Co-Investigated by Dr. Scher
- A Phase I Study of a Vaccine-Based Immunotherapy (PrCa VBIR) for Prostate Cancer
- A Phase I Study of TAS3681 in Men with Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer
- A Phase I Study of ZEN003694 plus Enzalutamide in Men with Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer
- A Phase Ib Study of Enzalutamide plus Ribociclib in Men with Advanced Prostate Cancer
- A Phase II Study of Niraparib for Men with Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer and DNA Repair Problems
- A Phase II Study of Olaparib and Durvalumab Immunotherapy in Prostate Cancer
- [18F]-Deoxy-D-Glucose (FDG) and [18F] Dihydro-Testosterone PET Imaging in Patients with Progressive Prostate Cancer
Memorial Sloan Kettering's doctors and scientists are constantly developing new treatments for cancer. MSK is typically running hundreds of clinical trials at a given time.
You may be able to participate in a clinical trial even if you are new to MSK. Search our online directory to find trial information and see more about who can participate.
Research and Publications
Visit PubMed for a full listing of Dr. Scher’s journal articles. Pubmed is an online index of research papers and other articles from the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.