I am a surgical oncologist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of soft tissue sarcoma. I have extensive experience with this group of cancers, and am one of just a few surgeons in the world focused solely on treating sarcoma patients. My years of experience have enabled me to devise surgical techniques that improve the ability to completely remove these tumors.
I also have special expertise and experience in multimodality treatment, in which carefully planned surgery is combined, when appropriate, with radiation, chemotherapy, or targeted therapy.
I lead the Soft Tissue Sarcoma Disease Management Team at Memorial Sloan Kettering, which is a multidisciplinary group of soft tissue pathologists, medical oncologists, and radiation oncologists who work closely together to provide the best treatment plan for each individual patient.
A challenge in treating soft tissue sarcomas is that there are more than 50 subtypes, each of which is relatively uncommon. Patients’ outcomes are generally substantially better when they are managed by the sort of multidisciplinary team of experts that we can provide, in a center of excellence that treats many people with sarcoma. Our team of soft tissue sarcoma experts likely has the most extensive experience with these tumors of any medical group in the world.
In addition to my clinical sarcoma practice, I conduct laboratory research to develop new methods to improve the diagnosis and treatment of sarcoma. I lead both a National Cancer Institute Specialized Program in Research Excellence (SPORE) and the Sarcoma Genome Project.
The immediate goal of our research is to increase our understanding of sarcoma biology by discovering the alterations in DNA and RNA that cause sarcomas to develop and progress. These findings allow us to improve both the accuracy of diagnosis and the accuracy of predicting treatment outcome and survival for individual patients. These better predictions, in turn, will make it possible for patients to be given the treatment (such as a specific targeted therapy, chemotherapy, or radiation) most likely to be effective for their particular tumor.
Another goal of the research is to find new targeted therapies aimed specifically at alterations in particular tumor types. Examples of targeted therapies that I have been actively involved in developing and designing include anti-angiogenesis therapy for soft tissue sarcoma, imatinib (Gleevec®) for gastrointestinal stromal sarcoma, and cell cycle kinase inhibitor therapies (CDK4, AURKA, and PLK1), demethylating agents, HDAC inhibitors, and PPAR gamma ligands for various liposarcomas.
I am optimistic that this research will ultimately improve survival and quality of life for patients with soft tissue sarcoma.
- Clinical Expertise: Soft Tissue Sarcomas: Liposarcoma, Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor, Synovial Sarcoma, Leiomyosarcoma, Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor, Angiosarcoma, Fibrosarcoma, Desmoid Tumor, Dermatofibrosarcoma, MFH, Myxofibrosarcoma, Rhabdomyosarcoma, Ewing's Sarcoma, Extremity Sarcoma, and Retroperitoneal Sarcoma
- Languages Spoken: English
- Education: MD, Harvard Medical School
- Residencies: Brigham and Women's Hospital/Harvard Medical School
- Fellowships: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
- Board Certifications: Surgery
Selected Book Chapters
“Soft tissue sarcoma.” Canter R, Singer S. In: Current Surgical Therapy. 9th ed. Cameron JL. St. Louis: Mosby; 2008.
“Soft tissue sarcomas.” Singer S. In: Sabiston Textbook of Surgery: The Biological Basis of Modern Surgical Practice. 19th ed. Townsend CM Jr, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Philadelphia: Saunders; 2010.
“Molecular biology of soft tissue sarcoma.” Singer S, Nielsen T, Antonescu CR. In: Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. DeVita VT, Lawrence TS, Rosenberg SA, eds. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins; 2011; 1522-1532.
“Soft tissue sarcoma.” Singer S, Maki RG, O’Sullivan B. In: Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. DeVita VT, Lawrence TS, Rosenberg SA, eds. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2011; 1533-1577.
“Clinical features.” Singer S, Gronchi A. In: WHO Classification of Tumours of Soft Tissue and Bone. Fletcher CDM, Bridge JA, Hogendoorn P, Mertens F eds. Geneva: WHO Press; 2013.
“Soft tissue sarcoma.” Singer S, Crago AM. In: ACS Surgery: Principles & Practice. Hamilton, Ontario: BC Decker; In Press.
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