Philip W. Kantoff, MD, Named Chairman of the Department of Medicine at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center


Philip W. Kantoff, MD, has been named the new Chairman of the Department of Medicine at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK). An accomplished leader, physician, researcher, and mentor, Dr. Kantoff served the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School (HMS) since 1987 in a variety of capacities. He formally assumes his new position as George J. Bosl, MD, steps down from his role after 18 years.

Dr. Kantoff was previously Director of the Lank Center for Genitourinary Oncology, Chief of the Division of Solid Tumor Oncology, Vice Chair of the Department of Medical Oncology, and Chair of the Executive Committee on Clinical Research at Dana-Farber, as well as a professor of medicine at HMS. He was the Jerome and Nancy Kohlberg Endowed Chair at HMS, leader of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center Prostate Cancer Program, and Director of its Prostate Cancer Specialized Program of Research (SPORE).

“We are ecstatic to have been able to recruit Dr. Kantoff to lead MSK’s already superb Department of Medicine. I am eager to work with him to extend our vision for patient care, academic growth, and research excellence,” said MSK’s Physician-in-Chief, Jose Baselga, MD, PhD. “His astute leadership qualities and strong record of clinical and research experience will prove invaluable as we work together to usher this institution into the future and continue our tradition of excellence.”

MSK’s Department of Medicine leads the development and testing of better cancer therapies. In addition to chemotherapy and biological treatments, specialists in the department provide and oversee comprehensive care that addresses patients’ comorbidities and treatment side effects, palliative medicine, and survivorship services. In this role, Dr. Kantoff will continue to see patients in addition to heading a program of laboratory-based research. MSK’s experts in medical oncology and nearly all internal medicine subspecialties will report to Dr. Kantoff.

In his role as Director of the Lank Center, Dr. Kantoff oversaw robust programs of clinical care and research as well as laboratory research. His lab focused on the genetics and genetic epidemiology of prostate cancer, mechanisms of resistance to therapies, and the role of noncoding RNAs in prostate cancer as well as the discovery of biomarkers that may be useful prognostic tools and/or therapeutic targets. He served as a clinical researcher and principal investigator in significant trials devoted to the development of new therapeutic targets for men with advanced prostate cancer. Throughout his tenure at Dana-Farber, he helped to set broad clinical research priorities.

As professor of medicine at HMS since 2004, Dr. Kantoff’s comprehensive research program focused on the molecular basis of genitourinary cancers and improved treatment for patients with prostate, kidney, bladder, and testicular cancers.

Dr. Kantoff currently serves as the Chairman of the Global Treatment Science Network of the Prostate Cancer Foundation. He is a member of numerous professional societies and editorial boards and is board certified in internal medicine and medical oncology. He has written more than 400 articles and books and has lectured throughout the world.

Among his significant accomplishments, Dr. Kantoff was honored with the Baruj Benacerraf Clinical Investigator Award from 1994 to 1997 and the HMS Kantoff-Sang Lectureship Award from 2011 to present day. He was also recognized with the first Prostate Cancer Foundation Mentor of Excellence Award and has been named to the second-year class of “Giants in Cancer Care.”

A native New Yorker, Dr. Kantoff graduated from the accelerated medical program at Brown University and served his residency and chief residency at New York University-Bellevue Hospital. After completing a research fellowship at the National Institutes of Health, he joined Dana-Farber as a clinical fellow in 1987 and became head of genitourinary oncology a year later. As the first Dana-Farber oncologist specializing in genitourinary oncology, he went on to build the program into one of the top such programs in the country. 

Dr. Bosl has served as Chairman of MSK’s Department of Medicine since 1997. An internationally recognized medical oncologist, he has helped to identify more-effective and less-toxic treatments for testicular cancer as well as a marker chromosome for germ-cell tumors that allows more specific treatment for this disease. He has also led numerous studies to help understand why these tumors spread and fail to respond to treatment.  

“Memorial Sloan Kettering is indebted to Dr. Bosl for his years of service,” said Dr. Baselga. “He led the institution through many important years of growth while consistently remaining focused on the importance of both scientific achievement and patient care.”