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Anne Tsao, M.D.

Dr. Anne Tsao is a medical oncologist and expert in mesothelioma. She currently holds several positions at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, including associate professor, director of the Mesothelioma Program, and director of the Thoracic Chemo-Radiation Program. Dr. Tsao sees patients but is also a researcher and leader in the specialty of mesothelioma and other types of cancer.

Along with other experts and professionals at MD Anderson, Dr. Tsao uses a multidisciplinary approach to treating patients with difficult diseases, like mesothelioma. As part of a focus group for mesothelioma, she helps to match patients to clinical trials, giving them better chances for access to innovative treatments.


Dr. Tsao earned her medical degree from the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine, one of the most prestigious medical schools in the country. After leaving Chicago she went on to complete and internship and residency at Indiana University and then another residency at the University of Texas. She also completed a fellowship at MD Anderson at the University of Texas. Following that program she stayed on at MD Anderson and has been there ever since.

Current Position and Work

At MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas in Houston, Dr. Tsao is the Director of two important programs: the Mesothelioma Program and the Thoracic Chemo-Radiation Program. She is also an assistant professor in the Department of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology, Division of Cancer Medicine. As a leading expert in mesothelioma, Dr. Tsao’s current positions allow her to work with patients, conduct and lead research, education future physicians, and lead the direct of treatment and research for the Cancer Center and Mesothelioma Program.

Research and Clinical Trials

Dr. Tsao has been heavily involved in research related to mesothelioma and other types of cancer, including work with clinical trials and patients. Examples of her research include the use of a chemotherapy drug called dasatinib in a phase I clinical trial that successfully shrank tumors in the small group of patients involved. She has also completed research projects on the effect of smoking on patients with cancers other than non-small cell lung cancer, including mesothelioma.

Proton Therapy

One of Dr. Tsao’s interests in research is proton therapy. She is a proponent of this novel treatment and works alongside the MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center to provide more patients with this treatment technique. Proton therapy is a more advanced form of radiation therapy, the use of high-energy beams to kill cancer cells. Proton therapy uses a beam of protons that can target a tumor directly, bypassing and preserving healthy cells. Unlike other types of radiation, the energy is low when entering the body and this protects healthy tissues. Proton therapy was pioneered at MD Anderson and Dr. Tsao has played a role in developing it and bringing it to more patients.

Personalized Treatment

Dr. Tsao has been a proponent of individualized and personalized treatment plans for all patients. While cancer research has traditionally focused on broad treatments that will cure everyone with a certain type of cancer, Dr. Tsao focuses on how treatments can be used for individual patients to manage their disease. This is a changing trend in cancer care, even though an overall cure for any type of cancer is still sought. To help advance her idea of personalized treatment for all patients, Dr. Tsao has worked toward developing more novel treatments so that each patient gets the combination that works best for him or her.

Honors and Professional Organization Memberships

As a dedicated cancer researcher and physician, Dr. Tsao is involved in numerous organizations and has earned several honors and awards. She acts as the co-chair for the Clinical Research Committee at MD Anderson and was formerly the Coordinator for Clinical Protocol at the University of Chicago. She serves on the board of the American Radium Society and the Southwest Oncology Steering Committee.

Her honors have included the American Society of Clinical Oncology Merit Award, Young Investigator Award, and Career Development Award, the National Institute of Health Clinician Scientist Award and Head and Neck SPORE career Development Award.

Dr. Tsao is known in the medical community, both in the U.S. and internationally, as a leading expert in mesothelioma. To her colleagues and patients she is known as a devoted and dedicated physician, set on improving patient care and making treatment for mesothelioma more personalized and more effective.

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