Skip to Content

Jack A. Roth, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Present Title & Affiliation

Primary Appointment

Professor, Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Division of Surgery, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
Chief, Section of Thoracic Molecular Oncology, Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Division of Surgery, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX

Dual/Joint/Adjunct Appointment

Professor, Department of Molecular and Cellular Oncology, Division of Basic Science Research, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
Professor, Department of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, The University of Texas Medical School at Houston, Houston, TX

Bio Statement

Dr. Jack A. Roth earned his medical degree at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1971, and then completed postgraduate training in thoracic surgery and research at the UCLA School of Medicine. He was a senior investigator and head of the Thoracic Oncology Section in the National Cancer Institute’s Surgery Branch before joining the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center(UTMDACC) in 1986 as professor and chair of the Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery. He serves as founding director of the W. M. Keck Center for Innovative Cancer Therapies and holds academic appointments in UTMDACC’s  Department of Molecular and Cellular Oncology and the Department of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston. While at the NCI, Dr. Roth completed the first randomized clinical trials of neoadjuvant chemotherapy for squamous carcinoma of the esophagus and open lung biopsy in immunocompromised patients with diffuse pulmonary infiltrates.   At UTMDACC, Dr. Roth has initiated and acted as the principal investigator of the first gene therapy trials for lung cancer. Dr. Roth has spearheaded the development of institutional multidisciplinary protocols in thoracic oncology and was the principal investigator of the first randomized trial showing survival benefit with neoadjuvant chemotherapy in stage IIIA resectable lung cancer. 

Research Interests

Among his landmark achievements, Dr. Roth was principal investigator for the first tumor suppressor gene therapy clinical trials approved by the National Institutes of Health Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Approval for those historic protocols was based on his demonstrating feasibility and efficacy through laboratory and preclinical studies. His team showed that restoration of function for a single normal tumor suppressor gene could mediate regression of human cancers in vivo, helped identify and characterize a number of novel tumor suppressor genes on chromosome 3, and found that systemic delivery of tumor suppressor genes using a nanoparticle vector could effectively treat disseminated human lung cancer in animal models.  These observations led Dr. Roth and colleagues to initiate the first clinical trial using nanoparticles to deliver genes systemically. Cancer gene therapy developed in his laboratory became the first gene therapy to be approved for human use. In addition to being an international leader in developing gene therapy for lung and other cancers, he has trained a new generation of outstanding surgical oncologists and laboratory researchers who are applying his philosophy of excellence throughout the world. 

Numerous major grants supporting the Roth-directed translational research include an NCI SPORE Grant in lung cancer, the first awarded to a UTMDACC  investigator that is shared by faculty at UTMDACC  and The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. The joint collaboration has twice been renewed. Roth was responsible for establishing the Keck Center for Innovative Cancer Therapies to serve as an institute without walls to coordinate targeted therapy studies among UTMDACC  investigators. He has contributed to more than 480 articles in peer-reviewed journals and 110 book chapters, and been awarded nearly 50 U.S. and foreign patents with another 50 pending. He has received numerous awards including the Lucy Wortham James Basic Research Award, Society of Surgical Oncology; The Best Doctors in America Award for over 18 consecutive years; Award of Excellence, 32nd Annual Congress, Japan Society for Cancer Therapy; the Charles Moetel Lecture, Mayo Clinic; the Gordon Hamilton-Farley lecture, British Association for Cancer Research and British Society for Surgical Oncology; Elaine & Gerald Schuster Distinguished Visiting Lecturer, Harvard Medical School; Inaugural Glick Lecturer, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine; the Claggett Award Lecture, Mayo Clinic; Fellow American Association for the Advancement of Science,  and The Otis W. and Pearl L. Walters Faculty Achievement Award in Clinical Research.

Clinical Interests

gene therapy, lung cancer, esophageal cancer

Office Address

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
1515 Holcombe Boulevard
Unit Number: 1489
Houston, TX 77030
Room Number: FCT19.5072

Education & Training

Degree-Granting Education

1971 Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, MD, Medicine
1967 Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, BA, Economics

Postgraduate Training

1979-1980 Chief Resident, Division of General Surgery, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA
1978-1979 Chief Resident, Division of Thoracic Surgery, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA
1977-1978 Clinical Residency, Division of Thoracic Surgery, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA
1975-1977 Clinical Residency, General Surgery, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA
1973-1975 Research Fellowship, Division of Surgical Oncology, UCLA Center for the Health Sciences, Los Angeles, CA
1972-1973 Clinical Residency, Surgery, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD
1971-1972 Clinical Internship, Surgery, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD

Board Certifications

2011 American Board of Thoracic Surgery
1981 American Board of Surgery


Administrative Appointments/Responsibilities

Member, Scientific Advisory Council, Division of Surgery, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, 9/2006-present
Director, W. M. Keck Center for Innovative Cancer Therapies, Division of Surgery, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, 1998-present

Honors and Awards

2008 America's Top Surgeons
2008 Elkin Distinguished Investigators Cancer Lectureship, Emory University School of Medicine Winship Cancer Institute, Atlanta, GA
2008 The Otis W. and Pearl L. Walters Faculty Achievement Award in Clinical Research, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
2007-2010 Best Doctors, U.S. News & Word Report
2007 Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
2007 O. T. Clagett Visiting Professorship, Mayo Clinic. Rochester, MN
2006 Recognized by peers as one of the top clinicians in the Houston area
2006 SPAR Award, Top 1% of cited authors for journals in Biology and Biochemistry
2006 The Surgery Chief Resident Teaching Award, The University of Texas - Houston Medical School, Department of Surgery
2006 USPTO Records - "Top Patenters" in the life sciences, above the 99th percentile of the patent count distribution
2004 Inaugural Glick Lecturer, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
2003 Best Doctors 10 Year Veteran
2002 The Surgery Chief Resident Teaching Award, The University of Texas - Houston Medical School, Department of Surgery
2001-2003 Best Doctors, U.S. News & Word Report
2000 Elaine & Gerald Schuster Distinguished Visiting Lecturer, Boston, MA, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School
1998 Top 20 Texans, Texas Monthly Magazine
1997 Charles Moetel Lectureship, Mayo Clinic
1997 Gordon Hamilton-Fairley Lecture Award, British Association for Cancer Research and British Society for Surgical Oncology
1996 Inaugural Wittcoff Lecturer, Mayo Clinic
1996 Jack Sadler Memorial Lectureship, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center
1995 Charles L. Roper Visiting Professor, Washington University School of Medicine
1995 Elected Corresponding Member, European Society of Thoracic Surgeons
1995 Victor and Sigried Gilbertson Visiting Lecturer, University of MN, School of Medicine
1994 E.J. Tabah Visiting Professor in Surgical Oncology, Royal Victoria Hospital and McGill
1994 Ernest Bruell Lectureship, Cleveland Clinic Foundation
1994 The Award of Excellence for a Special Lecture, The 32nd Annual Congress of Japan Society for Cancer Therapy
1993 W.B. Cosbie Lecture, The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
1992 First Invited Scientific Plenary Lecturer, Radiation Therapy Oncology Group
1992 Lucy Wortham James Basic Research Award, Society of Surgical Oncology
1991-1992 The Best Doctors in America
1991 Distinguished Lecturer, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
1990 One of 400 Best Doctors in America
1985 Merit Award, Grant R01 CA45187, Division of Research Grants and Biologic Response, Modifiers Program, National Institutes of Health
1984-present Fellow, American College of Surgeons
1981 Special Achievement Award: Characterization of an immunoregulatory factor in extracts of lung carcinoma, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
1980 Mead Johnson Excellence of Research Award, National Research Forum
1977 Society of Surgical Oncology Resident/Fellow Award: Effect of Adriamycin and High-Dose Methotrexate Chemotherapy on In vivo and In vitro Cell-Mediated Immunity in Cancer Patients
1973 Resident-Fellow Clinical Research Award paper: Isolation of Soluble Tumor-associated Antigen From Human Melanoma, James Ewing Society (Society of Surgical Oncology)
1971 Outstanding Student Research Presentation, Johns Hopkins Medical Society
1967 B.A. Magna Cum Laude with distinction in all subjects, Cornell University
1967 Phi Beta Kappa, Cornell University

Professional Memberships

American Association for Thoracic Surgery
Member, Advisory Council and the Development Committee, 7/2012-present
American Association for Thoracic Surgery, Beverly, MA
Subcommittee Chair, Scientific Affairs and Government Relations Committee, 2004-present
American Association of Academic Surgeons
Fellow, 2007-present
American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy, Greenwich, CT
Member, 7/1999-present
South Texas Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, Metairie, LA
Member, 7/1999-present
The Thoracic Surgery Foundation
Member, Research Committee, 2004-present

Selected Publications

Peer-Reviewed Original Research Articles

1. Hellmann MD, Chaft JE, William WN, Rusch V, Pisters KM, Kalhor N, Pataer A, Travis WD, Swisher SG, Kris MG, University of Texas MD Anderson Lung Cancer Collaborative Group (Roth JA). Pathological response after neoadjuvant chemotherapy in resectable non-small-cell lung cancers: proposal for the use of major pathological response as a surrogate endpoint. Lancet Oncol 15(1):e42-50, 1/2014. PMID: 24384493.
2. Francis AM, Sepesi B, Correa AM, Blum MA, Erasmus JJ, Lee JH, Maru DM, Mehran RJ, Rice DC, Roth JA, Vaporciyan AA, Walsh GL, Welsh JW, Swisher SG, Hofstetter WL, University of Texas MD Anderson Esophageal Cancer Group. The Influence of Histopathologic Tumor Viability on Long-term Survival and Recurrence Rates Following Neoadjuvant Therapy for Esophageal Adenocarcinoma. Ann Surg 258(3):500-7, 9/2013. PMID: 24022442.
3. Wang Y, Gu J, Roth JA, Hildebrandt MA, Lippman SM, Ye Y, Minna JD, Wu X. Pathway-Based Serum microRNA Profiling and Survival in Patients with Advanced Stage Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. Cancer Res 73(15):4801-9, 8/2013. e-Pub 6/2013. PMCID: PMC3760306.
4. Wu X, Wang L, Ye Y, Aakre JA, Pu X, Chang GC, Yang PC, Roth JA, Marks RS, Lippman SM, Chang JY, Lu C, Deschamps C, Su WC, Wang WC, Huang MS, Chang DW, Li Y, Pankratz VS, Minna JD, Hong WK, Hildebrandt MA, Hsiung CA, Yang P. Genome-wide association study of genetic predictors of overall survival for non-small cell lung cancer in never smokers. Cancer Res 73(13):4028-38, 7/2013. e-Pub 5/2013. PMCID: PMC3719971.
5. Pu X, Roth JA, Hildebrandt MA, Ye Y, Wei H, Minna JD, Lippman SM, Wu X. MicroRNA-related genetic variants associated with clinical outcomes in early-stage non-small cell lung cancer patients. Cancer Res 73(6):1867-75, 3/2013. e-Pub 2/2013. PMCID: PMC3602350.
6. Wagner KW, Ye Y, Lin J, Vaporciyan AA, Roth JA, Wu X. Genetic Variations in Epigenetic Genes Are Predictors of Recurrence in Stage I or II Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Patients. Clin Cancer Res 18(2):585-92, 1/2012. PMID: 22252258.
7. Lu C, Stewart DJ, Lee JJ, Ji L, Ramesh R, Jayachandran G, Nunez MI, Wistuba II, Erasmus JJ, Hicks ME, Grimm EA, Reuben JM, Baladandayuthapani V, Templeton NS, McMannis JD, Roth JA. Phase I Clinical Trial of Systemically Administered TUSC2(FUS1)-Nanoparticles Mediating Functional Gene Transfer in Humans. PLoS One 7(4):e34833, 2012. e-Pub 4/2012. PMCID: PMC3338819.
8. Wu X, Ye Y, Rosell R, Amos CI, Stewart DJ, Hildebrandt MA, Roth JA, Minna JD, Gu J, Lin J, Buch SC, Nukui T, Ramirez Serrano JL, Taron M, Cassidy A, Lu C, Chang JY, Lippman SM, Hong WK, Spitz MR, Romkes M, Yang P. Genome-Wide Association Study of Survival in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Patients Receiving Platinum-Based Chemotherapy. J Natl Cancer Inst 103(10):817-25, 5/2011. e-Pub 4/2011. PMCID: PMC3096796.
9. Dai B, Meng J, Peyton M, Girard L, Bornmann WG, Ji L, Minna JD, Fang B, Roth JA. STAT3 mediates resistance to MEK inhibitor through microRNA miR-17. Cancer Res 71(10):3658-68, 5/2011. e-Pub 3/2011. PMID: 21444672.
10. Pataer A, Raso MG, Correa AM, Behrens C, Tsuta K, Solis L, Fang B, Roth JA, Wistuba II, Swisher SG. Prognostic significance of RNA-dependent protein kinase (PKR) on non-small cell lung cancer patients. Clin Cancer Res 16(22):5522-8, 11/2010. e-Pub 10/2010. PMCID: PMCPMC3070287.
11. Katz RL, He W, Khanna A, Fernandez RL, Zaidi TM, Krebs M, Caraway NP, Zhang HZ, Jiang F, Spitz MR, Blowers DP, Jimenez CA, Mehran RJ, Swisher SG, Roth JA, Morris JS, Etzel CJ, El-Zein R. Genetically abnormal circulating cells in lung cancer patients: An antigen-independent fluorescence in situ hybridization-based case-control study. Clin Cancer Res 16(15):3976-3987, 8/2010. e-Pub 7/2010. PMCID: PMC2949278.
12. Christensen CL, Gjetting T, Poulsen TT, Cramer F, Roth JA, Poulsen HS. Targeted cytosine deaminase-uracil phosphoribosyl transferase suicide gene therapy induces small cell lung cancer-specific cytotoxicity and tumor growth delay. Clin Cancer Res 16(8):2308-19, 4/15/2010. e-Pub 4/6/2010. PMID: 20371678.
13. Tsao AS, Roth JA, Herbst RS. Surgery: Future directions in multimodality therapy for NSCLC. Nat Rev Clin Oncol 7(1):10-2, 1/2010. PMID: 20029443.
14. Ding L, Getz G, Wheeler DA, Mardis ER, McLellan MD, Cibulskis K, Sougnez C, Greulich H, Muzny DM, Morgan MB, Fulton L, Fulton RS, Zhang Q, Wendl MC, Lawrence MS, Larson DE, Chen K, Dooling DJ, Sabo A, Hawes AC, Shen H, Jhangiani SN, Lewis LR, Hall O, Zhu Y, Mathew T, Ren Y, Yao J, Scherer SE, Clerc K, Metcalf GA, Ng B, Milosavljevic A, Gonzalez-Garay ML, Osborne JR, Meyer R, Shi X, Tang Y, Koboldt DC, Lin L, Abbott R, Miner TL, Pohl C, Fewell G, Haipek C, Schmidt H, Dunford-Shore BH, Kraja A, Crosby SD, Sawyer CS, Vickery T, Sander S, Robinson J, Winckler W, Baldwin J, Chirieac LR, Dutt A, Fennell T, Hanna M, Johnson BE, Onofrio RC, Thomas RK, Tonon G, Weir BA, Zhao X, Ziaugra L, Zody MC, Giordano T, Orringer MB, Roth JA, Spitz MR, Wistuba II, Ozenberger B, Good PJ, Chang AC, Beer DG, Watson MA, Ladanyi M, Broderick S, Yoshizawa A, Travis WD, Pao W, Province MA, Weinstock GM, Varmus HE, Gabriel SB, Lander ES, Gibbs RA, Meyerson M, Wilson RK. Somatic mutations affect key pathways in lung adenocarcinoma. Nature 455(7216):1069-75, 10/2008. PMCID: PMC2694412.
15. Weir BA, Woo MS, Getz G, Perner S, Ding L, Beroukhim R, Lin WM, Province MA, Kraja A, Johnson LA, Shah K, Sato M, Thomas RK, Barletta JA, Borecki IB, Broderick S, Chang AC, Chiang DY, Chirieac LR, Cho J, Fujii Y, Gazdar AF, Giordano T, Greulich H, Hanna M, Johnson BE, Kris MG, Lash A, Lin L, Lindeman N, Mardis ER, McPherson JD, Minna JD, Morgan MB, Nadel M, Orringer MB, Osborne JR, Ozenberger B, Ramos AH, Robinson J, Roth JA, Rusch V, Sasaki H, Shepherd F, Sougnez C, Spitz MR, Tsao MS, Twomey D, Verhaak RG, Weinstock GM, Wheeler DA, Winckler W, Yoshizawa A, Yu S, Zakowski MF, Zhang Q, Beer DG, Wistuba II, Watson MA, Garraway LA, Ladanyi M, Travis WD, Pao W, Rubin MA, Gabriel SB, Gibbs RA, Varmus HE, Wilson RK, Lander ES, Meyerson M. Characterizing the cancer genome in lung adenocarcinoma. Nature 450(7171). e-Pub 11/2007. PMCID: PMC2538683.
16. Shigematsu H, Lin L, Takahashi T, Nomura M, Suzuki M, Wistuba II, Fong KM, Lee H, Toyooka S, Shimizu N, Fujisawa T, Feng Z, Roth JA, Herz J, Minna JD, Gazdar AF. Clinical and biological features associated with epidermal growth factor receptor gene mutations in lung cancers. J Natl Cancer Inst 97:339-46, 3/2005. PMID: 15741570.
17. Toyooka S, Maruyama R, Toyooka KO, McLerran D, Feng Z, Fukuyama Y, Virmani AK, Zochbauer-Muller S, Tsukuda K, Sugio K, Shimizu N, Shimizu K, Lee H, Chen CY, Fong KM, Gilcrease M, Roth JA, Minna JD, Gazdar AF. Smoke exposure, histologic type and geography-related differences in the methylation profiles of non-small cell lung cancer. Int J Cancer 103(2):153-60, 1/2003. PMID: 12455028.
18. Brose MS, Volpe P, Feldman M, Kumar M, Rishi I, Gerrero R, Einhorn E, Herlyn M, Minna J, Nicholson A, Roth JA, Albelda SM, Davies H, Cox C, Brignell G, Stephens P, Futreal PA, Wooster R, Stratton MR, Weber BL. BRAF and RAS mutations in human lung cancer and melanoma. Cancer Res 62(23):6997-7000, 12/2002. PMID: 12460918.
19. Nutt LK, Pataer A, Pahler J, Fang B, Roth J, McConkey DJ, Swisher SG. Bax and Bak promote apoptosis by modulating endoplasmic reticular and mitochondrial Ca2+ stores. J Biol Chem 277(11):9219-25, 3/2002. PMID: 11741880.
20. Swisher SG, Roth JA, Nemunaitis J, Lawrence DD, Kemp BL, Carrasco CH, Connors DG, El-Naggar AK, Fossella F, Glisson BS, Hong WK, Khuri FR, Kurie JM, Lee JJ, Lee JS, Mack M, Merritt JA, Nguyen DM, Nesbitt JC, Perez-Soler R, Pisters KM, Putnam JB, Jr, Richli WR, Savin M, Schrump DS, Shin DM, Shulkin A, Walsh GL, Wait J, Weill D, Waugh MK. Adenovirus-mediated p53 gene transfer in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst 91(9):763-71, 5/1999. PMID: 10328106.
21. Kelsen DP, Ginsberg R, Pajak TF, Sheahan DG, Gunderson L, Mortimer J, Estes N, Haller DG, Ajani J, Kocha W, Minsky BD, Roth JA. Chemotherapy followed by surgery compared with surgery alone for localized esophageal cancer. N Engl J Med 339(27):1979-84, 12/1998. PMID: 9869669.
22. Roth JA, Nguyen D, Lawrence DD, Kemp BL, Carrasco CH, Ferson DZ, Hong WK, Komaki R, Lee JJ, Nesbitt JC, Pisters KM, Putnam JB, Schea R, Shin DM, Walsh GL, Dolormente MM, Han CI, Martin FD, Yen N, Xu K, Stephens LC, McDonnell TJ, Mukhopadhyay T, Cai D. Retrovirus-mediated wild-type p53 gene transfer to tumors of patients with lung cancer. Nat Med 2(9):985-91, 9/1996. PMID: 8782455.
23. Owen-Schaub LB, Zhang W, Cusack JC, Angelo LS, Santee SM, Fujiwara T, Roth JA, Deisseroth AB, Zhang WW, Kruzel E, et al. Wild-type human p53 and a temperature-sensitive mutant induce Fas/APO-1 expression. Mol Cell Biol 15(6):3032-40, 6/1995. PMID: 7539102.
24. Roth JA, Fossella F, Komaki R, Ryan MB, Putnam JB, Jr, Lee JS, Dhingra H, De Caro L, Chasen M, McGavran M, Atkinson EN, Hong WK.. A randomized trial comparing perioperative chemotherapy and surgery with surgery alone in resectable stage IIIA non-small-cell lung cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst 86:673-80, 5/1994. PMID: 8158698.
25. Fujiwara T, Grimm EA, Mukhopadhyay T, Zhang WW, Owen-Schaub LB, Roth JA. Induction of chemosensitivity in human lung cancer cells in vivo by adenovirus-mediated transfer of the wild-type p53 gene. Cancer Res 54(9):2287-91, 5/1994. PMID: 8162565.

Invited Articles

1. Ji L, Roth JA. Tumor suppressor FUS1 signaling pathway. J Thorac Oncol 3(4):327-30, 4/2008. PMID: 18379348.
2. Roth JA, Cristiano RJ. Gene therapy for cancer: what have we done and where are we going? Review. J Natl Cancer Inst 89:21-39, 1997. PMID: 8978404.

Last updated: 7/29/2014