About Kenneth Tanabe, MD

Dr. Kenneth Tanabe is a Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School, Chief of the Division of Gastrointestinal and Oncologic Surgery and ESSCO – Slater Family Chair of Surgical Oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital. He serves as the Deputy Clinical Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and Director of the Mass General Liver Surgery Program, and is a previous Director of the Liver Surgery Program for the Department of Surgery.

Dr. Tanabe is a board member of the American Board of Surgery Complex General Surgical Oncology Board. He has served on the Executive Council of the Society of Surgical Oncology, and serves on the editorial board for several journals, including service as Deputy Editor for Annals of Surgical Oncology. Dr. Tanabe has an active clinical practice that focuses on complex liver surgery including laparoscopic resections and multidisciplinary cancer patient evaluations. Dr. Tanabe is also an active member of the Melanoma Surgery Program, and formerly served as its director. He provides care for melanoma patients, and he served on the melanoma patient care guidelines committee for the National Comprehensive Cancer Network for 15 years. Dr. Tanabe directs a research translational laboratory involved in studies of novel experimental cancer therapies and cancer prevention strategies.

Clinical Interests:



Mass General Surgery: Surgical Oncology
55 Fruit St.
Yawkey Center for Outpatient Care
7th Floor
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: 617-724-4000

Mass General Cancer Center in Waltham
52 Second Ave.
Suite 1110
Waltham, MA 02451
Phone: 781-487-6100

Medical Education

  • MD, UC San Diego School of Medicine
  • Residency, Cornell University Medical Center
  • Fellowship, MD Anderson Center

American Board Certifications

  • Surgery, American Board of Surgery

Accepted Insurance Plans

Note: This provider may accept more insurance plans than shown; please call the practice to find out if your plan is accepted.


Dr. Tanabe directs a research laboratory focused on 1) hepatocellular carcinoma prevention; and 2) experimental gene therapy for liver tumors. His laboratory has been funded by the National Institutes of Health continuously since 1993.

Research in the area of hepatocellular carcinoma focuses on signal transduction pathways involved during malignant transformation of hepatocytes, and molecular mechanisms of cirrhosis progression. Agents that prevent progression of cirrhosis or prevent development of hepatocellular carcinoma in cirrhotic livers are examined in preclinical models before development of clinical trials. The effects on liver are monitored via a gene signature, in collaboration with Yujin Hoshida and Todd Golub at the Broad Institute.

Research in experimental gene therapy for liver tumors focuses on development of replication-conditional viruses that destroy tumors by virtue of replication in the tumor cells, a process that simultaneously produces daughter progeny virion that can infect adjacent tumor cells. Significant progress has been made in alteration of the viral genome to restrict viral replication in normal cells. One virus is now in clinical trial for patients with primary or secondary liver tumors.


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