Carter Van Waes, M.D., Ph.D.

Senior Investigator

Head and Neck Surgery Branch


Clinical Director


Building 10, Room 4-2732
10 Center Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892


Research Topics

The Head and Neck Surgery Branch (HNSB) includes the Tumor Biology Section and Clinical Genomics, which conduct laboratory clinical studies and trials concerning the pathogenesis, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of head and neck neoplasms that affect human communication. Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is the most prevalent malignancy involving the upper aerodigestive tract which affects voice, speech, taste, smell, hearing, and balance as well as survival. About 52,000 Americans develop neoplasms of the upper aerodigestive tract each year, and approximately 320,000 Americans currently suffer significant impairment of communication and other disability as a result of tumor destruction or ablative surgical and radiation therapy. Despite therapy, more than 8,000 of these patients die annually in the U.S. New modalities for prevention and therapy are needed in order to improve survival and preservation of function.


  • Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1985
  • M.D., University of Chicago, 1987
  • Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, University of Michigan, 1993

Selected Publications

  1. Eytan DF, Snow GE, Carlson S, Derakhshan A, Saleh A, Schiltz S, Cheng H, Mohan S, Cornelius S, Coupar J, Sowers AL, Hernandez L, Mitchell JB, Annunziata CM, Chen Z, Van Waes C. SMAC Mimetic Birinapant plus Radiation Eradicates Human Head and Neck Cancers with Genomic Amplifications of Cell Death Genes FADD and BIRC2. Cancer Res. 2016;76(18):5442-5454.

  2. Campbell JD, Yau C, Bowlby R, Liu Y, Brennan K, Fan H, Taylor AM, Wang C, Walter V, Akbani R, Byers LA, Creighton CJ, Coarfa C, Shih J, Cherniack AD, Gevaert O, Prunello M, Shen H, Anur P, Chen J, Cheng H, Hayes DN, Bullman S, Pedamallu CS, Ojesina AI, Sadeghi S, Mungall KL, Robertson AG, Benz C, Schultz A, Kanchi RS, Gay CM, Hegde A, Diao L, Wang J, Ma W, Sumazin P, Chiu HS, Chen TW, Gunaratne P, Donehower L, Rader JS, Zuna R, Al-Ahmadie H, Lazar AJ, Flores ER, Tsai KY, Zhou JH, Rustgi AK, Drill E, Shen R, Wong CK, Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network., Stuart JM, Laird PW, Hoadley KA, Weinstein JN, Peto M, Pickering CR, Chen Z, Van Waes C. Genomic, Pathway Network, and Immunologic Features Distinguishing Squamous Carcinomas. Cell Rep. 2018;23(1):194-212.e6.

  3. Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network., Albert Einstein College of Medicine., Analytical Biological Services., Barretos Cancer Hospital., Baylor College of Medicine., Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope., Buck Institute for Research on Aging., Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre., Harvard Medical School., Helen F. Graham Cancer Center &Research Institute at Christiana Care Health Services., HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology., ILSbio, LLC., Indiana University School of Medicine., Institute of Human Virology., Institute for Systems Biology., International Genomics Consortium., Leidos Biomedical., Massachusetts General Hospital., McDonnell Genome Institute at Washington University., Medical College of Wisconsin., Medical University of South Carolina., Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center., Montefiore Medical Center., NantOmics., National Cancer Institute., National Hospital, Abuja, Nigeria., National Human Genome Research Institute., National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences., National Institute on Deafness &Other Communication Disorders., Ontario Tumour Bank, London Health Sciences Centre., Ontario Tumour Bank, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research., Ontario Tumour Bank, The Ottawa Hospital., Oregon Health &Science University., Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center., SRA International., St Joseph's Candler Health System., Eli &Edythe L. Broad Institute of Massachusetts Institute of Technology &Harvard University., Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital., Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University., University of Bergen., University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center., University of Abuja Teaching Hospital., University of Alabama at Birmingham., University of California, Irvine., University of California Santa Cruz., University of Kansas Medical Center., University of Lausanne., University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill., University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center., University of Pittsburgh., University of São Paulo, Ribeir ão Preto Medical School., University of Southern California., University of Washington., University of Wisconsin School of Medicine &Public Health., Van Andel Research Institute., Washington University in St Louis.. Integrated genomic and molecular characterization of cervical cancer. Nature. 2017;543(7645):378-384.

  4. Derakhshan A, Chen Z, Van Waes C. Therapeutic Small Molecules Target Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins in Cancers with Deregulation of Extrinsic and Intrinsic Cell Death Pathways. Clin Cancer Res. 2017;23(6):1379-1387.

  5. Davis RJ, Moore EC, Clavijo PE, Friedman J, Cash H, Chen Z, Silvin C, Van Waes C, Allen C. Anti-PD-L1 Efficacy Can Be Enhanced by Inhibition of Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells with a Selective Inhibitor of PI3Kδ/γ. Cancer Res. 2017;77(10):2607-2619.

This page was last updated on September 6th, 2018