• Researcher Profile

    David J. Kwiatkowski, MD, PhD

    David J. Kwiatkowski, MD, PhD

    Senior Physician

    Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School


    Thoracic Oncology

    Office phone: 617-632-6049
    Fax: 617-632-5786

    Preferred contact method: office phone

    View Physician Profile

    Research Department

    Medical Oncology


    Lung cancer, Mutational analysis and targeted therapy in lung cancer, Targeted therapy in mesothelioma

    Area of Research

    mTOR signaling in cancer: therapeutic target

    Brigham and Women's Hospital
    75 Francis Street
    One Blackfan Circle 6-216
    Boston, MA 02215


    David Kwiatkowski is a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Senior Physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He earned a BSc from Caltech and a PhD from MIT, both in Mathematics. He received his MD degree from Columbia University, and received the Janeway Prize at graduation for the highest achievement and abilities in the graduating medical class. He pursued Internal Medicine and then Hematology-Oncology training at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and remained at MGH until 1991 when he moved to BWH/DFCI.  Dr. Kwiatkowski has specialized in thoracic oncology, and has broad interests in all types of thoracic malignancies, including lung cancer, thymic cancer, and mesothelioma.  He is a self-trained human and cancer geneticist, and has been the leader of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center Cancer Genetics program since 2007.  He is an Associate Member of the Broad Institute, and an active participant in The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), working on multiple cancer types and programs.  His current patient research interests are: personalized/targeted treatment of cancers according to their mutations, targeting the mTOR pathway in cancer, and mesothelioma therapeutic development and treatment.  He has a much deeper familiarity with mesothelioma than the average thoracic oncologist, and sees many patients on referral from around the country.

    Recent Awards

    • The LAM Foundation Scientific Advancement Award, 2013
    • Harvard Medical School Excellence in Tutoring Award, 2010, 2011, 2010, 2011
    • NIH NINDS Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award, 2007
    • Program Leader, Dana Farber Harvard Cancer Center Cancer Genetics Program, 2007
    • Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Senior Physician, BWH, DFCI, 2004
    • Manuel R. Gomez Award of the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance, 2000


    mTOR signaling in cancer: therapeutic target

    I have broad interests in human cancer genetics, and have been Program Leader for the DFHCC Cancer Genetics program for the past 8 years.  I am an Associate Member of the Broad Institute, and have been active in multiple NCI TCGA (The Cancer Genome Atlas) projects, including adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma of the lung, bladder cancer, kidney chromophobe cancer, mesothelioma, and pathway analyses.
    It has become apparent that a variety of cancers (partially due to our analyses) have mutations in TSC1 or TSC2 at rates of 1 – 10%. Moreover, in some cases TSC1/TSC2-mutant cancers are highly sensitive to treatment with rapalogs, with durable CRs lasting several years. We are studying these patients to elucidate the genetic and other determinants of response to rapalogs, and investigating synergistic treatment approaches. I am the PI of a Novartis-sponsored Investigator-initiated trial to treat all cancers with mutations in either TSC1 or TSC2 with everolimus. A variety of correlative genetic studies will be done as part of that trial.

    We generated a mouse model of mesothelioma due to mutation and loss of Tsc1, and demonstrated that these tumors were highly sensitive to treatment with rapalogs.  We also demonstrated some degree of mTOR activation in both mesothelioma cell lines and resected patient mesotheliomas.  This has led to enhanced interest in therapeutic strategies for mesothelioma, which although a rare malignancy overall, is commonly seen at BWH/DFCI.  I am engaged in several efforts to develop novel therapeutic approaches and clinical trials for mesothelioma.


    • Guo, Yanan, PhD
    • Tyburczy, Magdalena, PhD
    • Liu, Yang, PhD
    • Cao, Juxiang, PhD
    • Hamieh, Lana, MD
    • Giannikou, Krinio, PhD
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