Dr. David Jablons

Chief of General Thoracic Surgery at University of California San Francisco Health

As the chief of thoracic surgery, Dr. David Jablons is one of the leading surgeons for pleural mesothelioma along the West Coast. He is a staff member of University of California San Francisco Health.

Dr. David Jablons

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Pleural Mesothelioma

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University of California San Francisco

505 Parnassus Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94143


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More About Mesothelioma Specialist Dr. David Jablons

Dr. Jablons sees patients out of the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Helen Diller Comprehensive Cancer Center. This hospital is located at 1600 Divisadero St. in San Francisco.

He became Chief of General Thoracic Surgery in 1997 and has championed UCSF Health’s thoracic oncology program for more than 20 years. He served as a Navy commander while a resident at Oak Knoll Naval Hospital. This experience allows him to connect with the many veterans who have malignant mesothelioma from asbestos exposure during their service.

His other professional titles with UCSF Health are:

  • Professor of Thoracic Surgical Oncology
  • Professor of Thoracic Oncology
  • Program Leader in Thoracic Oncology
  • Director of the Thoracic Oncology Laboratory

During his fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, he trained under Dr. David Sugarbaker. Dr. Sugarbaker, who passed away in 2018, is one of the original specialists for treatment of mesothelioma.

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Medical Degrees and Residencies

    • Medical Degree from Albany Medical College of Union University, 1984
    • Residency in General Surgery at Oak Knoll Naval Hospital in Oakland, California, 1985
    • Residency in General Surgery at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, 1986
    • Residency in Cardiothoracic Surgery at Weill Cornell University Medical Center in New York City, 1993
    • Fellowship in Surgical Oncology at National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, 1989
    • Fellowship in Lung Transplantation at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, 1992
    • Fellowship in Thoracic Surgery at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, 1993
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Certifications and Memberships

    • Certified by the American Board of Surgery and American Board of Thoracic Surgery
    • Membership in the American Association for Cancer Research, International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer, Society of Thoracic Surgeons and American Association for the Advancement of Science

Get Connected to Dr. David Jablons

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As a head of thoracic oncology, Dr. David Jablons sees patients from throughout the West Coast. His clinical focus is lung cancers and pleural mesothelioma. He also served as a commander in the Navy, allowing him to relate to veterans with this rare cancer.

Why Choose Dr. Jablons?

  • Military experience during one of first residency programs
  • Head of thoracic oncology at highly respected hospital
  • Interested in gene mutations related to mesothelioma

We value your privacy and will never sell or rent your personal information to any third party.

Hesitation to Perform Surgery for Mesothelioma

While Dr. Jablons is an experienced surgeon for pleural mesothelioma, he’s quite unlike other specialists. He has trepidation toward relying on surgery for this cancer due to no proven survival benefit and biased study results.

In a medical paper published in 2020, Dr. Jablons co-authored sobering thoughts about surgery for pleural mesothelioma:

“There is a lack of randomized evidence to support a survival benefit when major surgical resection is included in multi-modality treatment regimens. Current data from retrospective single institution reviews and prospective trials such as the Surgery for Mesothelioma After Radiation Therapy (SMART) trial are limited by biased patient selection to include only the healthiest patients with the most limited disease burden.”

He believes extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) surgery has little-to-no survival benefit for almost all cases of mesothelioma. In the same paper, he wrote EPP had “shorter survival times” compared to those treated medically with chemotherapy, radiation and/or immunotherapy. EPP is slowly stepping aside as a surgical option, in favor of less-invasive and less-aggressive pleurectomy decortication surgery, which unlike EPP doesn’t remove either lung.

Interest in New Therapeutic Options

In 2019, he co-authored an article with fellow mesothelioma specialist Dr. Anne Tsao. The article looked at all available or tested therapies for malignant mesothelioma. The idea was to summarize every attempt to improve survival, showing an improved understanding into the biology of this cancer.

He also expressed hope for mesothelioma gene therapy. In a video published on the UCSF Health website, he said the thoracic oncology team can identify cancerous genes and drug them to cause regression. This method, called T-cell therapy, works for blood cancers and is in testing for solid tumors like mesothelioma.

Dr. Jablons also looked into the usefulness of ponatinib for mesothelioma. This drug is primarily for leukemia. It’s a tyrosine-kinase inhibitor, meaning it’s a targeted therapy against the tyrosine kinase enzyme regulating cell activity.

How to See Dr. Jablons

If you live in California or another state on or near the West Coast, you might not have to travel far to see Dr. Jablons at UCSF Health. We can guide you through the process of scheduling an initial consultation and learning your options for therapy. Contact our team through our free Doctor Match page, where you’ll send us your name and diagnosis information.

You can also email us directly if you wish. Karen Ritter, our registered nurse, can help with any questions or concerns. Her email is karen@mesotheliomaguide.com.

Sources & Author

  1. David M. Jablons. UCSF Health. Retrieved from: https://www.ucsfhealth.org/providers/dr-david-m-jablons. Accessed: 11/23/2021.
  2. David Jablons, MD. University of California San Francisco. Retrieved from: https://profiles.ucsf.edu/david.jablons. Accessed: 11/23/2021.
  3. David M. Jablons, M.D., FACS. University of California San Francisco. Retrieved from: https://top.ucsf.edu/meet-the-team/program-leader/david-m-jablons,-md.aspx. Accessed: 11/23/2021.
  4. Ponatinib is a potential therapeutic approach for malignant pleural mesothelioma. Experimental Lung Research. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33107354/. Accessed: 11/23/2021.
  5. Surgery for pleural mesothelioma, when it is indicated and why: arguments against surgery for malignant pleural mesothelioma. Translational Lung Cancer Research. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32206574/. Accessed: 11/23/2021.
  6. Scientific Advances and New Frontiers in Mesothelioma Therapeutics. Journal of Thoracic Oncology. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6643278/. Accessed: 11/23/2021.
Devin Golden

About the Writer, Devin Golden

Devin Golden is a content writer for Mesothelioma Guide. He produces mesothelioma-related content on various mediums, including the Mesothelioma Guide website and social media channels. Devin's objective is to translate complex information regarding mesothelioma into informative, easily absorbable content to help patients and their loved ones.