Dr. Edward Levine

Chief of Surgical Oncology at Wake Forest Baptist Health

Dr. Edward Levine is an experienced peritoneal mesothelioma surgeon at Wake Forest Baptist Health. He has performed hundreds of cytoreduction/HIPEC operations and helped improve the survival rates for victims of this rare cancer.

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Peritoneal Mesothelioma

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Wake Forest Baptist Health

1 Medical Center Boulevard, Winston-Salem, NC 27157

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More About Mesothelioma Specialist Dr. Edward Levine

Dr. Levine is the chief of surgical oncology at Wake Forest Baptist Health and senior advisor to the director of the Wake Forest Comprehensive Cancer Center. Those two titles are the product of working at the prestigious North Carolina-based medical institution since 1998.

“We have one of the most experienced centers in the world for peritoneal mesothelioma and patients with other peritoneal surface malignancies,” he said in an interview with Mesothelioma Guide.

In 1992, Dr. Levine joined the Louisiana State University medical staff. He worked at the institution for six years, when he transitioned to Wake Forest Baptist Health. Soon after, he became immersed with treating peritoneal malignancies, such as mesothelioma.

His academic titles with Wake Forest School of Medicine are:

  • Section head of oncology surgical sciences
  • Professor of oncology surgical sciences
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Medical Degrees and Residencies

    • Bachelor of Science from University of Illinois, 1981
    • Medical degree from Finch University of Health Science/Chicago Medical School, 1985
    • Residency in surgery at the Michael Reese Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois, 1990
    • Residency in oncology at the University of Illinois Hospital, 1992
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Certifications and Memberships

    • Certification in general surgery from the American Board of Surgery
    • Membership in the Connective Tissue Oncology Society, Society of Surgery of Alimentary Tract, American College of Surgeons, American Association of Clinical Oncology, Society of Surgical Oncology, Association of Academic Surgery, North Carolina Medical Society and Southern Surgical Association
    • Selected for Castle Connolly’s America’s Top Doctors for Cancer every year since 2005

Get Connected to Dr. Edward Levine

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Dr. Levine is the primary peritoneal mesothelioma surgeon at Wake Forest Baptist Health. He specializes in many peritoneal malignancies and has perfected a HIPEC protocol. He also values quality of life when determining surgical candidacy and adjuvant therapies.

Why Choose Dr. Levine?

  • Expert in performing surgery with HIPEC
  • More than two decades of experience
  • Open to systemic therapies, such as immunotherapy








Diagnosis:


National Peritoneal Mesothelioma Program

Dr. Levine sees 15-20 cases of peritoneal mesothelioma each year. He says his patients come from all across the country, making Wake Forest Baptist Health one of the few national mesothelioma cancer centers in the country.

“This is a rare disease,” he said. “Most doctors have never seen a case. So to find someone who has seen cases before, there are only a handful of centers who have that. I’m proud to be leading one of them.”

Dr. Levine and his team understand peritoneal mesothelioma has high recurrence rates, which means surgery alone often isn’t enough. He promotes the use of HIPEC, an intraoperative therapy used with debulking surgery.

HIPEC is the acronym for “hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy.” The approach allows drugs to sit, or dwell, within the patient for 60-90 minutes.

“The spread through the peritoneal cavity is difficult to complete fully, especially in patients who were previously operated on,” Dr. Levine said. “… When you take the patient to the operating room, you’re going to find more tumors than you saw before most of the time. Imaging scans are very good tests but far from perfect.”

Impressive Survival Rates With Surgery and HIPEC

Dr. Levine conducted a study more than a decade ago on 400 patients who underwent cytoreduction with HIPEC. All 400 had malignant peritoneal mesothelioma, which aggressively moves through the abdominal cavity and overwhelms organs.

The team’s survival time was a median of 53 months. The five-year survival rate was nearly 50%. This was a significant improvement from the survival rate a decade earlier, when surgery and HIPEC was in infant stages of use.

While the statistics haven’t improved much since then, Dr. Levine is confident long-term survival is achievable with the right surgeon and staff.

“There are patients who are long-term disease-free survivors,” he said.

Cytoreductive surgery can vary for each patient. Dr. Levine usually removes the omentum, which is a flat tissue layer on the surface of peritoneal organs. Some of the nearby organs, such as the spleen, can be removed if needed. Same is true for the peritoneum.

“The first thing you want to do is assess the situation,” Dr. Levine said. “We thoroughly explore and figure out what can be done.”

New Research and Grants

Dr. Levine and the team at Wake Forest Baptist Health aren’t satisfied with the current therapy landscape for peritoneal mesothelioma. They recently received a grant and are using organoids to model and study peritoneal mesothelioma tumors.

This may help them understand how the tumors form and grow. It also may predict response to different therapies, including immunotherapy.

“We’ve been honored with several research grants as of late,” he said. “This is an area that hasn’t received a great deal of research funding.”

Most research involves pleural mesothelioma. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a tumor treating fields device, Optune Lua, for unresectable malignant pleural mesothelioma. The agency also approved Opdivo and Yervoy as immunotherapy treatment for pleural mesothelioma.

“For thoracic mesothelioma, there has been a recent advance in terms of using immunotherapy, which likely is going to be an opportunity for patients with peritoneal mesothelioma as well,” Dr. Levine said. “How it transfers over, I don’t know. … I’d also suspect we will see more advances from our organoid research.”

If you’d like to connect with him, our patient advocates can help you contact his team. Another option is applying for our free Doctor Match program to see if Dr. Levine is the best option for your treatment.

Sources & Author

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About the Writer, Devin Golden

Devin Golden is the 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.