Dr. Hassan Khalil

Thoracic Surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital

Dr. Hassan Khalil is a thoracic surgeon who specializes in pleural mesothelioma. He joined Brigham and Women’s Hospital as an associate thoracic surgeon in 2020. He also ran the Boston VA mesothelioma program for two years and is a faculty member of Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Hassan Khalil

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Pleural Mesothelioma

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Brigham and Women’s Hospital

75 Francis St., Boston, MA 02115


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More About Mesothelioma Specialist Dr. Hassan Khalil

Dr. Khalil is a member of the thoracic surgery team at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. He also is part of the Dana‑Farber Cancer Institute surgery team and specializes in treating pleural mesothelioma.

After working in biomedical engineering, Dr. Khalil received a medical degree from the University of Texas. He is at the forefront of new surgery techniques, including use of robotics. He has used his biomedical engineering experience to improve lung surgery techniques and limit the duration of air leaks after surgery.

He called mesothelioma, a malignancy of mesothelial tissue, a “terrible disease” with poor survival rates without many treatment options. Helping people with this cancer is a main reason why he chose to focus on it.

“I believe any incremental improvement in therapy adds a lot to the patient’s lifespan and quality of life,” he said in an interview with Mesothelioma Guide.

His training includes tutelage from three esteemed pleural mesothelioma surgeons: Dr. Abraham “Avi” Lebenthal, Dr. Marcelo DaSilva and Dr. Raphael Bueno. Drs. Lebenthal and Dasilva have since left the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Dr. Khalil remains colleagues with Dr. Bueno.

In addition to his medical training and residencies, Dr. Khalil completed three fellowships:

  • Research in general surgery at the Greater Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 2014
  • Minimally invasive thoracic and foregut surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, 2018
  • Cardiothoracic surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, 2020
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Medical Degrees and Residencies

    • Bachelor’s degree from University of Houston, Biomedical Engineering, 2006
    • Medical degree from the University of Texas Medical School in Houston, 2010
    • Residency at the University of California‑Los Angeles, General Surgery, 2017
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Certifications and Memberships

    • Certification in Thoracic Surgery from the American Board of Thoracic Surgery
    • Certification in General Surgery from the American Board of Surgery
    • Membership in the American Medical Association, Longmire Surgical Society, Massachusetts Medical Society, Society of Thoracic Surgeons, American College of Surgeons and American Heart Association

Get Connected to Dr. Hassan Khalil

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Dr. Khalil is one of the top mesothelioma surgeons at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He offers experience performing surgeries and compassion for his patients. Dr. Khalil has learned from some of the best specialists for mesothelioma. He’s now part of one of the top surgical teams in the world at Brigham and Women’s.

Why Choose Dr. Khalil?

  • Performs both P/D and EPP surgeries for pleural mesothelioma
  • Vast resources working at Brigham and Women’s Hospital
  • Open to treating biphasic and sarcomatoid cases

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Helping Veterans Through the VA Health Care System

As the former head of the mesothelioma program at the Boston VA Health Care System in West Roxbury, Massachusetts, Dr. Khalil was an exceptional treatment resource for veterans with mesothelioma. He’s one of the few specialists who treat veterans regularly. Dr. Khalil led the mesothelioma treatment at Boston VA Medical Center for two years.

Dr. Lebenthal started the Boston VA mesothelioma program in 2010. He stepped down, allowing Dr. Khalil to take the program to the next era. Dr. Khalil ran the program from 2020-2022. Veterans with mesothelioma can receive free health care through the Boston VA hospital. The treatment options include:

  • Aggressive surgeries
  • Systemic chemotherapy
  • Intraoperative chemotherapy
  • Radiation
  • Immunotherapy

Additionally, veteran patients will receive care from a multidisciplinary team. It feels like receiving care from a highly respected cancer center, because the team comes from such an institution.

“As part of my advanced thoracic training, I trained at the Boston VA,” Dr. Khalil said in an interview with Mesothelioma Guide. “I’ve already met a lot of mesothelioma patients in the pipeline. I think that’s also a big plus because I bring expertise from Brigham and Women’s Hospital.”

Multimodal Approach to Mesothelioma Treatment

Dr. Khalil believes all mesothelioma treatment options play a role in helping patients. However, they must be chosen on a case‑by‑case basis.

“In some ways, it is (case by case),” he said. “It’s also about experience.”

Even the two surgeries for pleural mesothelioma require an individualized approach. Dr. Khalil said extrapleural pneumonectomy is the “easier” of the two, but he prefers performing pleurectomy with decortication if it’s safe for the patient. Extrapleural pneumonectomy removes the affected lung. Pleurectomy with decortication leaves it in the body and attempts to remove the tumors by peeling the patient’s pleura off of the lung.

“With P/D, you have to peel the visceral pleura off the lung. It can cause complications like bleeding and prolonged air leaks,” he said. “EPP is a quicker operation. Outcomes like survival and recurrence are equivalent between the two operations. My preference is to leave the lung behind and not do an EPP when technically possible.”

While surgery is a tentpole of treatment, he believes in neoadjuvant therapy to downstage patients from advanced disease.

“I think down-staging patients with neoadjuvant therapy is important when there is locally advanced diseas,” Dr. Khalil said. “Surgery itself can be a diagnostic procedure in some patients. In a subset of patients who are otherwise healthy and can tolerate surgery, if there is a good response to neoadjuvant therapy, I advocate for them to get surgery.”

Dr. Khalil stresses the importance of patients having as many options as possible, regardless whether or not they have surgery. These therapies include:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation
  • Intraoperative chemotherapy
  • Immunotherapy

“For a patient whose gross disease is removed (during surgery) and who has adequate kidney function, intraoperative chemotherapy is one of the tools I use,” he said, later adding that not everyone responds to immunotherapy.

“I think it’s wonderful we have this new instrument that works with these other therapies, particularly in sarcomatoid and biphasic mesothelioma cases.”

Interest in Developing New Approaches to Treatment

Dr. Khalil has interest in developing new surgical approaches to mesothelioma. Epithelioid mesothelioma cell type is traditionally believed to be a better fit for aggressive surgery like P/D or EPP, but in the appropriate setting, Dr. Khalil considers surgery in patients with sarcomatoid and biphasic mesothelioma as well.

“I do believe in the prognostic benefits of knowing what kind of tumor we’re dealing with. However, I don’t believe in outright saying whether someone can have surgery based on a classification,” he said.

Another option is using robotics. He’s a certified console surgeon with robotics and hopes to expand the use of this tactic within the Brigham and Women’s Hospital thoracic surgery department.

Additionally, he has a research laboratory to study the mesothelium, which is the cell linings that can form mesothelioma. They are made of mesothelial cells. This research may help Dr. Khalil introduce new drug delivery methods and understand how epithelial cells become sarcomatoid cells.

If you wish to speak with Dr. Khalil, we can help you set up an appointment. He sees both veterans with mesothelioma and civilians with this cancer. Our patient advocates can put you in touch with his team at the Brigham and Women’s Dana‑Farber Cancer Institute.

Fill out the form for our free Doctor Match program and mention that you’d like to learn more about Dr. Khalil as a mesothelioma specialist for your diagnosis.

Sources & Author

  1. Welcoming New Faculty – Hassan Khalil, MD. Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Retrieved from: https://www.brighamsurgerynews.com/welcoming-new-faculty-hassan-khalil-md/. Accessed: 06/29/2021.
  2. Hassan A Khalil, MD. Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Retrieved from: https://physiciandirectory.brighamandwomens.org/details/14537/hassan-khalil-thoracic_surgery-boston. Accessed: 06/29/2021.
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.