Dr. Michele Carbone

Director of Thoracic Oncology at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center

Dr. Michele Carbone is one of the leading researchers in mesothelioma incidence, pathology and treatment. He is invested in finding causes of mesothelioma for decades.

Dr. Michele Carbone

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Pleural Mesothelioma

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University of Hawaii Cancer Center

701 Ilalo St., Honolulu, HI 96813


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More About Mesothelioma Specialist Dr. Michele Carbone

Dr. Carbone is the Director of Thoracic Oncology at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center in Honolulu. He assumed this role in 2009 after a year serving as Interim Director. He’s also a professor of pathology at the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine.

Dr. Carbone worked at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, from 1986‑1994. He transitioned to the University of Chicago, where he was the Director of Thoracic Oncology and a pathology professor from 1994‑2006. Finally, he joined the University of Hawaii Cancer Center staff in 2006.

Dr. Carbone’s medical background is in mesothelioma pathology. His research focuses on how this cancer develops and grows.

He works with Dr. Paul Morris, a thoracic surgeon at the Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu. Dr. Morris is the main surgeon for pleural mesothelioma cases coming to the state of Hawaii.

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Medical Degrees and Residencies

    • Medical Degree from the Medical School of Rome in Italy, 1984
    • PhD from the Medical School of Rome, 1985
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Certifications and Memberships

    • Certification in anatomic pathology from the University of Rome and the University of Chicago
    • Received the iMiG Wagner Medal in 2018 for discovering the role of genetics in mesothelioma
    • Received the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation Pioneer Award in 2014 for discovering the BAP1 cancer gene

Get Connected to Dr. Michele Carbone

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Dr. Carbone is connected with many of the top thoracic and abdominal surgeons in the United States. His clinical focus is on pathology of thoracic malignancies. His research in mesothelioma and connections to clinical trials is a valuable asset to any patient.

Why Choose Dr. Carbone?

  • Discovered genetic mutations related to mesothelioma
  • Leads a National Cancer Institute‑designated program
  • Authored or co-authored hundreds of medical articles

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Research Into Mesothelioma Epidemic

Dr. Carbone’s interest in mesothelioma stems from a trip to the Turkish region of Cappadocia in 1997. He went there to investigate the high rates of mesothelioma. More than 50% of the deaths at the time were due to this rare cancer.

“It’s just chance,” Dr. Carbone said of his clinical focus on mesothelioma. “Everything in life is chance. I was working at the National Institute of Health … and found that people in Turkey were dying of mesothelioma. I knew this because I was a pathologist and knew asbestos causes mesothelioma.”

The cause was an asbestos‑like substance called erionite. It’s a mineral developing from volcanic ash and water. It’s usually found in gravel and stone, which were part of constructing houses in Cappadocia. He learned during his research how asbestos causes inflammation in the pleural lining, which eventually leads to tumors.

“I got fascinated by what I saw and decided I was going to study it,” he said.

This led to discovery of genetic mutations linked to mesothelioma. He regularly cited the BAP‑1 gene as a biomarker for mesothelioma. His work led to two erionite‑free villages in Cappadocia.

Dr. Carbone also discovered the mechanism of asbestos carcinogenesis and found that SV40, a virus that contaminated polio vaccine, synergizes with asbestos in causing mesothelioma.

Dr. Carbone has published more than 150 peer‑reviewed papers. His research has been funded through grants from the National Cancer Institute, American Cancer Society and the V‑Foundation.

Continuing to Work for a Cure

Dr. Carbone said treatment for mesothelioma “has not progressed much.” He added how the medical community switches from one hope to the next regularly.

The current infatuation is with mesothelioma immunotherapy, which has improved survival averages compared to chemotherapy. However, it’s not a cure and doesn’t compare to survival rates after successful surgery.

“Nothing has made a difference,” he said. “What has made a difference is some mesothelioma is linked to genetics and these cases do much better.”

The BAP‑1 gene is the focus of two clinical trials at the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Carbone encouraged patients to apply, as it may lead to groundbreaking research.

If you’d like to meet Dr. Carbone, please contact our medical team. Karen Ritter, our registered nurse and lead advocate of mesothelioma patients, is reachable by email at karen@mesotheliomaguide.com. You can also send us your information through our free Doctor Match website.

Sources & Author

  1. Michele Carbone, MD, PhD. University of Hawaii Cancer Center. Retrieved from: https://www.uhcancercenter.org/carbone-michele. Accessed: 09/22/2021.
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.