University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Joel M. Palefsky, MD

Joel M. Palefsky, MD

Professor of Medicine, Department of Infectious Diseases, UCSF

Cancer Center Program Memberships

Cancer Control

Research Summary

I am the founder and chair of the HPV Working Group of the NCI AIDS Malignancy Consortium and the head of the AMC HPV Virology Core Lab. I have extensive experience in studying the molecular biology of HPV infection in HIV-positive men and women and in the design and implementation of clinical research trials of HPV-related disease in this population. I am the protocol chair of the ANCHOR study, an eight-year, 15-site NCI/NIH-funded randomized controlled trial designed to determine whether treatment of anal high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions prevents anal cancer in HIV-infected men and women.
As the founder and director of the Anal Neoplasia Clinic, Research and Education Center at UCSF, I oversee training of clinicians from around the world in high-resolution anoscopy, anal biopsy, and office-based treatment. I have an active international research program, including currently active studies in India, Costa Rica and Thailand. I have published over 275 papers and am the PI on several laboratory-based and clinical research studies of HPV-associated neoplasia, particularly in the setting of HIV infection.
I am currently the president of the International Papillomavirus Society and the founder and immediate past president of the International Anal Neoplasia Society. I have been the leader of the UCSF Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Clinical Research Fellowship Program for medical students since 2001; since 2006, I have led a T32 program devoted to training pre-doctoral students in clinical and translational research. These year-out programs provide support for an intensive year of coursework and project-oriented research with the goal of stimulating pre-doctoral students to pursue further training and careers in clinical and translational research.

Education

McGill University, Montreal, Canada, M.D.,C.M., 1980, Medicine
Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal, Canada, F.R.C.P(C), 1984, Internal Medicine
Stanford University, Stanford, CA, D.A.B.I.M. (Infec Dis), 1989, Medical Microbiology/Infectious Disease


Professional Experience

  • 1980 – 1983
    Residency in Internal Medicine, Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal, Canada
  • 1983 – 1984
    Post-doctoral Fellow, Dept of Microbiology & Immunology, McGill Univ., Montreal, Canada
  • 1984 – 1984
    Chief Medical Resident, Royal Victoria Hospital, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
  • 1985 – 1989
    Post-doctoral Fellow, Division of Infectious Diseases, Stanford University
  • 1989 – 1995
    Assistant Professor, Departments of Laboratory Medicine and Stomatology
  • 1990 – Present
    Director, UCSF Anal Neoplasia Clinic
  • 1995 – 1999
    Associate Professor, Departments of Laboratory Medicine and Stomatology
  • 1999 – Present
    Professor, Departments of Medicine, Laboratory Medicine and Stomatology
  • 1998 – 2006
    Program Director, UCSF General Clinical Research Center
  • 2006 – 2009
    Associate Dean for Clinical and Translational Research

Honors & Awards


  • 1976
    University Scholarship McGill University
  • 1985
    Medical Research Council of Canada Fellowship Medical Research Council of Canada
  • 1988
    American Social Health Association Fellowship American Social Health Association
  • 2003
    Elected to American Society for Clinical Investigation
  • 2005
    Award for excellence in small group instruction, UCSF
  • 2006, 2012
    Award of Merit American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology
  • 2008
    Award for excellence in small group instruction, UCSF
  • 2011
    Fieldhouse-Myers Oration Christian Medical College, Vellore, India
  • 2012
    Top Doctor (US News and World Report) (Infectious Diseases)
  • 2013
    America's Top Doctor, Castle and Connelly
  • 2013
    Super Doctor, San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Magazine
  • 2014
    Elected Member American Association of Physicians

Selected Publications

  1. Faber MT, Frederiksen K, Palefsky J, Kjaer SK. Risk of anal cancer following benign anal disease and anal cancer precursor lesions: A Danish nationwide cohort study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2019 Oct 09.
    View on PubMed
  2. Castle PE, Burk RD, Massad LS, Eltoum IE, Hall CB, Hessol NA, Anastos K, Xie X, Minkoff H, Xue X, D'Souza G, Flowers L, Colie C, Rahangdale L, Fischl MA, Palefsky JM, Strickler HD. Epidemiological Evidence that Common HPV Types May Be Common Because of Their Ability to Evade Immune Surveillance: Results from the Women's Interagency HIV Study. Int J Cancer. 2019 Oct 02.
    View on PubMed
  3. Walhart T, Isaacson-Wechsler E, Ang KH, Arkin M, Tugizov S, Palefsky JM. A Cell-Based Renilla Luminescence Reporter Plasmid Assay for High-Throughput Screening to Identify Novel FDA-Approved Drug Inhibitors of HPV-16 Infection. SLAS Discov. 2019 Jul 30; 2472555219860771.
    View on PubMed
  4. Stier EA, Lensing SY, Darragh TM, Deshmukh AA, Einstein MH, Palefsky JM, Jay N, Berry-Lawhorn JM, Wilkin T, Wiley DJ, Barroso LF, Cranston RD, Levine R, Guiot HM, French AL, Citron D, Rezaei MK, Goldstone SE, Chiao E. Prevalence of and Risk Factors for Anal High-grade Squamous Intraepithelial Lesions in Women Living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus. Clin Infect Dis. 2019 Jul 11.
    View on PubMed
  5. Vonsky M, Shabaeva M, Runov A, Lebedeva N, Chowdhury S, Palefsky JM, Isaguliants M. Carcinogenesis Associated with Human Papillomavirus Infection. Mechanisms and Potential for Immunotherapy. Biochemistry (Mosc). 2019 Jul; 84(7):782-799.
    View on PubMed
  6. Nowak RG, Ndembi N, Dauda W, Jibrin P, Bentzen SM, Nnaji CH, Olaomi O, Darragh TM, Madukwe J, Crowell TA, Baral SD, Blattner WA, Charurat ME, Palefsky JM, Cullen KJ. Implementation of and Early Outcomes From Anal Cancer Screening at a Community-Engaged Health Care Facility Providing Care to Nigerian Men Who Have Sex With Men. J Glob Oncol. 2019 07; 5:1-11.
    View on PubMed
  7. Lin C, Slama J, Gonzalez P, Goodman MT, Xia N, Kreimer AR, Wu T, Hessol NA, Shvetsov Y, Ortiz AP, Grinsztejn B, Moscicki AB, Heard I, Del Refugio González Losa M, Kojic EM, Schim van der Loeff MF, Wei F, Longatto-Filho A, Mbulawa ZA, Palefsky JM, Sohn AH, Hernandez BY, Robison K, Simpson S, Conley LJ, de Pokomandy A, van der Sande MAB, Dube Mandishora RS, Volpini LPB, Pierangeli A, Romero B, Wilkin T, Franceschi S, Hidalgo-Tenorio C, Ramautarsing RA, Park IU, Tso FK, Godbole S, D'Hauwers KWM, Sehnal B, Menezes LJ, Heráclio SA, Clifford GM. Cervical determinants of anal HPV infection and high-grade anal lesions in women: a collaborative pooled analysis. Lancet Infect Dis. 2019 Aug; 19(8):880-891.
    View on PubMed
  8. Hillman RJ, Berry-Lawhorn JM, Ong JJ, Cuming T, Nathan M, Goldstone S, Richel O, Barrosso LF, Darragh TM, Law C, Bouchard C, Stier EA, Palefsky JM, Jay N. International Anal Neoplasia Society Guidelines for the Practice of Digital Anal Rectal Examination. J Low Genit Tract Dis. 2019 Apr; 23(2):138-146.
    View on PubMed
  9. Pinto LA, Wilkin TJ, Kemp TJ, Abrahamsen M, Isaacs-Soriano K, Pan Y, Webster-Cyriaque J, Palefsky JM, Giuliano AR. Oral and systemic HPV antibody kinetics post-vaccination among HIV-positive and HIV-negative men. Vaccine. 2019 Apr 24; 37(18):2502-2510.
    View on PubMed
  10. Goldstone SE, Lensing SY, Stier EA, Darragh T, Lee JY, van Zante A, Jay N, Berry-Lawhorn JM, Cranston RD, Mitsuyasu R, Aboulafia D, Palefsky JM, Wilkin T. A Randomized Clinical Trial of Infrared Coagulation Ablation Versus Active Monitoring of Intra-anal High-grade Dysplasia in Adults With Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection: An AIDS Malignancy Consortium Trial. Clin Infect Dis. 2019 Mar 19; 68(7):1204-1212.
    View on PubMed
  11. Hillman RJ, Berry-Lawhorn JM, Ong JJ, Cuming T, Nathan M, Goldstone S, Richel O, F Barrosso L, M Darragh T, Law C, Bouchard C, Stier EA, Palefsky JM, Jay N. International Anal Neoplasia Society Guidelines for the Practice of Digital Anal Rectal Examination. J Low Genit Tract Dis. 2019 Mar 19.
    View on PubMed
  12. Einstein MH, Ndlovu N, Lee J, Stier EA, Kotzen J, Garg M, Whitney K, Lensing SY, Tunmer M, Kadzatsa W, Palefsky J, Krown SE. Cisplatin and radiation therapy in HIV-positive women with locally advanced cervical cancer in sub-Saharan Africa: A phase II study of the AIDS malignancy consortium. Gynecol Oncol. 2019 04; 153(1):20-25.
    View on PubMed
  13. Adedimeji A, Sinayobye JD, Asiimwe-Kateera B, Chaudhry J, Buzinge L, Gitembagara A, Murenzi G, Mugenzi P, Patel VV, Castle PE, Mutesa L, Palefsky J, Anastos KM. Social contexts as mediator of risk behaviors in Rwandan men who have sex with men (MSM): Implications for HIV and STI transmission. PLoS One. 2019; 14(1):e0211099.
    View on PubMed
  14. Kahn JA, Belzer M, Chi X, Lee J, Gaur AH, Mayer K, Martinez J, Futterman DC, Stier EA, Paul ME, Chiao EY, Reirden D, Goldstone SE, Ortiz Martinez AP, Cachay ER, Barroso LF, Da Costa M, Wilson CM, Palefsky JM. Pre-vaccination prevalence of anogenital and oral human papillomavirus in young HIV-infected men who have sex with men. Papillomavirus Res. 2019 06; 7:52-61.
    View on PubMed
  15. Atkinson TM, Palefsky J, Li Y, Webb A, Berry JM, Goldstone S, Levine R, Wilkin TJ, Bucher G, Cella D, Burkhalter JE. Reliability and between-group stability of a health-related quality of life symptom index for persons with anal high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions: an AIDS Malignancy Consortium Study (AMC-A03). Qual Life Res. 2019 May; 28(5):1265-1269.
    View on PubMed
  16. Wang CJ, Palefsky JM. HPV-Associated Anal Cancer in the HIV/AIDS Patient. Cancer Treat Res. 2019; 177:183-209.
    View on PubMed
  17. Colie C, Michel KG, Massad LS, Wang C, D'Souza G, Rahangdale L, Flowers L, Milam J, Palefsky JM, Minkoff H, Strickler HD, Kassaye SG. Natural History of Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia-2 in HIV-Positive Women of Reproductive Age. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2018 12 15; 79(5):573-579.
    View on PubMed
  18. Keller MJ, Burk RD, Massad LS, Eltoum IE, Hessol NA, Anastos K, Xie X, Minkoff H, Xue X, Reimers LL, Kuniholm M, D'Souza G, Colie C, Aouizerat B, Palefsky JM, Strickler HD. Racial differences in human papilloma virus types amongst United States women with HIV and cervical precancer. AIDS. 2018 11 28; 32(18):2821-2826.
    View on PubMed
  19. Chinyowa S, Palefsky JM, Chirenje ZM, Makunike-Mutasa R, Munjoma M, Muguti GI. Anal human papillomavirus infection in HIV-positive men and women at two opportunistic infections clinics in Harare, Zimbabwe. BMC Public Health. 2018 Nov 14; 18(1):1260.
    View on PubMed
  20. Samwel K, Kahesa C, Mwaiselage J, Gonzalez D, West JT, Wood C, Palefsky J, Angeletti PC. Analytical performance of a low-cost multiplex polymerase chain reaction human papillomavirus genotyping assay for use in Sub-Saharan Africa. J Med Virol. 2019 02; 91(2):308-316.
    View on PubMed

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