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

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. Chiao E, Lensing SY, Wiley DJ, Deshmukh AA, Lee J, Darragh TM, Einstein MH, Jay N, Berry-Lawhorn JM, Palefsky JM, Wilkin T, Barroso LF, Cranston RD, Levine R, Guiot HM, French AL, Citron D, Rezaei MK, Goldstone SE, Stier EA. Screening strategies for the detection of anal high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions in women living with HIV. AIDS. 2020 Sep 17.
    View on PubMed
  2. Strickler HD, Keller MJ, Hessol NA, Eltoum IE, Einstein MH, Castle PE, Massad LS, Flowers L, Rahangdale L, Atrio JM, Ramirez C, Minkoff H, Adimora AA, Ofotokun I, Colie C, Huchko MJ, Fischl M, Wright R, D'Souza G, Leider J, Diaz O, Sanchez-Keeland L, Shrestha S, Xie X, Xue X, Anastos K, Palefsky JM, Burk RD. Primary HPV and Molecular Cervical Cancer Screening in US Women Living with HIV. Clin Infect Dis. 2020 Sep 03.
    View on PubMed
  3. Murenzi G, Kim HY, Munyaneza A, Tuyisenge P, Zawadi TM, Buteera AM, Adedimeji A, Mutesa L, Castle PE, Anastos K, Palefsky JM. Anogenital Human Papillomavirus and HIV Infection in Rwandan Men Who Have Sex With Men. . 2020 Aug 15; 84(5):463-469.
    View on PubMed
  4. Yunihastuti E, Teeratakulpisarn N, Jeo WS, Nilasari H, Rachmadi L, Somia IKA, Sukmawati MDD, Amijaya KAT, Yee IA, Hairunisa N, Hongchookiat P, Trachunthong D, Pankam T, Nonenoy S, Ramautarsing R, Azwa I, Merati TP, Phanuphak P, Phanuphak N, Palefsky JM. Incidence, clearance, persistence and factors related with high-risk anal HPV persistence in South-East Asian MSM and transgender women. AIDS. 2020 Aug 07.
    View on PubMed
  5. Deshmukh AA, Suk R, Shiels MS, Sonawane K, Nyitray AG, Liu Y, Gaisa MM, Palefsky JM, Sigel K. Recent Trends in Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Anus Incidence and Mortality in the United States, 2001-2015. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2020 Aug 01; 112(8):829-838.
    View on PubMed
  6. Hillman R, Cuming T, Jay N, Goldstone S, Berry-Lawhorn M, Barroso L, Nathan M, Palefsky J. Do we really need guidelines for high resolution anoscopy during the COVID-19 pandemic? - Response. Colorectal Dis. 2020 Jun 21.
    View on PubMed
  7. Larsen HK, Hædersdal M, Thomsen LT, Hertzum-Larsen R, Lok TT, Bonde J, Sørensen SS, Hansen JM, Palefsky JM, Kjær SK. Risk of anal high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions among renal transplant recipients compared with immunocompetent controls. Clin Infect Dis. 2020 Jun 16.
    View on PubMed
  8. Nowak RG, Schumaker LM, Ambulos NP, Ndembi N, Dauda W, Nnaji CH, Mitchell A, Mathias TJ, Jibrin P, Darragh TM, Olaomi O, Crowell TA, Baral SD, Charurat ME, Bentzen SM, Palefsky JM, Cullen KJ. Multiple HPV infections among men who have sex with men engaged in anal cancer screening in Abuja, Nigeria. Papillomavirus Res. 2020 May 31; 10:100200.
    View on PubMed
  9. 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. 2020 Apr 10; 70(8):1701-1707.
    View on PubMed
  10. Kelly H, Chikandiwa A, Alemany Vilches L, Palefsky JM, de Sanjose S, Mayaud P. Association of antiretroviral therapy with anal high-risk human papillomavirus, anal intraepithelial neoplasia, and anal cancer in people living with HIV: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet HIV. 2020 04; 7(4):e262-e278.
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  11. Nowak RG, Nnaji CH, Dauda W, Mitchell A, Olaomi O, Jibrin P, Crowell TA, Baral SD, Ndembi N, Charurat ME, Palefsky JM, Bentzen SM, Cullen KJ. Satisfaction with high-resolution anoscopy for anal cancer screening among men who have sex with men: a cross-sectional survey in Abuja, Nigeria. BMC Cancer. 2020 Feb 05; 20(1):98.
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  12. Manyere NR, Dube Mandishora RS, Magwali T, Mtisi F, Mataruka K, Mtede B, Palefsky JM, Chirenje ZM. Human papillomavirus genotype distribution in genital warts among women in Harare-Zimbabwe. J Obstet Gynaecol. 2020 Aug; 40(6):830-836.
    View on PubMed
  13. 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. 2020 Jun 15; 146(12):3320-3328.
    View on PubMed
  14. Faber MT, Frederiksen K, Palefsky JM, Kjaer SK. Risk of Anal Cancer Following Benign Anal Disease and Anal Cancer Precursor Lesions: A Danish Nationwide Cohort Study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2020 01; 29(1):185-192.
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  15. 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. 2020 01; 25(1):79-86.
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  16. 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.
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  17. 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
  18. 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 08; 19(8):880-891.
    View on PubMed
  19. 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.
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  20. 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 04 24; 37(18):2502-2510.
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