Dr. Igor Puzanov, Chief of Melanoma at Roswell Park, is co-chair of two cancer research meetings happening in Italy this week. Igor Puzanov, MD, MSCI, FACP

Igor Puzanov

Medical Oncology
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Top Doctors 2021

Specializing In:

Early Phase Clinical Trials/Phase I Clinical Trials Melanoma Cancer Immunotherapy/Experimental Therapeutics Precision Medicine

About Igor Puzanov


In my role as a Clinical Professor of Medicine, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University at Buffalo, Professor of Medicine and Director of Early Phase Clinical Trials Program in the Department of Medicine at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, I am developing novel therapies for patients with cancer. This includes clinical trials from early pre-clinical phase through phase I/II/III with emphasis on combination of immune and targeted agents, novel drug design, including histology-agnostic trial development of targeted therapies. I also provide advice on regulatory requirements and necessary steps associated with advancing drugs, devices and imaging agents toward clinical trials in patients.

In my professional career, I have focused both on developing precision medicine agents as well as immunotherapies. In the first in human trial of PLX4032/vemurafenib our team has provided critical PK/PD data that led to the first in class/ first in human FDA-approved BRAF inhibitor. My interest and expertise in immunotherapy started in early 1990s with animal models of IL-2 and IL-15 cytokines and natural killer cell development, continued with high dose IL-2 studies and subsequently Phase I-III trials with both CTLA-4 and PD1/PDL-1 checkpoint inhibitors. Our team was instrumental in the development of talimogene laherparepvec, the first in human oncolytic virus therapy for patients with melanoma. Recently, we have explored immunotherapy combinations with targeted agents as well as combinations of oncolytic viruses with checkpoint inhibitors.

Our work was instrumental in several FDA approvals of breakthrough anti-cancer drugs (vemurafenib, dabrafenib+trametinib, vemurafenib+cobimetinib, pembrolizumab, talimogene laherparepvec) and resulted in almost 100 manuscripts, including New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, Journal of Clinical Oncology, JAMA, Nature. I am a member of American Society of Medical Oncology, Society of Immunotherapy in Cancer, ACP, AACR and Society of Melanoma Research and serve as an editor and reviewer for several peer reviewed journals.


Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center

  • Senior Vice President, Clinical Investigation
  • Professor of Oncology, Department of Medicine
  • Director, Center for Early Phase Clinical Trials
  • Co-Leader, CCSG Developmental Therapeutics Program
  • Chief, Early Phase Clinical Trials Division
  • Chief, Melanoma Section
  • The Judith and Stanford Lipsey Endowed Chair in Clinical Cancer Research

Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University at Buffalo

  • Professor of Medicine


Education and Training:

  • 1991 - MD - 3rd Faculty of Medicine, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic
  • 2007 - Master of Science in Clinical Investigation, Vanderbilt University, Nashville TN


  • 2001 - UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, Parkland Memorial Hospital


  • 2005 - Vanderbilt University, Nashville TN

Board Certification:

  • Medical Oncology
  • Internal Medicine

Professional Memberships:

  • American Society of Medical Oncology
  • Society of Immunotherapy in Cancer
  • American College of Physicians
  • American Association for Cancer Research
  • Society of Melanoma Research

Clinical Trials

Featured on Cancer Talk


Full Publications list on PubMed

1. Flaherty KT, Puzanov I, Kim KB, Ribas A, McArthur GA, Sosman JA, O’Dwyer PJ, Lee RJ, Grippo JF, Nolop K, and Chapman, PB. Inhibition of mutated, activated BRAF in metastatic melanoma. New England Journal of Medicine. 2010, 26;363(9):809-19. PMID:20818844 

2. Ribas A, Puzanov I, Dummer R, Schadendorf D, Hamid O, Robert C, Hodi FS, Schachter J, Pavlick AC, Lewis KD, Cranmer LD, Blank CU, O'Day SJ, Ascierto PA, Salama AK, Margolin KA, Loquai C, Eigentler TK, Gangadhar TC, Carlino MS, Agarwala SS, Moschos SJ, Sosman JA, Goldinger SM, Shapira-Frommer R, Gonzalez R, Kirkwood JM, Wolchok JD, Eggermont A, Li XN, Zhou W, Zernhelt AM, Lis J, Ebbinghaus S, Kang SP, Daud A. Pembrolizumab versus investigator-choice chemotherapy for ipilimumab-refractory melanoma (KEYNOTE-002): a randomised, controlled, phase 2 trial. Lancet Oncol. 2015 Aug;16(8):908-18. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(15)00083-2. Epub 2015 Jun 23. PMID: 26115796 

3. Hyman DM*, Puzanov I*, Subbiah V*, Faris JE, Chau I, Blay JY, Wolf J, Raje NS, Diamond EL, Hollebecque A, Gervais R, Elez-Fernandez ME, Italiano A, Hofheinz RD, Hidalgo M, Chan E, Schuler M, Lasserre SF, Makrutzki M, Sirzen F, Veronese ML, Tabernero J^, Baselga J^.
Vemurafenib in multiple nonmelanoma cancers with BRAF V600 mutations. N Engl J Med. 2015 Aug 20;373(8):726-36. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1502309. PMID: 26287849 *DMH, IP and VS contributed equally, ^JT, JB contributed equally.

4. Puzanov I, Milhem MM, Minor D, Hamid O, Li A, Chen L, Chastain M, Gorski KS, Anderson
A, Chou J, Kaufman HL, Andtbacka RH. Talimogenelaherparepvec in combination with ipilimumab in previously untreated, unresectable stage IIIB-IV melanoma. J Clin Oncol. 2016 Aug 1;34(22):2619-26. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2016.67.1529. Epub 2016 Jun 13. PMID: 27298410 

5. Johnson DB, Balko JM, Compton ML, Chalkias S, Gorham J, Xu Y, Hicks M, Puzanov I, Alexander MR, Bloomer TL, Becker JR, Slosky DA, Phillips EJ, Pilkinton MA, Craig-Owens L, Kola N, Plautz G, Reshef DS, Deutsch JS, Deering RP, Olenchock BA, Lichtman AH, Roden DM, Seidman CE, Koralnik IJ, Seidman JG, Hoffman RD, Taube JM, Diaz LA Jr, Anders RA, Sosman JA, Moslehi JJ. Fulminant Myocarditis with Combination Immune Checkpoint Blockade. N Engl J Med. 2016 Nov 3;375(18):1749-1755. PMID: 27806233 

6. Kaufman HL, Andtbacka RHI, Collichio FA, Wolf M, Zhao Z, Shilkrut M, Puzanov I, Ross M. Durable response rate as an endpoint in cancer immunotherapy: insights from oncolytic virus clinical trials. J Immunother Cancer. 2017 Sep 19;5(1):72. doi: 10.1186/s40425-017-0276-8. PMID:28923101 

7. Chesney J, Puzanov I, Collichio F, Singh P, Milhem MM, Glaspy J, Hamid O, Ross M, Friedlander P, Garbe C, Logan TF, Hauschild A, Lebbé C, Chen L, Kim JJ, Gansert J, Andtbacka RHI, Kaufman HL. Randomized, Open-Label Phase II Study Evaluating the Efficacy and Safety of Talimogene Laherparepvec in Combination With Ipilimumab Versus Ipilimumab Alone in Patients With Advanced, Unresectable Melanoma. J Clin Oncol. 2017 Oct 5: JCO2017737379. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2017.73.7379. [Epub ahead of print] PMID:28981385

8. Puzanov I, Diab A, Abdallah K, Bingham CO 3rd, Brogdon C, Dadu R, Hamad L, Kim S, Lacouture ME, LeBoeuf NR, Lenihan D, Onofrei C, Shannon V, Sharma R, Silk AW, Skondra D, Suarez-Almazor ME, Wang Y, Wiley K, Kaufman HL, Ernstoff MS. Managing toxicities associated with immune checkpoint inhibitors: consensus recommendations from the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) Toxicity Management Working Group. Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer Toxicity Management Working Group.J Immunother Cancer. 2017 Nov 21;5(1):95. doi: 10.1186/s40425-017-0300-z. PMID: 29162153

9. Tawbi HA, Forsyth PA, Algazi A, Hamid O, Hodi FS, Moschos SJ, Khushalani NI, Lewis K, Lao CD, Postow MA, Atkins MB, Ernstoff MS, Reardon DA, Puzanov I, Kudchadkar RR, Thomas RP, Tarhini A, Pavlick AC, Jiang J, Avila A, Demelo S, Margolin K. Combined nivolumab and ipilimumab in melanoma metastatic to the brain. 
N Engl J Med. 2018 Aug 23;379(8):722-730. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1805453. 
PMID: 30134131 

10. Ribas A, Dummer R, Puzanov I, VanderWalde A, Andtbacka RHI, Michielin O, Olszanski AJ, Malvehy J, Cebon J, Fernandez E, Kirkwood JM, Gajewski TF, Chen L, Gorski KS, Anderson AA, Diede SJ, Lassman ME, Gansert J, Hodi FS, Long GV. Oncolytic Virotherapy Promotes Intratumoral T Cell Infiltration and Improves Anti-PD-1 Immunotherapy. Cell. 2018 Aug 9;174(4):1031-1032. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2018.07.035. PubMed PMID: 30096300