NaotoT. Ueno, MD, PhD

Naoto T. Ueno, MD, PhD, FACP

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Director, University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center
Interim Program Co-Leader, Cancer Biology Program, Translational and Clinical Research, University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center
Full Member, Cancer Biology Program, Translational and Clinical Research, University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center

Academic Appointment(s):
Professor (Researcher), University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Professor, Department of Medicine, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

MD, Wakayama Medical College, Japan
PhD, Cancer Biology, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
Clinical Residency, Internal Medicine, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
Clinical Fellowship, Medical Oncology and Blood and Marrow Transplantation, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center


2018-2019 - MD Anderson Distinguished Clinical Faculty Mentor Award
2013-2014 - Regents Outstanding Teaching Award, The University of Texas System
2012-Present - Waun Ki Hong Award for Excellence in Team Science, Division of Cancer Medicine Faculty Recognition and Awards Program
2011 - Amgen Basic Research Award, 2nd Prize for Mentoring, MDA
2009 - 6th Annual Robert M. Chamberlain Distinguished Mentor Award, MDA Postdoctoral Association

Research Focus

Dr. Ueno has a strong background in translational breast cancer research in cancer biology, immuno-oncology, and molecular therapeutics. He is one of the leaders in conducting clinical research and early-phase clinical trials related to aggressive breast cancer and has led more than 50 clinical trials. Dr. Ueno has extensive experience in conducting both targeted therapy-related and immunotherapy-related clinical trials in phase I and II settings. He expanded his research to include several protein enzymes, including Mitogen-activated protein, Extracellular signal-regulated kinase (MAPK/ERK), and C-JUN N-terminal kinase, among other protein enzymes to determine their role in breast cancer progression and their applications in the development of targeted therapy and immunotherapy. Over the past 10 years, Dr. Ueno has successfully managed projects in breast cancer biology related to triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), inflammatory breast cancer (IBC), and the tumor microenvironment.

Dr. Ueno is passionate about developing innovative therapies for advanced breast cancer. He started his career developing gene therapy for breast cancer and prepared for an Investigational New Drug application to conduct a study of gene therapies for metastatic breast cancer. His focus has been on novel combination therapy, IBC, and TNBC. Currently, Dr. Ueno is the lead national PI on antibody-conjugate drugs-related clinical trials.

Selected Publications

Wang X, Semba T, Manyam GC, Wang J, Shao S, Bertucci F, Finetti P, Krishnamurthy S, Phi LTH, Pearson T, Van Laere SJ, Burks JK, Cohen EN, Reuben JM, Yang F, Min H, Navin N, Trinh VN, Iwase T, Batra H, Shen Y, Zhang X, Tripathy D, Ueno NT. (2022). EGFR is a master switch between immunosuppressive and immunoactive tumor microenvironment in inflammatory breast cancer. Sci Adv; Dec 16;8(50):eabn7983. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abn7983. Epub Dec 16. PMID: 36525493; PMCID: PMC9757751.

Modi S, Jacot W, Yamashita T, Sohn J, Vidal M, Tokunaga E, Tsurutani J, Ueno NT, Prat A, Chae YS, Lee KS, Niikura N, Park YH, Xu B, Wang X, Gil-Gil M, Li W, Pierga JY, Im SA, Moore HCF, Rugo HS, Yerushalmi R, Zagouri F, Gombos A, Kim SB, Liu Q, Luo T, Saura C, Schmid P, Sun T, Gambhire D, Yung L, Wang Y, Singh J, Vitazka P, Meinhardt G, Harbeck N, Cameron DA; DESTINY-Breast04 Trial Investigators. (2022). Trastuzumab Deruxtecan in Previously Treated HER2-Low Advanced Breast Cancer. N Engl J Med; Jul 7;387(1):9-20. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa2203690. Epub Jun 5. PMID: 35665782.

Masuda H, Harano K, Miura S, Wang Y, Hirota Y, Harada O, Jolly MK, Matsunaga Y, Lim B, Wood AL, Parinyanitikul N, Jin Lee H, Gong G, George JT, Levine H, Lee J, Wang X, Lucci A, Rao A, Schweitzer BL, Lawrence OR, Seitz RS, Morris SW, Hout DR, Nakamura S, Krishnamurthy S, Ueno NT. (2022). Changes in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Molecular Subtypes in Patients Without Pathologic Complete Response After Neoadjuvant Systemic Chemotherapy. JCO Precis Oncol; Mar;6:e2000368. doi: 10.1200/PO.20.00368. PMID: 35294223; PMCID: PMC8939918.

Semba T, Wang X, Xie X, Cohen EN, Reuben JM, Dalby KN, Long JP, Phi LTH, Tripathy D, Ueno NT. (2022).  Identification of the JNK-Active Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Cluster Associated With an Immunosuppressive Tumor Microenvironment. J Natl Cancer Inst; Jan 11;114(1):97-108. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djab128. PMID: 34250544; PMCID: PMC8755499.

Complete publication list via PubMed

Active Grants

Ueno (PI)
University of Hawaii Cancer Center CCSG
07/01/1997 – 06/30/2024

Ueno (PI)
Hoʻola: Early Phase Clinical Research Center
10/01/19 – 09/30/24

Ueno (PI)
"Development of a novel therapy targeting the tumor microenvironment in inflammatory breast cancer"
03/01/2022 – 02/28/2027

Wang (PI); Role: Co-investigator
"Enhancing Axl-targeted therapy in inflammatory breast cancer"
09/15/2021 – 09/14/2024