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Mark N. Polizzotto, M.B., B.S., B.Med.Sc

Portait Photo of Mark Polizzotto
HIV and AIDS Malignancy Branch
Retroviral Disease Section
Assistant Clinical Investigator
Center for Cancer Research
National Cancer Institute
Building 10 - Room 6N106
Bethesda, MD 20892


Dr. Polizzotto completed his medical degree at the University of Western Australia, including training in laboratory research at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, leading to a Bachelor of Medical Science from the University of Melbourne. He then completed specialty training in internal medicine at St. Vincent's Hospital Melbourne and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Center and subspecialty training in hematology and hematopathology at the Alfred Hospital Melbourne, leading to fellowships of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia. He received further subspecialty training in the HIV/AIDS Malignancy Branch of the Center for Cancer Research at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), including a Ph.D. jointly at NCI and the University of Melbourne. He commenced his present position under the auspices of the competitive National Institutes of Health Clinical Investigator Development Program.


Dr Polizzotto's research focuses on the pathophysiology and therapy of viral malignancies, particularly as they occur in individuals with HIV and other immune deficiencies.

Key areas of focus include:
1. Exploration of the pathophysiology and natural history of two inflammatory disorders associated with Kaposi sarcoma herpesvirus (also called human herpesvirus 8): multicentric Castleman disease (KSHV-MCD), a lymphoproliferative disorder, and also a novel inflammatory syndrome described by our group, the KSHV inflammatory cytokine syndrome (KICS). Key achievements here included the description of the joint roles of viral and human cytokines in the pathophysiology of KSHV-MCD, and prospective characterization of clinical and immunological characteristics of patients with KICS.
2. Early phase clinical studies in herpesvirus associated malignancies, focusing on
immune modulatory and virus-activated approaches to tumors caused by Kaposi sarcoma herpesvirus (also called human herpesvirus 8) and Epstein Barr virus. These include phase 1/2 studies of the immune modulatory agent pomalidomide in Kaposi sarcoma; studies of virus activated-cytotoxic therapy for KSHV-MCD; and studies of chemoimmunotherapeutic approaches to KSHV-MCD, KICS, primary effusion lymphoma (PEL) and EBV-associated primary CNS lymphoma.
3. Development of novel imaging strategies for herpesvirus associated malignancies, with a focus on approaches to delineate sites of viral activity and distinguish comorbid conditions (including HIV and its complications) from the malignancy. Key achievements here include descriptions of the utility of 18-FDG-PET in KSHV-MCD and of the utility of non-invasive multispectral imaging in KS, with exploration of the potential role of functional imaging in KS, KICS and PEL continuing.

Dr Polizzotto's active collaborations include those with investigators in the Viral Oncology Section of the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research (Dr Denise Whitby); the HIV Drug Resistance Program of the National Cancer Institute (Dr Frank Maldarelli); the Laboratory of Immunoregulation of the National Institute of Allergy Infectious Diseases (Dr Irini Sereti); the School of Public Health of Monash University Melbourne (Dr Erica Wood, Dr Zoe McQuilten, and Prof John McNeil); the Burnet Institute Melbourne (Dr Christina Chang); and Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center (Dr Harold Tjalsma). He also serves on the independent endpoint review committee for AIDS Clinical Trial Group/AIDS Malignancy Consortium clinical trials being undertaken in Africa.

This page was last updated on 4/21/2014.