William Carson, MD

The James Cancer Center
William Carson

Clinical Expertise

  • Surgical Oncology
  • Breast Cancer
  • Melanoma
  • Triple Negative Breast Cancer
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I am a professor of surgery at the Ohio State University and am the associate director for clinical research at the OSUCCC – James.

I am a surgical oncologist whose clinical interests include the surgical treatment of breast cancer and the therapy of advanced melanoma using targeted agents and novel activators of the immune system. I specialize in the surgical treatment of breast cancer using a multi-disciplinary approach. I am especially interested in the negative effects of stress and anxiety on surgical outcomes and methods to reverse these psychological factors.

My research laboratory, which began in 1995 at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute and moved to Ohio State when I was recruited here in June 1997, studies the immune system and how it interacts with the tumor microenvironment. My laboratory team explores immune-based methods to enhance the elimination of tumor cells in experimental models of cancer. We are often able to move our discoveries into the clinic in the form of phase I and II clinical studies to help cancer patients. It is our belief that the patient’s own immune system is a very powerful tool in the fight against cancer and that many therapies that are believed to have a direct ability to kill cancer cells (for example, chemotherapy and radiation therapy) also need the patient’s immune system to help out in order to fully remove the cancer. I have a number of cancer research grants to study novel immune-based approaches for treating advanced melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer.

In addition to my clinical, research, educational and leadership roles at Ohio State, I serve as the institutional principal investigator for the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) and as vice-chair of the Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG) Melanoma Committee. SWOG is one of the largest cancer clinical trials cooperative groups in the United States. Its primary mission is to improve the practice of medicine in preventing, detecting and treating cancer. As vice-chair of the Melanoma Committee, I help develop clinical trials in this disease and work to engage new investigators in the cooperative group process both at Ohio State and at other institutions across the United States. I am a member of the National Cancer Institute panel that reviews cancer centers across the United Sates – NCI IRGA. I also belong to several societies, including the Society of Surgical Oncology and the Society for the Immunotherapy of Cancer. In addition, I was recently named vice chair of surgery for academic affairs at Ohio State. In this role, I help surgeons in my department succeed academically and be promoted. I earned my MD at the University of Southern California and performed my general surgery training at the University of California Irvine Medical Center. My surgical oncology training was at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

Education and Background


  • University of Southern California School of Medicine

    Los Angeles, CA


  • University of California, Irvine

    Irvine, CA


  • Surgical Oncology

    Roswell Park Cancer Institute

Board Certifications

  • American Board of Surgery

Academic Department

  • Department of Surgery
  • Division of Surgical Oncology


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