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James Rocco, M.D., Ph.D.

Director of Head and Neck Research
Specialty: Head and Neck Surgical Oncology Service
Phone Number: 617-573-3192
Fax: 617-573-4131
Location: 243 Charles Street
Boston, MA 02114
Office Hours: All day Wednesday and select Tuesday afternoons
Board Certification: Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
Ph.D. Physiology and Biophysics, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
M.D. Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Internship Johns Hopkins School of Medicine (General Surgery)
Residency Johns Hopkins School of Medicine (Otolaryngology)
Teaching Affiliation Daniel Miller Associate Professor of Otology and Laryngology, Harvard Medical School
Biographical Profile:

Clinical Interests

Head and neck cancer, melanoma

Research Interests

Advancement in treatment of head and neck cancers. Specifically, Dr. Rocco studies the relationship between infection with human papillomavirus and the incidence of tumors of the oropharynx. His laboratory found that high tumor levels of the protein Bcl2 are related to resistence of tumor cells to chemotherapy and lead to worse outcomes. The laboratory is now investigating whether inhibitors of Bcl2 function might provide an alternative treatment for oropharyngeal tumors that fail to respond to standard therapies due to high Bcl2 levels.

Select Publications

Please see his biosketch

Castleman disease presenting in the neck: Report of a case and review of the literature. Puram SV, Hasserjian RP, Faquin WC, Lin HW, Rocco JW. Am J Otolaryngol. 2013 May-Jun;34(3):239-44.

MATH, a novel measure of intratumor genetic heterogeneity, is high in poor-outcome classes of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Mroz EA, Rocco JW. Oral Oncol. 2013 Mar;49(3):211-5.

Gene expression analysis as a tool in early-stage oral cancer management. Mroz EA, Rocco JW. J Clin Oncol. 2012 Nov 20;30(33):4053-5.

Free flap reconstruction in 1999 and 2009: changing case characteristics and outcomes. Kakarala K, Emerick KS, Lin DT, Rocco JW, Deschler DG. Laryngoscope. 2012 Oct;122(10):2160-3. doi: 10.1002/lary.23457.

Implications of the oropharyngeal cancer epidemic. Mroz EA, Forastiere AA, Rocco JW. J Clin Oncol. 2011 Nov 10;29(32):4222-3.

Pathology quiz case 1. Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) of the thyroid. Lee LN, Hasserjian RP, Faquin WC, Takvorian RW, Rocco JW. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2011 Aug;137(8):829; author reply 832-3.

Pathology quiz case 1. Angiosarcoma. Hammon RJ, Lin HW, Sadow PM, Lin DT, Rocco JW. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2011 Feb;137(2):198, 200-1.

A microRNA-dependent program controls p53-independent survival and chemosensitivity in human and murine squamous cell carcinoma. Ory B, Ramsey MR, Wilson C, Vadysirisack DD, Forster N, Rocco JW, Rothenberg SM, Ellisen LW. J Clin Invest. 2011 Feb;121(2):809-20.

Surgical salvage of the oropharynx after failure of organ-sparing therapy. Nichols AC, Kneuertz PJ, Deschler DG, Lin DT, Emerick KS, Clark JR, Busse PW, Rocco JW. Head Neck. 2011 Apr;33(4):516-24. 

Rosai-Dorfman disease presenting in the oropharynx. Silver AL, Farkash EA, Pitman MB, Rocco JW. Head Neck. 2011 Nov;33(11):1660-3.


A complete list of research publications can be seen at