James C. Yao, MD
Photo: James Yao



Elected 2019

Neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) were previously thought be rare diseases where publications were frequently based on anecdotes, retrospective series, and small single arm studies. Prospective controlled clinical trials were rarely pursued leading to slow progress. Using population-based registries, Dr. Yao demonstrated that the diagnosed incidence of NETs has been increasing and the prevalence of the disease is high due to the rising incidence and longer survival. Over the past two decades, Dr. Yao and colleague have transformed the neuroendocrine field to one that is evidence-based and where rigorous controlled clinical trials are the norm. He has led investigator initiated proof-of-concept phase II studies using VEGF and mTOR inhibitors that led to five multi-center national or international clinical trials including the phase III RADIANT-3 study that advanced the standard of care for pancreatic NETs and the phase III RADIANT-4 study that set the standard of care for lung and GI NETs.

Dr. Yao is also a strong proponent of mentoring and education. He is a founding member and past-chairman of the North American Neuroendocrine Society (NANETS). Through the society, he helped to establish two Young Investigator Awards funding early career investigators. He is also the past-chair of the NCI Neuroendocrine Taskforce. During his tenure, early career and female investigators led more than 50% of multi-centered clinical trials developed through the Neuroendocrine Taskforce.

Dr. Yao has strong interest in novel clinical trial designs as well as biomarker development. He recently demonstrated that it is possible to quantify and improve the positive predictive value phase 2 studies by objectively assessing the prior probability of success. He previously served as a Principal Investigator on the NCI N01 phase II contract and U01 phase 1 grant and currently serve as a Principal Investigator on an ETCTN UM1 Grant.