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Tampa, FL  33613

Phone:  813-793-4272
Fax:  813-374-9495


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Santo V. Nicosia, M.D.

Distinguished University Professor and Chairman of the Department of Pathology and Cell Biology

Biographical Sketch | Interests | Current Research | Major Publications

Education and Training

Contact Information
Phone: (813) 974-2745


Biographical Sketch

     Santo V. Nicosia graduated from the Catholic University School of Medicine in Rome, Italy. Fascinated with the cellular aspects of reproduction, he began a career that led him to residencies in obstetrics and gynecology and pathology, as well as to the study of ovarian biology at the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Medicine.

     In 1984 he was recruited to organize the service of diagnostic cytopathology at two of the University of South Florida College of Medicine’s affiliated hospitals, first at the James A. Haley VA Hospital and then at the Moffitt Cancer Center where he also served as Chief of Pathology until 2000. He is currently Distinguished University Professor and Chairman of the Department of Pathology and Cell Biology at USF Health College of Medicine.  

     His basic and clinical and basic research, illustrated in over 178 manuscripts and book chapters, focuses on ovarian cancer biology and on the cytological diagnosis of breast lesions as well as on the detection of residual and micrometastatic mammary cancer in lumpectomy margins and sentinel lymph nodes. He serves on the editorial boards of CytoJournal and In Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology and is a member of the C-GRB Study Section of the National Cancer Institute. He is Past Secretary-Treasurer of the American Society of Cytopathology, an organization which he previously served as Director of the Annual Cytopathology Review Course and panelist or moderator of Diagnostic Slide Seminars. 

     He was listed in the 2006 Guide to America’s Top Physicians and, for the past 6 years, has been cited in the Best Doctors in America - Southeast Region. He is widower of Louise M. Pineider and father of three delightful professional women.


Medical history, travel photography.

Current Research

     Clinical Research: Recent trends toward conservative surgery for breast cancer and increasing detection of smaller invasive malignancies have shifted the traditional surgical approach from mastectomy to lumpectomy and from complete axillary lymph node dissection to sentinel lymph node biopsy in order to avoid extensive procedures in node-negative women. In collaboration with Dr. Charles Cox, we have developed imprint cytology procedures for the intraoperative analysis of lumpectomy margins and sentinel lymph nodes that allow for a rapid analysis of residual and metastatic disease in breast cancer patients without loss of diagnostic tissue and artifacts associated with pathological evaluation by the traditional frozen section method.

     Basic research: This research focuses on the mechanisms that regulate the development of the most lethal gynecologic malignancy, epithelial ovarian cancer. In particular, our laboratory is interested in genes and gene products involved in the morphogenesis of serous papillary neoplasms. Using DNA microarray analysis, tissue morphogens such as FGF18, ephrins, Hox B7 and BMP7 have been identified. As a member of an International Consortium on early ovarian cancer detection, our group is also investigating the contribution of Fallopian tubes to epithelial ovarian carcinogenesis in high risk women.

     Translational research: We have previously shown that vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) stimulates ovarian epithelial morphogenesis and plays an important role in ovarian cancer related-angiogenesis and tumor progression. Translating these results to the bedside, our laboratory has evaluated the expression of angiogenic (VEGF and hepatocyte growth factor) and angiostatic (angiostatin and endostatin) factors in women with benign and malignant ovarian lesions and shown that seriousness of clinical status correlates best with urinary levels of angiostatin. The utility of urinary angiostatin as a biomarker of early epithelial ovarian cancer and cancer progression is now under investigation in a large cohort of women.

Major Publications

USF Breast News

SAVI Scout Breast Surgical Guidance System Presentation Receives Scientific Impact Award. 
05/17/2016 Tampa, FL
SAVI Scout, available since 2015, is a breast lesion localization tool that uses micro-impulse radar to localize and direct the removal of non-palpable breast lesions. The technology was quickly adopted by breast cancer physicians and is now available in more than 50 medical centers across the country...