Department of Medicine
Faculty Profiles by Division

Division of Hematology/Oncology

Faculty Profiles

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photo Liza C. Villaruz, MD


Associate Professor of Medicine

Co-Leader, Immunotherapy and Drug Development Center (IDDC)

UPMC Hillman Cancer Center


Phone: 412-648-6589

Office: UPMC Cancer Pavilion
5150 Centre Avenue, 5th Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15232
Phone: 412-648-6589
Fax: 412-648-6579
Administrative Assistant:
Alice A. Petrovich
Address: 5150 Centre Avenue
UPMC Cancer Pavilion, 5th floor, Cube 570
Pittsburgh, PA 15232
Phone: 412-648-6589
Fax: 412-648-6579
Education and Training
BS, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, 2001
MD, University of Maryland School of Medicine, 2005
Internal Medicine Residency, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, 2008
Hematology/Oncology Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, 2011
Research Interest
Dr. Liza C. Villaruz is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh and the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center (HCC) and Co-Leader of the Immunotherapy and Drug Development Center (IDDC) at the UPMC HCC. She is a clinical and translational investigator in lung cancer with a focus on early drug development. She has active involvement in current clinical trials and a strong track record of successful development of institutional clinical trials with the National Cancer Institute and with industry partners. She is the co-Principal Investigator (PI) of the UM1 NCI ETCTN Pittsburgh Cancer Consortium (PCC) and member of the UPMC HCC Lung Cancer Program (LCP). Dr. Villaruz serves as Study Chair of two NCI-CTEP sponsored clinical trials and provides oversight as the UPMC HCC PI of several ETCTN and NCTN Group trials. She serves on the SWOG Lung MAP Trial Oversight Committee and the NCI Investigational Drug Steering Committee (IDSC). Dr. Villaruz is the UPMC HCC PI for the Academic Thoracic Oncology Medical Investigators Consortium (ATOMIC), a national consortium of academic institutions that design and conduct clinical trials in thoracic oncology.
Clinical Interest
Dr. Villaruz has a thoracic oncology outpatient clinic at the Hillman Cancer Center. She has a specialty in the use of molecular profiling in the identification of genomic alterations that are amenable to personalized lung cancer therapies. Dr. Villaruz conducts numerous clinical trials evaluating novel targeted therapeutic approaches for patients with solid tumors and in particular lung cancer. She works at the multidisciplinary level to ensure comprehensive care of all patients.
Selected Publications:
Dacic S, Luvison A, Evdokimova V, Kelly L, Siegfried JM, Villaruz LC, Socinski MA, Nikiforov YE. RET rearrangements in lung adenocarcinoma and radiation. Journal of Thoracic Oncology. 2014; 9(1): 118-20.
Villaruz LC, Socinski MA. Temsirolimus therapy in a patient with lung adenocarcinoma harboring an FBXW7 mutation. Lung Cancer. Lung Cancer. 2013; 83(2): 300-1.
Villaruz LC, Socinski MA. The clinical viewpoint: definitions, limitations of RECIST, practical considerations of measurement. Clinical Cancer Resaerch. 2013; 19(10): 2629-36.
Villaruz LC, Socinski MA, Cunningham DE, Chiosea SI, Burns TF, Siegfried JM, Dacid S. The prognostic and predictive value of KRAS oncogene substitutions in lung adenocarcinoma. Cancer. 2013; 119(12): 2268-74.
Villaruz LC, Socinski MA. The clinical utility of PD-L1 testing in selecting non-small cell lung cancer patients for PD1/PD-L1 directed therapy. Clinical Pharmacology Therapy. 2016; 10.1002: 385.
Villaruz LC, Socinski MA. Is there a role of nab-paclitaxel in the treatment of advanced non-small cell lung cancer? The data suggest yes. European Journal of Cancer. 2016; doi:10.1016.
Weiss JM, Villaruz LC, Obrien J, Ivanova A, Lee C, Olson JG, Pollack G, Gorman R, Socinski MA, Stinchombe TE. Results of a Phase II Trial of Carboplatin, Pemetrexed, and Bevacizumab for the Treatment of Never or Former/Light Smoking Patients With Stage IV Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. Clin Lung Cancer. Clinical Lung Cancer. 2015; 17(2): 128-32.
Villaruz LC, Huang G, Romkes M, Kirkwood JM, Buch SC, Nukui T, Flaherty KT, Lee SJ, Wilson MA, Nathanson KL. MicroRNA expression profiling predicts clinical outcome of carboplatin/paclitaxel-based therapy in metastatic melanoma treated on the ECOG-ACRIN trial E2603. Clinical Epigenetics. 2012; 7(1): 58.
Villaruz LC, Socinski MA, Abberbock S, Berry LD, Johnson BE, Kwiatkowski DJ, Iafrate AJ, Varella-Garcia M, Franklin WACamidge DR, Sequist LV, Haura EB, Landanyi M, Kurland BF, Kugler K, Minna JD, Bunn PA, Kris MG. Clinicopathologic features and outcomes of patients with lung adenocarcinomas harboring BRAF mutations in the Lung Cancer Mutation Consortium. Cancer. 2015; 121(3): 448-56.
Weiss JM, Villaruz LC, Socinski MA, Ivanova A, Grilley-Olson J, Dhruva N, Stinchcombe TE. A single-arm phase II trial of pazopanib in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer with non-squamous histology with disease progression on bevacizumab containing therapy. Lung Cancer. 2014; 86(2): 288-90.
Notable Achievements
Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO Young Investigator Award, 2011
Member-Clinical Scientist - NCI CTEP VX-970 Drug Project Team
NCI Cancer Clinical Investigator Team Leadership Award, 2015