Frank S. Lieberman, MD

Professor of Neurology and Medical Oncology


  • Director, Adult Neuro-Oncology Program, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center


Dr. Lieberman is director of the adult neuro-oncology program at UPMC Cancer Centers. His clinical and research efforts encompassed both the treatment of primary CNS tumors and the neurological complications of cancer. Brain tumor translational investigations focus on the application of molecular genetic techniques and functional imaging techniques to develop strategies for individually optimized molecularly targeted treatment of patients with malignant gliomas, the most common brain tumors in adults.

Dr. Lieberman serves as an institutional principal investigator for UPMC in the Adult Brain Tumor Consortium. He is the institutional representative for CNS tumor committees for the NRG, and ECOG-ACRIN oncology clinical trials consortia. He serves on the Experimental Imaging and Biomarkers committees for ECOG-ACRIN and is the former chair of the Clinical Trials Design and Development committee for the Quantitative Imaging Network.

Dr. Lieberman is a member of phase 1 and phase 2 centers in UPMC Cancer Center and one of the faculty directing institutional participation in the NCI Experimental Therapeutics National Clinical Trials Network.

In collaboration with Jan Drappatz (co-director Neurooncology Program), Ron Hamilton, and Marina Nikaforovna, Dr. Lieberman is applying Next Generation Sequencing techniques to the development of individualized molecular therapies for patients with malignant gliomas. UPMC is one of an elite group of cancer centers with CLIA-approved NGS for use in patients undergoing resection for cancer. Drs. Lieberman and Drappatz are the neuro-oncology program investigators in UPCI’s molecular pathology database program in which patients whose tumors are analyzed by NGS participate in a database associated with the UPCI Phase 1 Trials Center. This allows for identification of potential subjects for molecularly targeted therapeutic clinical trials across tumor types.

Dr. Lieberman has a national leadership role in the development of vaccines for the treatment of gliomas. In collaboration with Dr. Hideho Okada, Dr. Lieberman served as principal investigator for one of the first dendritic cell vaccine trials for low-grade gliomas and co-investigator for similar trials in high-grade gliomas. Despite Dr.Okada’s relocation to University of California, San Francisco, these collaborations have continued, as well as collaborations with Dr. Gary Kohenbash testing immunotherapeutic strategies for patients with glioblastoma.

Dr. Lieberman is also collaborating with Dr. Sameer Agnahotri to expand the molecular genetics program begun in collaboration with Dr. Nikaforovna to include intracranial mouse models of glioblastoma and medulloblastoma. Dr. Agnahotri’s will be using these models to test candidate molecularly targeted therapeutic agents in preclinical studies to optimize the choice of agents for human clinical trials.

Dr. Lieberman Previously served as the chairperson of the Clinical Trials Design working group for the Quantitative Imaging Network and continues collaborations with Dr. James Mountz in the development of novel PET tracers for assessing tumor response in clinical trials for glioblastoma. In collaboration with Dr. Mountz, Dr. Kohenbash, Dr. Ashok Panigrahy, and Dr. Carolyn Anderson, Dr. Lieberman is exploring novel techniques for monitoring delivery of effector T cells and tumor response in clinical trials of Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cells.

Dr. Lieberman continues to collaborate in projects, led by Paula Sherwood, addressing caregiver stress in families of patients with primary brain tumors.

Dr. Lieberman directs the clinical Neuro-Oncology program for UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, is director of the neuro-oncology rotation at UPMC Hillman-Shadyside for neurology residents and fellows and is an attending for Neurology house staff morning report. He provides neuro-oncology consultation service for UPMC Presbyterian, Magee, and Shadyside hospitals. He directs the Neuro-Oncology Tumor Board; a weekly CME category 1 approved academic teaching case management conference and a monthly Neuro-Oncology Tumor Board conference at UPMC Shadyside which is a case presentation and topic review format for the oncology community. He also serves on the bioethics committee at UPMC Shadyside.

Dr. Lieberman is a member of the Society for Neuro-Oncology and the Neurooncology Section of the American Academy of Neurology. He currently serves on the committee administering the subspecialty neurooncology board examination for the United Council of Neurologic Specialities. He is a member of the American Association of Cancer Researchers and American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Dr. Lieberman has a long interested in the intersection between religion and medical practice, and the application of the principles of Jewish religious law to clinical bioethics. He is a member of a working group of faculty in the University of Pittsburgh School Of Medicine, the law school, and the Religious Studies Program, aspiring to develop a program for religion and medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. He is the director of a new clinical case conference addressing how religious faith affects the care of patients form both patient and physician perspectives