Director's Welcome

I am honored to be Director of an exceptional Cancer Center at the University of Hawaiʻi. The UH Cancer Center was established in 1971 and designated formally as an Organized Research Unit within the University in 1981. It relocated to a new building on the Kakaʻako campus in 2013. While primarily a research unit, the Cancer Center also maintains a strong clinical focus, providing access to clinical trials in cooperation with members of the Hawaiʻi Cancer Consortium that was established in 2010. NCI designation was obtained in 1996 and has been maintained continually since that time.

UH Cancer Director, Randall F. Holcombe
Randall F. Holcombe,
UH Cancer Center Director

The mission of the University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center is to reduce the burden of cancer through research, education, patient care and community outreach with an emphasis on the unique ethnic, cultural and environmental characteristics of Hawaiʻi and the Pacific. The Center conducts research that is specifically relevant to the cancer problems affecting the people of Hawaiʻi, working to understand the influence of ethnic diversity on both the incidence of cancer and on patient outcomes, to identify the molecular mechanisms involved in the development of cancer, to engage the community in cancer prevention and cancer education programs and to provide an infrastructure for access to cutting edge clinical trials for patients affected by this disease.

The UH Cancer Center is intimately involved in the community. In addition to providing oversight of a cancer clinical trials infrastructure for nearly 2/3 of cancer patients in the state, working through an affiliation of hospitals and private practices, the Center is involved in community education, legislative initiatives and community outreach focused on cancer prevention and control. The UH Cancer Center faculty are also deeply involved in educational activity – over 250 trainees have been mentored by Cancer Center faculty between 2011 and 2016 and approximately 30 of the 45 full time Cancer Center faculty regularly participate in research training and teaching activities at the University of Hawaiʻi .

The UH Cancer Center has three research programs – Cancer Epidemiology, Cancer Prevention in the Pacific and Cancer Biology and supports Translational and Clinical Research as well as seven Shared Resources. The Cancer Epidemiology program, with investigators who are international leaders in the study of ethnic diversity and cancer, directs numerous "big science" research programs with institutional collaborations across the US. The Cancer Prevention in the Pacific program has a major focus on E-cigarette research as well as cancer prevention behavioral and educational initiatives in Hawaiʻi and across the Pacific, with major research affiliations with the University of Guam and in American Sāmoa. The Cancer Biology program includes cell signaling research, international leaders in the study of mesothelioma and incorporates a drug development program focused on identification of natural products with anti-cancer activity.

The University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center is a collaborative, community focused and scientifically exceptional cancer research center that is unique among all of the 70 NCI-designated cancer centers in the US. It is a resource committed to the people of Hawaiʻi and is, truly, a "Gem in the Pacific".


Randall F. Holcombe, MD MBA