Fortunato Ciardiello

ESMO Executive Board

Function ESMO Past-President
Address Università degli Studi della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli


Fortunato Ciardiello

Fortunato Ciardiello was born in Naples, on August 4, 1960.

Fortunato Ciardiello, MD, PhD is currently Full Professor of Medical Oncology, Head of the Laboratory of Experimental Therapeutics, Head of the Division of Medical Oncology, Director of the Dipartmento Medico-Chirurgico di Internistica Clinica e Sperimentale, Member of the Academic Senate, Seconda Università di Napoli in Naples, Italy. He is currently also the Director of the Specialty Programme in Medical Oncology.

Professor Ciardiello received his MD degree, his speciality degree in Medical Oncology, and his PhD degree in Molecular Biology and Pathology from the University of Naples, Italy. He also trained in translational cancer research for almost 5 years at the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA. Professor Ciardiello received the G Venosta Award from the Italian Foundation for Cancer Research  (FIRC) in November 2000 for research on novel therapeutic strategies in cancer.

Professor Ciardiello’s research interests include the role of growth factors and their specific receptors in neoplastic transformation and  the development of novel therapeutic strategies targeting growth factor receptor signalling. He has published 315 research articles, as listed in PubMed, within these specific areas of interest. Professor Ciardiello’s cumulative impact factor is approximately 1400 and his H index is 76.

His major scientific achievements can be summarised as follows:

  • Identification of transforming growth factor alpha (TGF alpha) as a major ligand for the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and its role in the development and progression of human epithelial cancer (in particular, breast, colorectal and lung cancer).
  • Identification of the transforming properties of CRIPTO, an EGF-related growth factor in human cancer.
  • Identification of the role of cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) as a down-stream signal in the pathway of activated EGFR in human cancer.
  • Study of selective anti-EGFR agents in preclinical models for the development of novel drugs that now are on the market (cetuximab, gefitinib) alone and/or in combination with conventional cytotoxics, with radiation or with other molecular targeted agents.
  • Study of the molecular and cellular mechanisms of acquired resistance of cancer cells to the therapeutic effects of anti-EGFR drugs.
  • Furthermore, he has been essential participant or the principal investigator to the development, design, conduction and interpretration of several phase I, phase II and phase III key clinical trials which have been conducted in metastatic colorectal and lung cancers (for drugs such gefitinib, erlotinib, cetuximab, sorafenib, regorafenib, vandetanib, MEK inhibitors).

Currently, Professor Ciardiello leads a team of medical oncologists who are dedicated in a broad translational research programme to the preclinical development and to the transfer to patients of novel and more effective molecular targeted approaches for the medical treatment of colorectal and non-small cell lung cancer.

He is an active member of several international scientific societies, including the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO), the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

Professor Ciardiello is ESMO Past-President and an ESMO Executive Board Member; he served as ESMO President 2016-2017.

Professor Ciardiello also serves on the editorial boards of Clinical Cancer Research, Annals of Oncology, International Journal of Oncology; Targeted Oncology, and Oncology Reports.