Maurie Markman, MD, vice president for clinical research at The
University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, is also an editorial board
member for HemOnc Today, as well as editor for a review journal,
Current Oncology Reports, and a series of books, “Current
Clinical Oncology.” In addition to authoring, editing and co-editing
numerous medical articles, editorials and books, Markman serves as chairman of
the Medical Oncology Committee of the Gynecologic Oncology Group and previously
served as chairman of the Gynecologic Cancer Committee of the Southwest
He is also a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and
recently served as chairman of its Gynecologic Cancer Program Subcommittee. He
is currently chairman of the Gynecologic Cancer Subcommittee of the ASCO
Patient Communication Committee and co-chair of the Society of Gynecologic
Oncologists/ASCO Task force.
I enjoy spending time with my wife and my four children, as well as
swimming, playing basketball and reading.
It’s a little difficult to answer that question because for as long
as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a doctor. However, since two of my
children are going to become lawyers, and because I’ve always enjoyed law,
my guess is I probably would have practiced law in some capacity.
But truly, as long as I can remember, being a doctor is what I wanted to
do. In medical school, I realized I wanted to be an internist. I liked the
thought process involved in handling complicated issues. I also realized that
every aspect of internal medicine was more complicated when dealing with
patients with cancer, and I thought this would be an enormous challenge.
The other aspect of becoming involved with hematology/oncology is that,
even from the time I was a resident, I found that I made a difference when I
took care of patients with cancer. They were very appreciative of what could be
accomplished and what I could do for them. Because it’s such a difficult,
complex and emotional field, it’s one that can be very gratifying.
My first academic mentor in the oncology arena was Stephen B. Howell,
MD, director of the cancer pharmacology program at the University of
California San Diego. He helped me become involved in and assisted in setting
up my academic career. Together, the two of us did a lot to work in the area of
My earliest mentor was my family physician/internist, who,
unfortunately, died of pancreatic cancer many years ago. His advice was to make
sure I approached the practice of medicine as a people’s doctor. There is
nothing more rewarding than that. I took his advice very seriously and I
certainly agree with it.
I’ve been involved in the development of a number of strategies,
including the development of intraperitoneal therapy in ovarian cancer.
However, I would argue the most important thing, which I think and hope
I’ve done and continue to do, is to insist upon — for myself and
others — viewing and thinking critically about everything we do as
physicians. It’s crucial that we absolutely strive for and base our
decisions on, as much as possible, solid, evidence-based medicine and phase-3,
randomized trials. I believe to my core that the future of medicine has to be
I would hope the biggest influence will be an agreement by all involved,
including government and physicians, to push for medical decisions based on
evidence from randomized, phase-3 trials. I am concerned that decisions are,
unfortunately, going to be made solely based on cost. I fear cost may be the
overriding consideration, but my hope is for evidence-based decisions.
I have no particular diet. I love to eat with my wife, who is a
phenomenal cook. So to keep my weight down, I keep active with activities like
bike-riding and swimming. It’s very important to stay physically fit; I
accomplish that through exercise. When you have a wife who is a phenomenal
cook, it’s hard not to eat her cooking.
My wife’s kitchen is my favorite restaurant. We live in Houston,
though, and there are several really good restaurants. So aside from my
wife’s kitchen, I would have to say Ruth’s Chris Steak House is my
The last book I read and would recommend to everyone in the medical
field is Taming the Beloved Beast by Dr. Daniel Callahan. He is a
well-known writer, former director of the Hastings Center and has written
extensively, over a number of decades, on the subject of how we pay for medical
care and related issues with technology and technology control. It is a
wonderful, thought-provoking book, and I would encourage everyone to read it.
It’s very sobering.
I like to travel anywhere my kids are. I have four children: One is in
Washington, D.C., two are in Boston and one is in Ann Arbor, Mich. Anytime my
wife and I have an opportunity to see them, we take it. My daughter is moving
to New York next year, so I will be looking forward to going there soon.
– by Christen Haigh