Randall F. Holcombe, MD, MBA

Randall F. Holcombe, MD, MBA

For all patient related matters:  Phone: (808) 586-5854 | Fax: (808) 586-5857
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Director, University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center
Full Member, Cancer Biology Program, University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center
Core Clinical Member, Translational and Clinical Research, University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center

Academic Appointment(s):
Professor (Researcher), University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center
Professor of Medicine (Tenured), John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

1983 - MD, University of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ-New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ
2014 - MBA, Mount Sinai/Zicklin School of Business of Baruch College, New York, NY
1983 - 1986 - Resident Physician, Internal Medicine, Brigham & Women's Hospital, Boston, MA
1986 - 1989 - Research/Clinical Fellow in Medicine (Hematology/Oncology), Brigham & Women's Hospital; Research Fellow in Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

Personal Statement

As University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center Director, I oversee all research activities and direct operational activities of the center, including allocation of space, appointment of faculty, and management of budgets and finances. I serve as the principal investigator for the P30 Cancer Center Support Grant and lead strategic planning initiatives as they relate to the Cancer Center.

Research Focus

1. Health services research in oncology
Quality-focused research has included description of a novel compensation model for clinical oncologists, development of a new tool to monitor adherence to evidence-based guidelines and proposal of new paradigm for consideration of healthcare quality. Additional research studies have focused on patient-reported outcomes, and specifically on the influence of demographic and structural factors that non-variably affect patient satisfaction scores, a critical element in value-based reimbursement models. These studies advance the field of health services research both for oncology and for healthcare overall.

2. Wnt signaling in colon cancer
We were the first to describe the selective expression of LEF1 in colon cancer and more recently described a novel Wnt-dependent pathway that controls the distribution of specific TCF isoforms. We have also identified a novel Wnt-stimulating ligand, Norrin that may control angiogenesis in the colon tumor microenvironment. These studies have advanced the understanding of Wnt signaling as a highly regulated signaling pathway that not only promotes carcinogenesis but also influences tumor invasion and metastases.

3. Role and mechanisms of action of natural products for cancer treatment and prevention
Laboratory studies demonstrated that resveratrol suppresses Wnt signaling in vitro. This led to a clinical trial of resveratrol, a dietary study of grape consumption that demonstrated that the primary effects were on normal mucosa, suggesting that the principal effectiveness may be in cancer prevention, rather than cancer treatment. Biological endpoints confirmed the activity of a resveratrol-containing whole food modulates Wnt signaling in patients, particularly those at increased risk for the development of colon cancer. This line of investigation has significantly contributed to our understanding of the role of natural products for cancer treatment and prevention, particularly with respect to their suppressive activity on Wnt signaling.

Selected Publications

Holcombe RF, Verschraegen C, Chapman AE, Gaffney D, Goldberg RM, Mesa RA, Milhem M, Mims MP, Mitchell EP, Mulkerin D, Vijayakumar S. Status of the clinician investigator in America: An essential health care provider driving advances in cancer care. Journal NCCN, 2021 in press.

Gerson SL, Shaw K, Harrison L, Holcombe RF, Hutchins L, Lee C, Loehrer PJ, Mulkerin DT, Purcell T, Teston L, Weiner LM, Weiner GJ. Status of cancer care at network sites of the nation’s cancer centers. Journal NCCN, 2020 in press.

Okado I, Pagano I, Cassel K, Holcombe RF. (2020). Perceptions of Care Coordination in Cancer Patient-Family Caregiver Dyads. Supportive Care in Cancer; Sep 24. doi:10.1007/s00520-020-05764-8. [On-line ahead of print].

Okado I, Cassel K, Pagano I, Holcombe RF. (2020). Assessing patients’ perception of cancer care coordination in a community-based setting. Journal of Oncology Practice; 16:e726-e733. [published on-line, 3/27/2020]. https://doi.org/10.1200/JOP.19.00509

Okado, I., Cassel, K., Pagano, I. Holcombe RF. (2020). Development and psychometric evaluation of a questionnaire to measure cancer patients’ perception of care coordination. BMC Health Services Res;20:52. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-020-4905-4

Pintova S, Dharmupari S, Moshier E, Zubizarreta N, Ang C, Holcombe RF. (2019). Genistein combined with FOLFOX or FOLFOX-bevucizumab for treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer: Phase I/II pilot study. Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology;84:591-598.

Publication list via PubMed

Active Grants

J. Acoba, Co-PI since 08/01/19; J.L. Berenberg, Contact PI; R. Holcombe, Co-PI since 08/01/19
"Hawaii Minority/Underserved NCORP"
This National Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) grant supports community based cancer clinical trials across an extensive network of oncology providers in the State of Hawaiʻi. I serve as MPI and coordinator for Cancer Care Delivery Research for this award.
08/01/2019 – 07/31/2025

R. Holcombe, PI
“Hoʻola: Early Phase Clinical Research Center”
The Hoʻola project involves the creation of an Early Phase Clinical Research Center that will be the only such facility in the State of Hawaiʻi, providing access to clinical research for patients across multiple disciplines, and expanding the research capabilities of the only research university in the State, the University of Hawaiʻi (UH) at Mānoa.
10/1/2019 - 9/30/2024

R. Holcombe, PI
"University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center CCSG"
The Cancer Center Support Grant (CCSG) is the foundational infrastructure that supports two Cancer Center programs, Cancer Biology and Population Sciences in the Pacific, and five shared resources including Analytical Biochemistry, Biostatistics, Genomics and Bioinformatics, Nutrition Support, and Metabolomics. The CCSG also supports translational and clinical research services involving an extensive network of oncology care sites across the State. 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. Because of the unique population in Hawaiʻi, UH Cancer Center investigators examine questions that are not easily addressed within the continental states with impact on patient care on a local, national, and global level. Moreover, UH Cancer Center directs cancer prevention and control research activities across the Pacific.
I assumed the position as University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center Director in October, 2016 and have oversight over all research and operational components.
7/1/1997 - 6/30/2022

R. Holcombe, PI
Hawaii Community Foundation (HCF)
“Cancer care coordination: A study of patient-caregiver dyads
This health services, cancer care delivery research, grant supports a pilot study evaluating cancer patients’ and their caregiver’s perceptions of care coordination.
7/1/2019 - 10/31/2021

Submitted/Planned Grants

MDSCs in chronic intestinal inflammatory disorders (Co-Investigator); NIH

Stimulatory role of IKKalpha in MDSC expansion and chronic intestinal inflammation (co-I); Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America

Molecular basis of chronic inflammation-associated tumorigenesis (Co-Investigator); NIH

Promotive effects of DNA-PKcs on MDSC expansion in chronic intestinal inflammation (co-Investigator); Department of Defense

Macular pigment optical density as a surrogate measure of chemotherapy-associated cognitive impairment (PI); NCI PAR-16-213; 4/11/2017

Validation of a patient-reported outcomes instrument to measure cancer care coordination and address cancer health disparities (PI); NCI PAR-16-260; 6/5/2017

The cancer diagnosis as a teachable moment for lifestyle modification for Native Hawaiian families (PI); NCI PAR-14-260; 5/12/2017