Greene Retires from NCI

Dr. Greene

Dr. Mark H. Greene

Dr. Mark H. Greene, senior principal investigator in NCI’s Clinical Genetics Branch, retired after 33 years of distinguished service at the end of 2019. As inaugural chief of CGB, he initiated a research program of multidisciplinary studies on hereditary syndromes and cancer to leverage clinical observations into novel etiologic insights. As an investigator, Greene devoted his career to the study of genetic modifiers of cancer risk and treatment outcomes in hereditary cancers and to intervention studies in genetically at-risk populations.

In 1975, he came to NCI as a staff fellow in the Environmental Epidemiology Branch and became a senior investigator 2 years later. He and his collaborators identified and characterized the dysplastic nevus as a key precursor to melanoma and published the first full-color atlas of these lesions. Greene also co-led a series of studies that quantified the risks of acute leukemia associated with anti-neoplastic agents, the results of which had major implications for clinical use of these drugs. 

After leaving government for private practice in hematology and medical oncology in 1985, he returned to serve as chief of the newly formed CGB in 1999. He served in that role for 14 years and received an NIH Merit Award for the creation, growth and leadership of an outstanding intramural program in clinical genetics.

Greene was pivotal in the launch of many hereditary breast/ovarian cancer studies such as the National Ovarian Cancer Prevention and Early Detection Study. For leading this project, he also received an NIH Merit Award.

He also developed and directed CGB’s Familial Testicular Cancer Study, which investigates the genetic causes of testicular cancer through studies of multiple-case families. More recently, Greene initiated the investigation of myotonic dystrophy as a potential cancer susceptibility syndrome, based on clinical observations. 

Greene served on multiple working groups within NCI and mentored more than 33 individuals.

“As chief of CGB, Mark spearheaded projects which advanced our understanding of the etiology of familial cancers, resulting in clinically meaningful recommendations for patients seeking preventive care and yielding avenues of investigation for cancer risk in the general population,” said Dr. Stephen Chanock, director of the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics. “His exceptional leadership and collaborative spirit will be missed.” 

In retirement, Greene will serve as scientist emeritus to the division.