William Cance, MD

Interim Director, University of Arizona Cancer Center
University of Arizona Health Sciences

William Cance, MD, is the interim director of the University of Arizona Cancer Center and deputy director of the UA Cancer Center in Phoenix.

Dr. Cance is a professor in the Departments of Interdisciplinary Oncology, Pharmacology and Toxicology, and Surgery in the UA Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy – Phoenix.

Dr. Cance is a fellowship-trained surgical oncologist who treats patients with complex gastrointestinal and endocrine cancers. He has a particular focus on the diagnosis and treatment of thyroid and parathyroid diseases, including thyroid cancer.

Dr. Cance’s research interests focus on focal adhesion kinase (FAK), a critical survival signal in cancer and a promising therapeutic target being evaluated in several clinical trials using kinase enzyme inhibitors. He was the first researcher to clone human FAK in 1993 and demonstrate its overexpression in almost all human cancers. Dr. Cance is homing in on the biology of FAK and developing anti-cancer drugs that target the signal. He also is interested in the role of FAK in integrating cancer cell signaling that enhances the survival mechanisms of cancer cells.

Dr. Cance is the principal investigator on a 25-year R01 grant from the National Cancer Institute focusing on focal adhesion kinase (FAK), a therapeutic target in cancer. He has been awarded numerous other NCI and National Institutes of Health grants, as well as funding from the American Cancer Society, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and the U.S. Department of Defense. He served on the NCI Board of Scientific Counselors and is a member of NCI Subcommittee F, which focuses on institutional training and education. His cancer focus and expertise includes thyroid cancer, parathyroid disease and soft tissue sarcoma. He is board-certified in general surgery.

Dr. Cance received his medical degree from Duke University; completed his residency in general surgery at Barnes Hospital/Washington University School of Medicine and a fellowship in surgical oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Dr. Cance is past president of the Society of Surgical Oncology, a member of the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons, American Association for Cancer Research, American Surgical Association, Society of Clinical Surgery and American Society of Clinical Oncology, as well as a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. In addition, he served on the editorial board of the Annals of Surgical Oncology and the Journal of Clinical Oncology. He also served on the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Cancer Institute.