Photo of John T. Vetto, M.D., F.A.C.S.

John T. Vetto M.D., F.A.C.S.

  • (503) 494-5501
    • Professor of Surgery, Division of Surgical Oncology School of Medicine

Dr. Vetto received his M.D. degree from OHSU, graduating magna cum laude (with high honors) and earning membership in the medical honor society Alpha Omega Alpha. He completed his general surgery training at Brigham and Womens Hospital (Harvard Medical School) in Boston and at the UCLA Medical Center. He performed two fellowships in surgical oncology (cancer surgery) at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, and at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

Dr. Vetto then returned to OHSU where he is a now professor of surgery in the division of surgical oncology and director of the Department of Surgery cutaneous oncology program. He was one of the founding members of the OHSU Breast Program. He sees patients with melanoma, breast cancer, and sarcoma (soft tissue and muscle cancers). His research areas are in tumor immunology and cancer education.

His work in these areas has led to the publication of over 300 original scientific papers, abstracts, editorials and book chapters, more than 130 regional, national, and international invited lectureships and to extensive regional and national research grant funding. He is an active caregiver on the OHSU multidisciplinary breast cancer, and sarcoma patient care teams, and he heads the melanoma care team.

Dr. Vetto belongs to 22 professional organizations, has been a national reviewer for National Cancer Institute tumor immunology and cancer education grants, and has served as a reviewer for over 20 surgery and oncology journals. He is currently the  Deputy Editor of the Journal of Cancer Education. Dr. Vetto has received multiple OHSU and national awards for education and teaching, and has co-authored the cancer questions on the last four editions of SESAP, the American College of Surgeons national practice examination for general surgeons.

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Areas of interest

  • Clinical outcomes, multidisciplinary cancer care, cancer education and tumor immunology


  • M.D., Oregon Health & Science University, Portland Oregon 1982
  • Residency:

    • General Surgery, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, 1984
    • General Surgery, UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA, 1989
  • Fellowship:

    • Clinical Associateship in Surgical Oncology, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD, 1986
    • Surgical Oncology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, 1991
  • Certifications:

    • American Board of Surgery (1990, 2000)


  • "Long-Term Survival after Complete Surgical Resection and Adjuvant Immunotherapy for Distant Melanoma Metastases." Annals of Surgical Oncology  In: , Vol. 24, No. 13, 01.12.2017, p. 3991-4000.
  • "Enhancing an oncologist’s recommendation to exercise to manage fatigue levels in breast cancer patients : a randomized controlled trial." Supportive Care in Cancer  In: , 30.09.2017, p. 1-8.
  • "Nonvisualized sentinel lymph nodes on lymphoscintigraphy in melanoma : predictive factors and surgical outcomes." Nuclear Medicine Communications In: , 24.03.2017.
  • "Is pelvic sentinel node biopsy necessary for lower extremity and trunk melanomas?" American Journal of Surgery In: , 17.12.2016.
  • "Cystic neutrophilic granulomatous mastitis : Association with gram-positive bacilli and corynebacterium." American Journal of Clinical Pathology In: , Vol. 145, No. 5, 01.05.2016, p. 635-645.
  • "Hard Copy Durable Patient Cancer Education Materials : Do They Still Matter?" Journal of Cancer Education In: , 22.01.2016, p. 1-4.
  • "Editorial : Colorectal Cancer Screening Education in Medically Vulnerable Populations: the Role of the Journal of Cancer Education." Journal of Cancer Education In: , Vol. 30, No. 4, 01.12.2015, p. 611-613.
  • "Sulforaphane bioavailability and chemopreventive activity in women scheduled for breast biopsy." Cancer Prevention Research  In: , Vol. 8, No. 12, 01.12.2015, p. 1184-1191.
  • "Change, organizations, and good scouts." American Journal of Surgery In: , 19.11.2015.
  • "Axillary web syndrome : An underappreciated complication of sentinel node biopsy in melanoma." American Journal of Surgery  In: , 03.11.2015.
  • "Reflections : Cancer Education and “The Platinum Rule”." Journal of Cancer Education In: , 05.09.2015.
  • "Reflections : Surgical Education-the Times they are a-Changin’: Lessons Learned from the 3rd MAYMET-ESO Joint Meeting." Journal of Cancer Education In: , Vol. 30, No. 3, 24.04.2015, p. 411-414.
  • "Merkel cell carcinoma : What makes a difference?" American Journal of Surgery In: , Vol. 209, No. 2, 01.02.2015, p. 342-346.
  • "Southwest oncology group S0008 : A Phase III trial of high-dose interferon alfa-2b versus cisplatin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine, plus interleukin-2 and interferon in patients with high-risk melanoma-an intergroup study of cancer and leukemia group B, children's oncology group, eastern cooperative oncology group, and southwest oncology group." Journal of Clinical Oncology In: , Vol. 32, No. 33, 20.11.2014, p. 3771-3778.
  • "Detailed characterization of tumor infiltrating lymphocytes in two distinct human solid malignancies show phenotypic similarities." Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer In: , Vol. 2, No. 1, 38, 18.11.2014.
  • "Regional control of head and neck melanoma with selective neck dissection." JAMA Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery  In: , Vol. 140, No. 11, 01.11.2014, p. 1014-1018.
  • "Reflections : The other half." Journal of Cancer Education In: , Vol. 29, No. 4, 01.01.2014, p. 808-809.
  • "Clinical impact of sentinel lymph node biopsy in patients with thick (>4 mm) melanomas." American Journal of Surgery  In: , Vol. 207, No. 5, 2014, p. 702-707.
  • "Short and sweet : A short course on concise medical writing." Journal of Cancer Education In: , Vol. 29, No. 1, 2014, p. 194-195.
  • "Avirtual reality endoscopic simulator augments general surgery resident cancer education as measured by performance improvement." Journal of Cancer Education In: , Vol. 29, No. 2, 2014, p. 333-336.
  • "Discussion." American Journal of Surgery  In: , Vol. 207, No. 5, 2014, p. 691-692.
  • "Phase i trial of preoperative chemoradiation plus sorafenib for high-risk extremity soft tissue sarcomas with dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI correlates." Clinical Cancer Research In: , Vol. 19, No. 24, 15.12.2013, p. 6902-6911.
  • "Clinicopathologic predictors of sentinel lymph node metastasis in thin melanoma." Journal of Clinical Oncology In: , Vol. 31, No. 35, 10.12.2013, p. 4387-4393.
  • "Correlation of breast cancer axillary lymph node metastases with stem cell Mutations." JAMA Surgery In: , Vol. 148, No. 9, 09.2013, p. 873-878.
  • "Effect of biopsy type on outcomes in the treatment of primary cutaneous melanoma." American Journal of Surgery In: , Vol. 205, No. 5, 05.2013, p. 585-590.
  • "Sentinel lymph node biopsy for melanoma : Comparison of lymphocele rates by surgical technique." American Surgeon In: , Vol. 79, No. 4, 04.2013, p. 388-392.
  • "Impact of American College of Surgeons Oncology Group Z0011 and National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project B-32 trial results on surgeon practice in the Pacific Northwest." American Journal of Surgery In: , Vol. 203, No. 5, 05.2012, p. 618-622.
  • "Fresh surgical specimens yield breast stem/progenitor cells and reveal their oncogenic abnormalities." Annals of Surgical Oncology In: , Vol. 19, No. 2, 02.2012, p. 527-535.
  • "Factors predictive of the status of sentinel lymph nodes in melanoma patients from a large multicenter database." Annals of Surgical Oncology  In: , Vol. 18, No. 13, 12.2011, p. 3593-3600.
  • "Intraoperative oncologic staging and outcomes for lung cancer resection vary by surgeon specialty." Annals of Thoracic Surgery In: , Vol. 92, No. 6, 12.2011, p. 1958-1964.

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