About David Einstein, M.D.

Portrait of Dr. EinsteinI am an academic medical oncologist specializing in genitourinary cancers. In addition to caring for patients with genitourinary cancers and teaching oncology fellows during three half-day clinics a week, I spend 60% of my time on research. I am interested in clinical trial development and serve as overall PI and site PI of several DFHCC clinical trials that investigate immuno-oncology and targeted agents for GU cancers. I am also interested in biomarkers for differentiating indolent from potentially aggressive "low-risk" prostate cancer, and I lead the GU Rapid Autopsy project at DFHCC.

My research focuses on immunotherapy for genitourinary malignancies, clinical trials of targeted agents for prostate cancer, and translational studies of biomarkers and drug resistance in prostate cancer. I am principal investigator of a translational protocol looking at neoantigens and T cell response in primary prostate cancer together with Drs. David Avigan, Steven Balk, and Manoj Bhasin, with the goal of leading to a personalized vaccine strategy. I am overall PI of an investigator-initiated trial of PD-1 inhibition in prostate cancer, currently accruing at BIDMC and DFCI (NCT03637543). Together with my research mentor Dr. Balk, I have designed correlative studies for this study, which were incorporated into a recently funded proposal for a PCF Challenge Award. I also developed correlative studies and contributed to protocol writing for an in-progress multi-center trial involving combination checkpoint inhibition in kidney cancer (NCT03117309), and I am a co-investigator for a forthcoming trial of a peptide plus adjuvant-based vaccine in early-stage prostate cancer (NCT03579654). Together with Dr. David McDermott, I have published the first major review of the combination approach of PD-1 inhibition plus VEGF blockade in kidney cancer.

Aside from immunotherapy, I am also investigating targeted therapies in prostate cancer. I am overall PI of a trial of a polo-like kinase 1 inhibitor combined with abiraterone, currently accruing at BIDMC, DFCI, and MGH (NCT03414034), and I am a co-investigator on a Bridge Grant from the Koch Institute to perform further pre-clinical work on this combination therapy together with Drs. Balk and Michael Yaffe. I am also designing an investigator-initiated study of ErbB2 inhibition in castration-resistant prostate cancer and am collaborating within the Balk lab to design correlative studies that are funded by a grant from the Department of Defense. I serve as site PI of several other currently accruing and forthcoming clinical trials for genitourinary cancers.

In addition to my work in clinical trials, I am performing translational work together with Drs. Balk, Huihui Ye, and Adam Sowalsky at NCI to evaluate biomarkers of indolent versus aggressive disease in the setting of low-risk prostate cancer and active surveillance, a project that is supported by a physician research award from the Department of Defense. I am also PI of BIDMC’s Rapid Autopsy Program, a joint effort with Dr. Joshua Russo which enables the collection of tissue for multiple research efforts investigating mechanisms of drug resistance and tumor biology. We have collected specimens from several patients deceased of genitourinary cancers and have planned several exploratory studies with this material.


Certification in Applied Biostatistics, Harvard Catalyst: 2016-2017

MD: Tufts University School of Medicine (MD): 2007-2011

B.S.: Biochemistry, Neurobiology Track, Yale University: 2003-2007

Postdoctoral Training

Resident: Internal Medicine, Tufts Medical Center: 2011-2014

Clinical Fellow: Hematology/Oncology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center: 2014-2017    

Grant Support

Koch Institute Bridge Grant, “Optimizing Plk1 Therapeutics for Clinical Translation”: 2019-2021

Prostate Cancer Foundation, Challenge Award, “Identifying and Targeting Immunogenic Prostate Cancer at High Risk for Lethal Metastatic Progression”: 2019-2021

Department of Defense, Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program, Prostate Cancer Research Program, Physician Research Award (W81XWH-17-1-0350), “Prognostic Biomarkers in Active Surveillance: Parsing Risk in Early-Stage Prostate Cancer”: 2017-2021

Clinical Trials


“A Phase 2 Study of Nivolumab in Patients with High-Risk Biochemically Recurrent Prostate Cancer.” (Investigator-initiated)

Overall Principal Investigator

Funding from Bristol-Myers Squibb Company


“A Phase 2 Study of PCM-075 in Combination with Abiraterone and Prednisone in Subjects with Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer (Joint Investigator/Industry-initiated)

Overall Principal Investigator

Funding from Trovagene, Inc.


“A Phase 2, Randomized Study of Proscavax, a PSA/IL-2/GM-CSF Vaccine, in Treatment-naïve Patients with Clinically Localized Prostate Cancer Versus an Active Surveillance Strategy.”


Funding from OncBioMune Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Research Publications

  1. Russo JW, Liu X, Ye H, Calagua C, Chen S, Voznesensky O, Condulis J, Ma F, Taplin ME, Einstein DJ, Balk SP, Chen S. Phosphorylation of androgen receptor serine 81 is associated with its reactivation in castration-resistant prostate cancer. Cancer Letters. 2018; 438:97-104. [PMID: 30217568]
  2. Einstein DJ,* Desanto-Madeya S, Gregas M, Lynch J, McDermott DF, and Buss MK. Improving end of life care: palliative care embedded in an oncology clinic specializing in targeted and immune-based therapies. J Oncol Pract. 2017; 13(9):e729-e737. [PMID: 28562197
  3. Einstein DJ,* Einstein KL, and Mathew P. Dying for advice: code-status discussions between resident physicians patients with advanced cancer—a national survey. J Palliat Med. 2015;18(6):535-41. [PMID: 25984641]

Other Peer-Reviewed Scholarship

  1. Einstein DJ and Garnick MB. Genitourinary Cancers chapter of forthcoming American Society of Clinical Oncology Self-Evaluation Program, 7th 
  2. Einstein DJ and Sonpavde G. Optimizing management of cisplatin-ineligible bladder cancer patients. Current Treatment Options in Oncology. In press
  3. Einstein DJ,* Compassion and Compassionate Use. J Clin Oncol. 2018; 36(29):2969-2971. [PMID: 30156981]
    • Selected for author interview with Section Editor on JCO’s Cancer Stories Podcast
    • Featured in ASCO’s Cancer in the News bulletin
  4. Einstein DJ* and McDermott DF. Combined blockade of vascular endothelial growth factor and programmed death 1 pathways in advanced kidney cancer. Clinical advances in hematology & oncology. Clin Adv Hematol Oncol 2017;15(6)478-488. [PMID: 28749908]
  5. Einstein DJ,* Ladin K, and Mathew P. The ethical imperative of healthy paternalism in advance- directive discussions at the end of life. JAMA Oncology. 2016;2(4):429-30. [PMID: 26914544]
  6. Einstein DJ,* Trowbridge RL, and Rencic J. A problematic palsy: an exercise in clinical reasoning. J Gen Intern Med. 2015;30(7):1029-33. [PMID: 25743429]
  7. Einstein* Knot. Ann Intern Med. 2012;157(5):381-2. [PMID: 22944877]