Laleh Melstrom, M.D., M.S., F.A.C.S.

  • Assistant Professor, Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of Surgery
  • Surgeon

Laleh Melstrom, M.D., M.S., F.A.C.S.

Clinical Specialties
  • Surgical Oncology
  • Liver Cancer and Metastases
  • Pancreas Cancer
  • Gallbladder Cancer and Bile Duct Cancer
  • Robotic Minimally Invasive Surgery
Areas of Expertise
  • Melanoma and Sarcoma
  • Liver Cancer
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Robotic Surgery
Research Focus
  • Metastatic CRC
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Melanoma

(Medicine is) far and away the most rewarding profession you can have.” 

A talented surgeon and award-winning instructor and researcher, Laleh G. Melstrom, M.D. joined City of Hope, attracted by the opportunity to help develop breakthrough cures and treatments.
“Really cutting-edge trials are offered here,” she says. “Research is not an afterthought.” 
Educated at Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Melstrom received her medical degree at Cornell Medical College in New York City, continuing her training at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago and New York's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. She held professorships at both Cornell and Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, before arriving in California.
Dr Melstrom is certified in robotic surgery and specializes in the treatment of cancers of the liver, pancreas, melanoma and sarcoma.  She has published over 50  scholarly articles and is a sought-after speaker at national and international conferences. 
  • 2015 - present, Assistant Professor, Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of Surgery, City of Hope, Duarte, CA
  • 2015 - 2018, Assistant Professor, Department of Experimental Therapeutics, Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, Duarte, CA
  • 2012-2015, Assistant Professor in Surgery, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, NJ
  • 2010-2012, Clinical Instructor in Surgery, Weill Cornell Medical College, NY
  • Skin Cancer/Melanoma
  • Liver Cancer
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Sarcoma


City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, 1500 East Duarte Road, Duarte, CA, 91010

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Phone :  626-256-4673


  • 2007, M.S., Clinical Investigation, Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine, New York, NY
  • 2003, M.D., Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY
  • 1999, BA (Biology), Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD


  • 2010-2012, Fellow, Surgical Oncology - Memorial Sloan- Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY
  • 2005-2007, Research Fellow, Surgery-Pancreas Lab - Robert H Lurie Cancer Center of Northwestern Memorial Hospital


  • 2007-2010, Resident, General Surgery - Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago, IL


  • 2003-2005, Intern, General Surgery - Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago, IL
  • Patel AA, Nagarajan S, Scher ED, Schonewolf CA, Balasubramanian S, Poplin E, Moss R, August D, Carpizo D, Melstrom L, Jabbour SK. Early vs. Late Chemoradiation Therapy and the Postoperative Interval to Adjuvant Therapy Do Not Correspond to Local Recurrence in Resected Pancreatic Cancer. Pancreat Disord Ther. 2015 Jun;5(2). pii: 151. Epub 2015 Apr 2. PubMed PMID: 26779392; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4712931.
  • Chapman WC, Klintmalm G, Hemming A, Vachharajani N, Majella Doyle MB, DeMatteo R, Zaydfudim V, Chung H, Cavaness K, Goldstein R, Zendajas I, Melstrom LG, Nagorney D, Jarnagin W. Surgical treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma in North America: can hepatic resection still be justified? J Am Coll Surg. 2015 Apr;220(4):628-37. doi: 10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2014.12.030. Epub 2015 Jan 6. PubMed PMID: 25728142.
  • Eng OS, Melstrom LG, Carpizo DR. The relationship of perioperative fluid administration to outcomes in colorectal and pancreatic surgery: a review of the literature. J Surg Oncol. 2015 Mar 15;111(4):472-7. doi: 10.1002/jso.23857. Epub 2015 Feb 2. Review. PubMed PMID: 25643938; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4499324.
  • Eng OS, Tsang AT, Moore D, Chen C, Narayanan S, Gannon CJ, August DA, Carpizo DR, Melstrom LG. Outcomes of microwave ablation for colorectal cancer liver metastases: a single center experience. J Surg Oncol. 2015 Mar  5;111(4):410-3. doi: 10.1002/jso.23849. Epub 2014 Dec 29. PubMed PMID: 25557924; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4499323.
  • Melstrom LG, Taylor E, Kuk D, Frankel TL, Panageas K, Haydu L, Sabel MS, Thompson JF, Ariyan C, Coit DG, Brady MS. International multi-institutional management and outcome of melanoma patients with positive sentinel lymph nodes in  more than one nodal basin. Ann Surg Oncol. 2014 Dec;21(13):4324-9. doi: 10.1245/s10434-014-3845-9. Epub 2014 Jun 25. PubMed PMID: 24962937.
  • Fischer C, Melstrom LG, Arnaoutakis D, Jarnagin W, Brown K, D'Angelica M, Covey A, DeMatteo R, Allen P, Kingham TP, Tuorto S, Kemeny N, Fong Y. Chemotherapy after portal vein embolization to protect against tumor growth during liver hypertrophy before hepatectomy. JAMA Surg. 2013 Dec;148(12):1103-8. doi: 10.1001/jamasurg.2013.2126. PubMed PMID: 24173207.
  • Grippo PJ, Fitchev PS, Bentrem DJ, Melstrom LG, Dangi-Garimella S, Krantz SB, Heiferman MJ, Chung C, Adrian K, Cornwell ML, Flesche JB, Rao SM, Talamonti MS, Munshi HG, Crawford SE. Concurrent PEDF deficiency and Kras mutation induce invasive pancreatic cancer and adipose-rich stroma in mice. Gut. 2012 Oct;61(10):1454-64. doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2011-300821. Epub 2012 Jan 10. PubMed PMID: 22234980.
  • Grippo PJ, Venkatasubramanian PN, Knop RH, Heiferman DM, Iordanescu G, Melstrom LG, Adrian K, Barron MR, Bentrem DJ, Wyrwicz AM. Visualization of mouse pancreas architecture using MR microscopy. Am J Pathol. 2011   ug;179(2):610-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ajpath.2011.04.007. Epub 2011 May 31. PubMed PMID: 21683673; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3157257.
  • Melstrom LG, Phillips JD, Bentrem DJ, Wayne JD. Laparoscopic versus open resection of gastric gastrointestinal stromal tumors. Am J Clin Oncol. 2012 Oct;35(5):451-4. PubMed PMID: 21552096.
  • Melstrom LG, Salabat MR, Ding XZ, Strouch MJ, Grippo PJ, Mirzoeva S, Pelling JC, Bentrem DJ. Apigenin down-regulates the hypoxia response genes: HIF-1α, GLUT-1, and VEGF in human pancreatic cancer cells. J Surg Res. 2011 May 15;167(2):173-81. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2010.10.041. Epub 2010 Nov 27. PubMed PMID: 21227456.
  • Cheon EC, Strouch MJ, Barron MR, Ding Y, Melstrom LG, Krantz SB, Mullapudi B, Adrian K, Rao S, Adrian TE, Bentrem DJ, Grippo PJ. Alteration of strain background and a high omega-6 fat diet induces earlier onset of pancreatic neoplasia in EL-Kras transgenic mice. Int J Cancer. 2011 Jun 15;128(12):2783-92. doi: 10.1002/ijc.25622. Epub 2010 Oct 26. PubMed PMID: 20725998; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3061970.
  • Strouch MJ, Cheon EC, Salabat MR, Krantz SB, Gounaris E, Melstrom LG, Dangi-Garimella S, Wang E, Munshi HG, Khazaie K, Bentrem DJ. Crosstalk between mast cells and pancreatic cancer cells contributes to pancreatic tumor  progression. Clin Cancer Res. 2010 Apr 15;16(8):2257-65. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-09-1230. Epub 2010 Apr 6. PubMed PMID: 20371681; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3122919.
  • Liu SV, Melstrom L, Yao K, Russell CA, Sener SF. Neoadjuvant therapy for breast cancer. J Surg Oncol. 2010 Mar 15;101(4):283-91. doi: 10.1002/jso.21446. Review. PubMed PMID: 20187061.
  • Melstrom LG, Melstrom KA, Wang EC, Pilewskie M, Winchester DJ. Ductal carcinoma in situ: size and resection volume predict margin status. Am J Clin Oncol. 2010 Oct;33(5):438-42. doi: 10.1097/COC.0b013e3181b9cf31. PubMed PMID:  20023569.
  • Strouch MJ, Ding Y, Salabat MR, Melstrom LG, Adrian K, Quinn C, Pelham C, Rao S, Adrian TE, Bentrem DJ, Grippo PJ. A high omega-3 fatty acid diet mitigates murine pancreatic precancer development. J Surg Res. 2011 Jan;165(1):75-81. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2009.04.022. Epub 2009 May 15. PubMed PMID: 19631339; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2888718.
  • Strouch MJ, Milam BM, Melstrom LG, McGill JJ, Salabat MR, Ujiki MB, Ding XZ, Bentrem DJ. The flavonoid apigenin potentiates the growth inhibitory effects of gemcitabine and abrogates gemcitabine resistance in human pancreatic cancer cells. Pancreas. 2009 May;38(4):409-15. doi: 10.1097/MPA.0b013e318193a074. PubMed PMID: 19142175.
  • Melstrom LG, Salabat MR, Ding XZ, Milam BM, Strouch M, Pelling JC, Bentrem DJ. Apigenin inhibits the GLUT-1 glucose transporter and the phosphoinositide 3-kinase/Akt pathway in human pancreatic cancer cells. Pancreas. 2008  Nov;37(4):426-31. doi: 10.1097/MPA.0b013e3181735ccb. PubMed PMID: 18953257.
  • Melstrom LG, Bentrem DJ, Salabat MR, Kennedy TJ, Ding XZ, Strouch M, Rao SM, Witt RC, Ternent CA, Talamonti MS, Bell RH, Adrian TA. Overexpression of 5-lipoxygenase in colon polyps and cancer and the effect of 5-LOX inhibitors in vitro and in a murine model. Clin Cancer Res. 2008 Oct 15;14(20):6525-30. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-07-4631. PubMed PMID: 18927292.
  • Melstrom LG, Bentrem DJ, Salvino MJ, Blum MG, Talamonti MS, Printen KJ. Adenocarcinoma of the gastroesophageal junction after bariatric surgery. Am J Surg. 2008 Jul;196(1):135-8. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2007.07.026. Epub 2008 Apr 16. PubMed PMID: 18417085.
  • Salabat MR, Melstrom LG, Strouch MJ, Ding XZ, Milam BM, Ujiki MB, Chen C, Pelling JC, Rao S, Grippo PJ, McGarry TJ, Bentrem DJ. Geminin is overexpressed in human pancreatic cancer and downregulated by the bioflavanoid apigenin in pancreatic cancer cell lines. Mol Carcinog. 2008 Nov;47(11):835-44. doi: 10.1002/mc.20441. PubMed PMID: 18404646.
  • Fellow, Member, American College of Surgeon, 2004 – present
  • Member, Society of Surgical Oncology, Training Committee, 2014- 2017
  • Program Committee Member 2018 and 2019 Academic Surgical Congress
  • Program Committee Member 2018 and 2019 SSAT for Hepatobililary
  • Membership Committee Member 2018 AHPBA
  • Association of Women Surgeons Coaching Project –Coach 2018
  • Member, Alliance GI Committee 2018-present
  • Member, SSO Gastrointestinal Disease Site Workgroup, 2019-2021
  • Publications Committee Member 2019-2021, Association of Academic Surgeons
  • 1997, Provost’s Award for Undergraduate Research 1997, Maryland Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Outstanding Achievement Award, Varsity Tennis, Johns Hopkins University 1998, Kilpatrick Prize in Chemistry 2007, Edelstone-Bendix Basic Science Research Prize, Northwestern Department of Surgery 2009, Northwestern University Alpha Omega Alpha 2009, Chicago Surgical Society Annual Award for Surgical Research, First Prize 2014, Rutgers Outstanding Attending Teaching Award, Department of Surgery
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