Photo of Michael L Blute,  MD

Michael L Blute, MD

Massachusetts General Hospital

Massachusetts General Hospital
Phone: (617) 726-3010

Michael L Blute, MD

Massachusetts General Hospital


  • Walter S Kerr, Jr, Professor of Surgery, Urology, Harvard Medical School
  • Chief, Department of Urology , Urology, Massachusetts General Hospital


Research Abstract

My career has been devoted to clinical excellence, education and research. I have trained and mentored over 130 residents and post graduate fellows. I am interested in prostate disease management, both cancer and benign and successfully lead a multi institutional group in investigation of one of the first minimally invasive therapies for benign prostatic hyperplasia, microwave thermal therapy which is now an FDA approved device for alleviating symptoms related to bladder outlet obstruction from benign prostatic hyperplasia. The ability to merge outcome reporting with interrogation of radical prostatectomy specimens lead to a number of program projects put in place by our team which subsequently resulted in achieving the first institutional NIH SPORE grant award for prostate cancer ($6 million per year) in 1999. This was renewed in 2005. With the development of the renal cancer interdisciplinary working group we challenged standard practice of radical nephrectomy in renal mass management that it represented “over treatment” for a significant number of patients with small renal masses. This lead to many articles impacting national and international guidelines to recommend kidney preserving surgery for small renal masses, a significant paradigm shift in the last decade of kidney cancer management. In addition, I was co-investigator in a biospecimen procurement protocol that lead to direct identification of renal cancer biomarkers, ie, B7-H family of ligands in the management and outcome of patients with renal cancer. This work has spawned approximately 7 patent applications, 20 peer review publications including Cancer, Cancer Research, Clinical Cancer Research, Proceedings for the National Academy of Science and the execution of two Mayo-to-Pharma (Medarex) therapeutic licenses. I was also co-developer of a molecular signature prognostic assay (bio-SSIGN) to predict outcome (cancer recurrence and survival) for patients who have undergone radical nephrectomy for renal carcinoma. The kidney cancer disease working group helped champion the bench to clinic translation of CTLA-4 blockade (Ipilimumab) as an immunotherapeutic approach to prevent immune cell down regulation in order to treat malignancy. I was co-investigator for a federally funded DOD-sponsored CTLA-4 blockade study entitled, “A Phase II Immunotherapeutic Trial: Combination Androgen Ablative Therapy and CTLA-4 Blockade as a Treatment for Advanced Prostate Cancer.” This approach has greatly bolstered interest in prostate cancer as a premier target for immunotherapy.

In terms of surgical excellence, I lead a prospective evaluation of retroperiotoneal lymph node dissection in the management of patient with high risk renal cell carcinoma. We identified important prognostic variables based on frozen section (real time) evaluation of radical nephrectomy specimens which would trigger a retroperitoneal lymph node dissection to improve staging and control a resistant site of metastatic spread. In a prospective analysis of over 400 patients we performed tumor mapping studies to identify pathways of spread of renal malignancy to the ipsilateral and contralateral vessels in the retroperitoneum. This tumor mapping approach will lead to a standardized template for dissection of the retroperitoneum in patients with advanced renal malignancy who are candidates for attempts at cure.

I was an early surgical leader with others in performing intestinal neobladder reconstruction after surgical removal of the bladder for malignancy. In addition, I was the first at an institutional level to perform this procedure in women, therefore, avoiding the use of an external urinary collecting device and allowing volitional voiding and urinary control. This operation has significantly enhanced the quality of life for many bladder cancer patients over the last 20 years.

I became chair of one of the largest departments of urology in the country at Mayo Clinic in 1999. I established a strong committee system for practice, education and research, secured ACGME accreditation for the largest urology residency program in the United States and achieved a resident board pass rate of 100%. Education was a daily activity in that the residency training was based on preceptorship model. In 2006 I was offered a position at the highest level of governance at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota to serve on the twelve member executive board which governs the clinical, research and educational activity of 3,300 staff physicians, medical scientists, clinical and research associates and also 3,200 residents, fellows and students.

In my current role as Chair of Urology at MGH, my clinical and research activity will involve urologic oncology and reconstructive urology. In recognition of my professional work the American Urologic Association awarded me the Career Contribution Award for 2010.

Publications from Harvard Catalyst Profiles

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  • Yu A, Yamany T, Mojtahed A, Hanna N, Nicaise E, Harisinghani M, Wu CL, Dahl DM, Wszolek M, Blute ML, Feldman AS. Combination MRI-targeted and systematic prostate biopsy may overestimate gleason grade on final surgical pathology and impact risk stratification. Urol Oncol 2021. PubMed
  • Pieretti A, Krasnow R, Drumm M, Gusev A, Dahl DM, McGovern F, Blute ML, Shipley WU, Efstathiou JA, Feldman AS, Wszolek MF. Complications and Outcomes of Salvage Cystectomy after Trimodality Therapy. J Urol 2021. PubMed
  • Jin Y, Zhou Y, Deng W, Wang Y, Lee RJ, Liu Y, Elias N, Hu Y, Luo MH, Liu R, Guan B, Geng J, Xu J, Ma J, Zhou J, Liu N, Blute ML, Colvin RB, Wu CL, Miao Y. Genome-wide profiling of BK polyomavirus integration in bladder cancer of kidney transplant recipients reveals mechanisms of the integration at the nucleotide level. Oncogene 2021; 40:46-54. PubMed
  • Wu S, Lin SX, Wirth GJ, Lu M, Lu J, Subtelny AO, Wang Z, Olumi AF, Dahl DM, Blute ML, Wu CL. Long-term Oncologic Impact of Positive Anterior and Posterior Surgical Margins After Radical Prostatectomy. Am J Clin Oncol 2020. PubMed
  • Lin SX, Zheng Y, Wu S, Blute ML, Dahl DM, Wu CL. Impact of biopsy perineural invasion on younger prostate cancer patients after radical prostatectomy. Scand J Urol 2020. PubMed
  • Wang Y, Liu Y, Deng W, Fu F, Yan S, Yang H, Liu R, Geng J, Xu J, Wu Y, Ma J, Zhou J, Liu N, Jin Y, Xia R, Elias N, Lee RJ, Feldman AS, Blute ML, Colvin RB, Wu CL, Miao Y. Viral integration in BK polyomavirus-associated urothelial carcinoma in renal transplant recipients: multistage carcinogenesis revealed by next-generation virome capture sequencing. Oncogene 2020; 39:5734-5742. PubMed
  • Zheng Y, Lin SX, Wu S, Dahl DM, Blute ML, Zhong WD, Zhou X, Wu CL. Clinicopathological characteristics of localized prostate cancer in younger men aged ≤ 50 years treated with radical prostatectomy in the PSA era: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Cancer Med 2020. PubMed
  • Wu S, Xie L, Lin SX, Wirth GJ, Lu M, Zhang Y, Blute ML, Dahl DM, Wu CL. Quantification of perineural invasion focus after radical prostatectomy could improve predictive power of recurrence. Hum Pathol 2020; 104:96-104. PubMed
  • Wu S, Lin X, Lin SX, Lu M, Deng T, Wang Z, Olumi AF, Dahl DM, Wang D, Blute ML, Wu CL. Impact of biopsy perineural invasion on the outcomes of patients who underwent radical prostatectomy: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Scand J Urol 2019. PubMed
  • Larcher A, Wallis CJD, Bex A, Blute ML, Ficarra V, Mejean A, Karam JA, Van Poppel H, Pal SK. Individualised Indications for Cytoreductive Nephrectomy: Which Criteria Define the Optimal Candidates? Eur Urol Oncol 2019; 2:365-378. PubMed
  • Yu A, Zlatev DV, Blute ML. Revisiting the role of lymph node dissection in renal cell carcinoma. Ann Transl Med 2019; 7:S91. PubMed
  • Salari K, Kuppermann D, Preston MA, Dahl DM, Barrisford GW, Efstathiou JA, Blute ML, Vesprini D, Loblaw A, Zietman AL, Klotz L, Feldman AS. Active Surveillance of Prostate Cancer is a Viable Option for Men Younger than 60 Years. J Urol 2019; 201:721-727. PubMed
  • Zlatev DV, Blute ML. Management of Local Kidney Cancer Relapse. Eur Urol Oncol 2018; 1:524. PubMed
  • Graff RE, Sanchez A, Tobias DK, Rodríguez D, Barrisford GW, Blute ML, Li Y, Sun Q, Preston MA, Wilson KM, Cho E. Type 2 Diabetes in Relation to the Risk of Renal Cell Carcinoma Among Men and Women in Two Large Prospective Cohort Studies. Diabetes Care 2018; 41:1432-1437. PubMed
  • Blute ML, Kucherov V, Rushmer TJ, Damodaran S, Shi F, Abel EJ, Jarrard DF, Richards KA, Messing EM, Downs TM. Reduced estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR <60 mL/min/1.73 m(2) ) at first transurethral resection of bladder tumour is a significant predictor of subsequent recurrence and progression. BJU Int 2017. PubMed
  • Krasnow RE, Drumm M, Roberts HJ, Niemierko A, Wu CL, Wu S, Zhang J, Heney NM, Wszolek MF, Blute ML, Feldman AS, Lee RJ, Zietman AL, Shipley WU, Efstathiou JA. Clinical Outcomes of Patients with Histologic Variants of Urothelial Cancer Treated with Trimodality Bladder-sparing Therapy. Eur Urol 2016. PubMed
  • Huang J, Feldman AS, Dong L, Cornejo K, Liu Q, Dahl DM, Wu S, Blute ML, Huang Y, Wu CL. Preoperative Anemia as an Independent Prognostic Indicator of Papillary Renal Cell Carcinoma. Clin Genitourin Cancer 2015. PubMed
  • Preston MA, Feldman AS, Coen JJ, McDougal WS, Smith MR, Paly JJ, Carrasquillo R, Wu CL, Dahl DM, Barrisford GW, Blute ML, Zietman AI. Active surveillance for low-risk prostate cancer: Need for intervention and survival at 10 years. Urol Oncol 2015. PubMed
  • Volpe A, Blute ML, Ficarra V, Gill IS, Kutikov A, Porpiglia F, Rogers C, Touijer KA, Van Poppel H, Thompson RH. Renal Ischemia and Function After Partial Nephrectomy: A Collaborative Review of the Literature. Eur Urol 2015; 68:61-74. PubMed
  • Xu R, Horick N, McGovern FJ, Dahl DM, Feldman AS, Blute ML, Olumi AF, Michaelson MD. Prognostic significance of indeterminate lung nodules in renal cell carcinoma. Urol Oncol 2014; 32:355-61. PubMed
  • Gray PJ, Lin CC, Jemal A, Shipley WU, Fedewa SA, Kibel AS, Rosenberg JE, Kamat AM, Virgo KS, Blute ML, Zietman AL, Efstathiou JA. Clinical-pathologic stage discrepancy in bladder cancer patients treated with radical cystectomy: results from the national cancer data base. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2014; 88:1048-56. PubMed
  • Blute ML, Prestipino AL. Factors associated with adoption of robotic surgical technology in US hospitals and relationship to radical prostatectomy procedure volume. Ann Surg 2014; 259:7-9. PubMed