ASCO Remembers Dr. Robert B. Livingston

Sep 12, 2016

ASCO and the oncology community mourn the passing of medical oncologist Robert B. Livingston, MD. He passed away on September 8, 2016.

Over his 30-year career in clinical research, Dr. Livingston made significant scientific contributions to the fields of lung and breast cancer. He introduced the use of concurrent chemoradiation for limited small cell lung cancer (which produced acceptable toxicity and results superior to the use of either modality alone) and for stage III non-small cell lung cancer (which produced acceptable toxicity, better long-term survival,  and became a widely accepted standard of care in good-risk patients). In the setting of recurrent and metastatic hormone receptor-positive, HER2/neu-negative breast cancer, his clinical investigations demonstrated the superiority of combined hormone therapy with fulvestrant and anastrozole over anastrozole alone, setting the stage for multi- rather than unifocal approaches to hormone agents in this population. He also found a lack of benefit with continuously dosed chemotherapy over a dose-dense regimen in the context of anthracycline/cyclophosphamide-based adjuvant treatment for breast cancer.

A strong champion of the cooperative group system, many of Dr. Livingston’s discoveries were made in the context of collaborative, multi-institutional efforts through the Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG). He served as Chair of both the SWOG Lung Cancer Committee (1974-1997) and the SWOG Breast Cancer Committee (2000-2008). 

“Bob Livingston was instrumental in early days of lung and breast cancer, especially in SWOG. He was a good friend, colleague, and mentor to many of us. He will be sorely missed,” said ASCO President Daniel F. Hayes, MD, FASCO.

Most recently, Dr. Livingston was a professor of medicine and hematologic oncology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, specializing in breast cancer. He had a far-ranging career, during which he held positions at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the University of Washington, the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, and the University of Texas Health Science Center. He completed his medical degree and residency at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, and a fellowship in developmental therapeutics at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

An ASCO member since 1975, Dr. Livingston served the Society as Chair of the Nominating Committee and Bylaws Committee.


Michael A. Bookman, MD

Sep, 16 2016 9:07 PM

Bob will be warmly remembered as a caring clinician, innovative researcher, and dedicated teacher. ​ In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to be made to the University of Arizona Cancer Center to support training and mentorship. Checks payable to UAF/UACC may be sent to UAHS, PO Box 245018, Tucson, Arizona 85724, designating “in Memory of Robert Livingston” in the memo line. Online gifts may be made at adding “Robert Livingston” within the tribute section.

Joaquin G. Mira, MD

Sep, 18 2016 10:27 AM

I am shocked to hear about Bob passing. We worked together in developping protocols for combined chemo-radiotherapy in Small Cell Lung Cancer while I was in the SWOG in the 1970's. I always admired his vision in combined modality, at a time when Radiation Oncologist and Medical Oncologists did not work together well. He was one of the pioneers in this area. And time proved him right.  He became a personal friend, again at a time where there was poor communication between both specialties. He was a charming ,caring person, fun to socialize and easy and engaging to work with. My condelences to our society and to Shirley and his family.

Joaquin Mira, radiation oncologist

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