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Faculty Profiles

Donald Abrams, MD
M_MED-ZSFG-HMON
Professor

1001 Potrero Ave
San Francisco, CA 94110
415-476-4082 ext. 444

Donald I. Abrams, M.D. is a general oncologist at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, an integrative oncologist at the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine and Professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of California San Francisco. He graduated from Brown University in 1972 and from the Stanford University School of Medicine in 1977. After completing an Internal Medicine residency at the Kaiser Foundation Hospital in San Francisco, he became a fellow in Hematology-Oncology at the UCSF Cancer Research Institute in 1980. During his fellowship, Dr. Abrams spent eight months working in the retrovirology laboratory of Harold Varmus, M.D. during the time that the first cases of AIDS were being diagnosed. He subsequently returned to the clinical arena where he was one of the original clinician/investigators to recognize many of the early AIDS-related conditions. He conducted numerous clinical trials investigating conventional as well as complementary therapies in patients with HIV including therapeutic touch, Traditional Chinese Medicine interventions, medicinal mushrooms, medical marijuana and distant healing. His interest in botanical therapies led him to pursue a two-year Fellowship in the Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona which he completed in December 2004. His particular passion in the field involves nutrition and cancer. Since completing his Fellowship, Dr. Abrams has been providing Integrative Medicine consultation to people living with and beyond cancer at the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine. He was Chief of Hematology-Oncology at Zuckerberg San Francisco General from 2003-2017. He co-edited an Oxford University Press textbook in Integrative Oncology with Andrew Weil, M.D.. He is a member of the NCI PDQ CAM Editorial Board. Dr. Abrams was President of the Society of Integrative Oncology in 2010.

Education and Training

Location Degree or Training Specialty Date
University of Arizona Fellowship Integrative Medicine 2004
University of California San Francisco Fellowship Hematology-Oncology 1983
Kaiser San Francisco Residency Internal Medicine 1980
Stanford University M.D. School of Medicine 1977

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Recent Articles (71)

Cohn DL, El Sadr WM, Abrams DI, Neaton JD, Benator DA, Vernon AA. In Memoriam, Fred Gordin, MD, 1951-2018. Clin Infect Dis. 2018 May 29.

Abrams DI. The therapeutic effects of Cannabis and cannabinoids: An update from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report. Eur J Intern Med. 2018 Mar; 49:7-11.

Chao C, Silverberg MJ, Chen LH, Xu L, Martínez-Maza O, Abrams DI, Zha HD, Haque R, Said J. Novel tumor markers provide improved prediction of survival after diagnosis of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-related diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Leuk Lymphoma. 2018 Feb; 59(2):321-329.

Piomelli D, Cooper Z, Abrams D, Grant I, Patel S. A Guide to the National Academy of Science Report on Cannabis: An Exclusive Discussion with Panel Members. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2017; 2(1):155-159.

Abrams D, McCulloch M, Cohen M, Liaw M, Silverman D, Wilson C. A Survey of Licensed Acupuncturists in the San Francisco Bay Area: Prevalence of Treating Oncology Patients. Integr Cancer Ther. 2018 Mar; 17(1):92-98.

Edman JS, Greeson JM, Roberts RS, Kaufman AB, Abrams DI, Dolor RJ, Wolever RQ. Perceived Stress in Patients with Common Gastrointestinal Disorders: Associations with Quality of Life, Symptoms and Disease Management. Explore (NY). 2017 Mar - Apr; 13(2):124-128.

Gupta NK, Nolan A, Omuro A, Reid EG, Wang CC, Mannis G, Jaglal M, Chavez JC, Rubinstein PG, Griffin A, Abrams DI, Hwang J, Kaplan LD, Luce JA, Volberding P, Treseler PA, Rubenstein JL. Long-term survival in AIDS-related primary central nervous system lymphoma. Neuro Oncol. 2017 01; 19(1):99-108.

Abrams DI. Using Medical Cannabis in an Oncology Practice. Oncology (Williston Park). 2016 May; 30(5):397-404.

Dusek JA, Abrams DI, Roberts R, Griffin KH, Trebesch D, Dolor RJ, Wolever RQ, McKee MD, Kligler B. Patients Receiving Integrative Medicine Effectiveness Registry (PRIMIER) of the BraveNet practice-based research network: study protocol. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2016 Feb 04; 16:53.

Chao C, Xu L, Silverberg MJ, Martínez-Maza O, Chen LH, Castor B, Abrams DI, Zha HD, Haque R, Said J. Stromal immune infiltration in HIV-related diffuse large B-cell lymphoma is associated with HIV disease history and patient survival. AIDS. 2015 Sep 24; 29(15):1943-51.

Andreae MH, Carter GM, Shaparin N, Suslov K, Ellis RJ, Ware MA, Abrams DI, Prasad H, Wilsey B, Indyk D, Johnson M, Sacks HS. Inhaled Cannabis for Chronic Neuropathic Pain: A Meta-analysis of Individual Patient Data. J Pain. 2015 Dec; 16(12):1221-1232.

Wolever RQ, Goel NS, Roberts RS, Caldwell K, Kligler B, Dusek JA, Perlman A, Dolor R, Abrams DI. Integrative Medicine Patients Have High Stress, Pain, and Psychological Symptoms. Explore (NY). 2015 Jul-Aug; 11(4):296-303.

Marcus JL, Chao C, Leyden WA, Xu L, Yu J, Horberg MA, Klein D, Towner WJ, Quesenberry CP, Abrams DI, Silverberg MJ. Survival among HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected individuals with common non-AIDS-defining cancers. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2015 Aug; 24(8):1167-73.

Chao C, Silverberg MJ, Xu L, Chen LH, Castor B, Martínez-Maza O, Abrams DI, Zha HD, Haque R, Said J. A comparative study of molecular characteristics of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma from patients with and without human immunodeficiency virus infection. Clin Cancer Res. 2015 Mar 15; 21(6):1429-37.

Marcus JL, Chao CR, Leyden WA, Xu L, Klein DB, Horberg MA, Towner WJ, Quesenberry CP, Abrams DI, Van Den Eeden SK, Silverberg MJ. Prostate cancer incidence and prostate-specific antigen testing among HIV-positive and HIV-negative men. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2014 Aug 15; 66(5):495-502.

Abrams DI. Milking the evidence: diet does matter. J Clin Oncol. 2014 Aug 01; 32(22):2290-2.

Edman JS, Roberts RS, Dusek JA, Dolor R, Wolever RQ, Abrams DI. Characteristics of cancer patients presenting to an integrative medicine practice-based research network. Integr Cancer Ther. 2014 Sep; 13(5):405-10.

Wang CC, Silverberg MJ, Abrams DI. Non-AIDS-Defining Malignancies in the HIV-Infected Population. Curr Infect Dis Rep. 2014 Jun; 16(6):406.

Dhruva A, Hecht FM, Miaskowski C, Kaptchuk TJ, Bodeker G, Abrams D, Lad V, Adler SR. Correlating traditional Ayurvedic and modern medical perspectives on cancer: results of a qualitative study. J Altern Complement Med. 2014 May; 20(5):364-70.

Worm SW, Bower M, Reiss P, Bonnet F, Law M, Fätkenheuer G, d'Arminio Monforte A, Abrams DI, Grulich A, Fontas E, Kirk O, Furrer H, De Wit S, Phillips A, Lundgren JD, Sabin CA. Non-AIDS defining cancers in the D:A:D Study--time trends and predictors of survival: a cohort study. BMC Infect Dis. 2013 Oct 09; 13:471.

Hazekamp A, Ware MA, Muller-Vahl KR, Abrams D, Grotenhermen F. The medicinal use of cannabis and cannabinoids--an international cross-sectional survey on administration forms. J Psychoactive Drugs. 2013 Jul-Aug; 45(3):199-210.

Abrams DI, Dolor R, Roberts R, Pechura C, Dusek J, Amoils S, Amoils S, Barrows K, Edman JS, Frye J, Guarneri E, Kligler B, Monti D, Spar M, Wolever RQ. The BraveNet prospective observational study on integrative medicine treatment approaches for pain. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2013 Jun 24; 13:146.

Messina M, Caan BJ, Abrams DI, Hardy M, Maskarinec G. It's time for clinicians to reconsider their proscription against the use of soyfoods by breast cancer patients. Oncology (Williston Park). 2013 May; 27(5):430-7.

Frenkel M, Abrams DI, Ladas EJ, Deng G, Hardy M, Capodice JL, Winegardner MF, Gubili JK, Yeung KS, Kussmann H, Block KI. Integrating dietary supplements into cancer care. Integr Cancer Ther. 2013 Sep; 12(5):369-84.

Chao C, Leyden WA, Xu L, Horberg MA, Klein D, Towner WJ, Quesenberry CP, Abrams DI, Silverberg MJ. Exposure to antiretroviral therapy and risk of cancer in HIV-infected persons. AIDS. 2012 Nov 13; 26(17):2223-31.

Wolever RQ, Abrams DI, Kligler B, Dusek JA, Roberts R, Frye J, Edman JS, Amoils S, Pradhan E, Spar M, Gaudet T, Guarneri E, Homel P, Amoils S, Lee RA, Berman B, Monti DA, Dolor R. Patients seek integrative medicine for preventive approach to optimize health. Explore (NY). 2012 Nov-Dec; 8(6):348-52.

Rao MN, Schambelan M, Tai VW, Abrams DI, Khatami H, Havel PJ, Sakkas G, Mulligan K. Assessing the Association between Leptin and Bone Mineral Density in HIV-Infected Men. AIDS Res Treat. 2012; 2012:103072.

Chao C, Silverberg MJ, Martínez-Maza O, Chi M, Abrams DI, Haque R, Zha HD, McGuire M, Xu L, Said J. Epstein-Barr virus infection and expression of B-cell oncogenic markers in HIV-related diffuse large B-cell Lymphoma. Clin Cancer Res. 2012 Sep 01; 18(17):4702-12.

Abrams DI, Weil AT. What's the alternative? N Engl J Med. 2012 Jun 07; 366(23):2232-3; author reply 2233.

Dhruva A, Miaskowski C, Abrams D, Acree M, Cooper B, Goodman S, Hecht FM. Yoga breathing for cancer chemotherapy-associated symptoms and quality of life: results of a pilot randomized controlled trial. J Altern Complement Med. 2012 May; 18(5):473-9.

Ackerman SL, Lown EA, Dvorak CC, Dunn EA, Abrams DI, Horn BN, Degelman M, Cowan MJ, Mehling WE. Massage for children undergoing hematopoietic cell transplantation: a qualitative report. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012; 2012:792042.

Mehling WE, Lown EA, Dvorak CC, Cowan MJ, Horn BN, Dunn EA, Acree M, Abrams DI, Hecht FM. Hematopoietic cell transplant and use of massage for improved symptom management: results from a pilot randomized control trial. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012; 2012:450150.

Silverberg MJ, Chao C, Leyden WA, Xu L, Horberg MA, Klein D, Towner WJ, Dubrow R, Quesenberry CP, Neugebauer RS, Abrams DI. HIV infection, immunodeficiency, viral replication, and the risk of cancer. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2011 Dec; 20(12):2551-9.

McCulloch M, Broffman M, van der Laan M, Hubbard A, Kushi L, Abrams DI, Gao J, Colford JM. Colon cancer survival with herbal medicine and vitamins combined with standard therapy in a whole-systems approach: ten-year follow-up data analyzed with marginal structural models and propensity score methods. Integr Cancer Ther. 2011 Sep; 10(3):240-59.

Chao C, Xu L, Abrams DI, Towner WJ, Horberg MA, Leyden WA, Silverberg MJ. HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) use and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in HIV-positive persons. AIDS. 2011 Sep 10; 25(14):1771-7.

Abrams DI, Couey P, Shade SB, Kelly ME, Kamanu-Elias N, Stamets P. Antihyperlipidemic effects of Pleurotus ostreatus (oyster mushrooms) in HIV-infected individuals taking antiretroviral therapy. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2011 Aug 10; 11:60.

Carter GT, Flanagan AM, Earleywine M, Abrams DI, Aggarwal SK, Grinspoon L. Cannabis in palliative medicine: improving care and reducing opioid-related morbidity. Am J Hosp Palliat Care. 2011 Aug; 28(5):297-303.

Lee J, Dibble S, Dodd M, Abrams D, Burns B. The relationship of chemotherapy-induced nausea to the frequency of pericardium 6 digital acupressure. Oncol Nurs Forum. 2010 Nov; 37(6):E419-25.

Chao C, Xu L, Abrams D, Leyden W, Horberg M, Towner W, Klein D, Tang B, Silverberg M. Survival of non-Hodgkin lymphoma patients with and without HIV infection in the era of combined antiretroviral therapy. AIDS. 2010 Jul 17; 24(11):1765-70.

Messina M, Abrams DI, Hardy M. Can clinicians now assure their breast cancer patients that soyfoods are safe? Womens Health (Lond). 2010 May; 6(3):335-8.

Abrams DI. Not soy simple. J Soc Integr Oncol. 2010; 8(1):1-2.

Silverberg MJ, Chao C, Abrams DI. New insights into the role of HIV infection on cancer risk. Lancet Oncol. 2009 Dec; 10(12):1133-4.

Silverberg MJ, Chao C, Leyden WA, Xu L, Tang B, Horberg MA, Klein D, Quesenberry CP, Towner WJ, Abrams DI. HIV infection and the risk of cancers with and without a known infectious cause. AIDS. 2009 Nov 13; 23(17):2337-45.

Silverberg MJ, Abrams DI. Do antiretrovirals reduce the risk of non-AIDS-defining malignancies? Curr Opin HIV AIDS. 2009 Jan; 4(1):42-51.

Deng GE, Frenkel M, Cohen L, Cassileth BR, Abrams DI, Capodice JL, Courneya KS, Dryden T, Hanser S, Kumar N, Labriola D, Wardell DW, Sagar S. Evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for integrative oncology: complementary therapies and botanicals. J Soc Integr Oncol. 2009; 7(3):85-120.

Monforte Ad, Abrams D, Pradier C, Weber R, Reiss P, Bonnet F, Kirk O, Law M, De Wit S, Friis-Møller N, Phillips AN, Sabin CA, Lundgren JD. HIV-induced immunodeficiency and mortality from AIDS-defining and non-AIDS-defining malignancies. AIDS. 2008 Oct 18; 22(16):2143-53.

Lee J, Dodd MJ, Dibble SL, Abrams DI. Nausea at the end of adjuvant cancer treatment in relation to exercise during treatment in patients with breast cancer. Oncol Nurs Forum. 2008 Sep; 35(5):830-5.

Baker JV, Peng G, Rapkin J, Krason D, Reilly C, Cavert WP, Abrams DI, MacArthur RD, Henry K, Neaton JD. Poor initial CD4+ recovery with antiretroviral therapy prolongs immune depletion and increases risk for AIDS and non-AIDS diseases. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2008 Aug 15; 48(5):541-6.

Lee J, Dodd M, Dibble S, Abrams D. Review of acupressure studies for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting control. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2008 Nov; 36(5):529-44.

Baker JV, Peng G, Rapkin J, Abrams DI, Silverberg MJ, MacArthur RD, Cavert WP, Henry WK, Neaton JD. CD4+ count and risk of non-AIDS diseases following initial treatment for HIV infection. AIDS. 2008 Apr 23; 22(7):841-8.

Chou FY, Dodd M, Abrams D, Padilla G. Symptoms, self-care, and quality of life of Chinese American patients with cancer. Oncol Nurs Forum. 2007 Nov; 34(6):1162-7.

Silverberg MJ, Neuhaus J, Bower M, Gey D, Hatzakis A, Henry K, Hidalgo J, Lourtau L, Neaton JD, Tambussi G, Abrams DI. Risk of cancers during interrupted antiretroviral therapy in the SMART study. AIDS. 2007 Sep 12; 21(14):1957-63.

Silverberg MJ, Abrams DI. AIDS-defining and non-AIDS-defining malignancies: cancer occurrence in the antiretroviral therapy era. Curr Opin Oncol. 2007 Sep; 19(5):446-51.

Abrams DI. An overview of integrative oncology. Clin Adv Hematol Oncol. 2007 Jan; 5(1):45-7.

Abrams DI, Shade SB, Couey P, McCune JM, Lo J, Bacchetti P, Chang B, Epling L, Liegler T, Grant RM. Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) effects on HIV replication and host immunity: a randomized placebo-controlled study. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2007 Jan; 23(1):77-85.

Deng GE, Cassileth BR, Cohen L, Gubili J, Johnstone PA, Kumar N, Vickers A. Integrative Oncology Practice Guidelines. J Soc Integr Oncol. 2007; 5(2):65-84.

Astin JA, Stone J, Abrams DI, Moore DH, Couey P, Buscemi R, Targ E. The efficacy of distant healing for human immunodeficiency virus--results of a randomized trial. Altern Ther Health Med. 2006 Nov-Dec; 12(6):36-41.

Lawrence J, Hullsiek KH, Thackeray LM, Abrams DI, Crane LR, Mayers DL, Jones MC, Saldanha JM, Schmetter BS, Baxter JD. Disadvantages of structured treatment interruption persist in patients with multidrug-resistant HIV-1: final results of the CPCRA 064 study. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2006 Oct 01; 43(2):169-78.

Abrams DI. Community-based clinical trials in hiv: the contributions of Mathilde Krim. AIDS Patient Care STDS. 2006 Jul; 20(7):480-5.

Dhruva A, Cheng J, Kwong M, Luce JA, Abrams DI. Contrasts, conflicts, and change: A case in cultural oncology. J Support Oncol. 2006 Jun; 4(6):301-4.

Behler C, Shade S, Gregory K, Abrams D, Volberding P. Anemia and HIV in the antiretroviral era: potential significance of testosterone. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2005 Mar; 21(3):200-6.

Carter GT, Weydt P, Kyashna-Tocha M, Abrams DI. Medicinal cannabis: rational guidelines for dosing. IDrugs. 2004 May; 7(5):464-70.

Markowitz N, Bebchuk JD, Abrams DI. Nadir CD4+ T cell count predicts response to subcutaneous recombinant interleukin-2. Clin Infect Dis. 2003 Oct 15; 37(8):e115-20.

Hunt PW, Deeks SG, Rodriguez B, Valdez H, Shade SB, Abrams DI, Kitahata MM, Krone M, Neilands TB, Brand RJ, Lederman MM, Martin JN. Continued CD4 cell count increases in HIV-infected adults experiencing 4 years of viral suppression on antiretroviral therapy. AIDS. 2003 Sep 05; 17(13):1907-15.

Lawrence J, Mayers DL, Hullsiek KH, Collins G, Abrams DI, Reisler RB, Crane LR, Schmetter BS, Dionne TJ, Saldanha JM, Jones MC, Baxter JD. Structured treatment interruption in patients with multidrug-resistant human immunodeficiency virus. N Engl J Med. 2003 Aug 28; 349(9):837-46.

Abrams DI, Hilton JF, Leiser RJ, Shade SB, Elbeik TA, Aweeka FT, Benowitz NL, Bredt BM, Kosel B, Aberg JA, Deeks SG, Mitchell TF, Mulligan K, Bacchetti P, McCune JM, Schambelan M. Short-term effects of cannabinoids in patients with HIV-1 infection: a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Ann Intern Med. 2003 Aug 19; 139(4):258-66.

Bredt BM, Higuera-Alhino D, Shade SB, Hebert SJ, McCune JM, Abrams DI. Short-term effects of cannabinoids on immune phenotype and function in HIV-1-infected patients. J Clin Pharmacol. 2002 Nov; 42(11 Suppl):82S-89S.

Emery S, Abrams DI, Cooper DA, Darbyshire JH, Lane HC, Lundgren JD, Neaton JD. The evaluation of subcutaneous proleukin (interleukin-2) in a randomized international trial: rationale, design, and methods of ESPRIT. Control Clin Trials. 2002 Apr; 23(2):198-220.

Kosel BW, Aweeka FT, Benowitz NL, Shade SB, Hilton JF, Lizak PS, Abrams DI. The effects of cannabinoids on the pharmacokinetics of indinavir and nelfinavir. AIDS. 2002 Mar 08; 16(4):543-50.

Abrams DI, Bebchuk JD, Denning ET, Davey RT, Fox L, Lane HC, Sampson J, Verheggen R, Zeh D, Markowitz NP. Randomized, open-label study of the impact of two doses of subcutaneous recombinant interleukin-2 on viral burden in patients with HIV-1 infection and CD4+ cell counts of > or = 300/mm3: CPCRA 059. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2002 Mar 01; 29(3):221-31.

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