Peter Edward Fecci


Associate Professor of Neurosurgery

As the Director of both the Brain Tumor Immunotherapy Program and the Center for Brain and Spine Metastasis at Duke University, I focus our programmatic interests on the design, optimization, and monitoring of immune-based treatment platforms for patients with intracranial tumors, whether primary or metastatic. Within this broad scope, however, my own group looks more specifically at limitations to immunotherapeutic success, with a particular focus on understanding and reversing T cell dysfunction in patients with glioblastoma (GBM) and brain metastases. We employ a systematic approach to categorizing T cell dysfunction (Woroniecka et al, Clin Cancer Res 2018 Aug 15;24(16):3792-3802), and whereas our earlier work addressed concerns for regulatory T cell-induced tolerance, we now heavily study T cell ignorance and exhaustion, as well. Regarding the former, we recently published the novel phenomenon of S1P1-mediated bone marrow T cell sequestration in patients with intracranial tumors (Chongsathidkiet et al, Nat Medicine 2018 Sep;24(9):1459-1468). Regarding the latter, we have likewise recently identified and characterized exhaustion as a significant limitation to T-cell function within GBM (Woroniecka et al, Clin Cancer Res 2018 Sep 1;24(17):4175-4186). I very much look to collaboratively integrate our approaches with others investigating innovative treatment options. I continue my focus on combining strategies for reversing T cell deficits with current and novel immune-based platforms as a means of deriving and improving rational and precise anti-tumor therapies. It is my sincerest desire to forge a career focused on co-operative, multi-disciplinary, organized brain tumor therapy. Ultimately, my goal is to help coordinate the efforts of a streamlined and effective center for brain tumor research and clinical care. I hope to play some role in ushering in a period where the science and treatment arms of brain tumor therapy suffer no disjoint, but instead represent the convergent efforts of researchers, neuro-oncologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, biomedical engineers, and neurosurgeons alike. I hope to see such synergy become standard of care.

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Associate Professor of Neurosurgery
  • Assistant Research Professor in Immunology
  • Associate Professor in Pathology
  • Member of the Duke Cancer Institute

Contact Information

  • Office Location: 201 Sands Bldg., Box 3050, Durham, NC 27710
  • Office Phone: (919) 681-2610
  • Email Address:


  • Massachusetts General Hospital, 2014
  • Dana Farber Cancer Institute, 2012
  • Massachusetts General Hospital, 2013
  • Massachusetts General Hospital, 2008
  • Ph.D. Duke University, 2007
  • M.D. Duke University School of Medicine, 2007

Research Interests

Brain Tumor Immunotherapy
Cancer-Induced Immune Dysfunction
Brain Metastasis

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions

  • Paper of the Year. American Association of Physicists in Medicine. 2017
  • Visting Scholar. National Institutes of Health. 2017
  • Duke Health Scholars Award. Duke University School of Medicine. 2016
  • Prince Mahidol Youth Mentor Award. Prince Mahidol Award Foundation. 2016
  • Alpha Omega Alpha. Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society. 2015
  • Resident Advocate Award. Duke University Department of Neurosurgery. 2015
  • Sontag Distinguished Scientist Award. Sontag Foundation. 2015
  • Matson Award for Best Basic Science Research. New England Neurosurgical Society. 2013
  • Preuss Award for Neuro-Oncologic Research. Congress of Neurological Surgeons. 2013
  • NIH Loan Repayment Program Award. National Institutes of Health. 2011
  • Resident Teaching Award. Tufts University School of Medicine. 2008
  • Neurosurgery Award. Duke University Department of Neurosurgery. 2007
  • Keynote Speaker. Society for Neuro-Oncology. 2006
  • Eugene A. Stead Scholar. Duke University School of Medicine. 2001
  • Medical Scientist Training Program Fellowship. National Institutes of Health. 2001
  • Cornell-Diamante Scholarship. Cornell University. 1999
  • Merrill Presidential Scholar. Cornell University. 1999
  • Nanaline H. Duke Scholar. Duke University School of Medicine. 1999

Courses Taught

  • MOLMED 301B: Research in MOLMED - Oncological Sciences
  • NSS 301B: Research in NSS
  • PATHOL 793: Research Independent Study

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Sampson, JH; Gunn, MD; Fecci, PE; Ashley, DM, Brain immunology and immunotherapy in brain tumours., Nat Rev Cancer, vol 20 no. 1 (2020), pp. 12-25 [10.1038/s41568-019-0224-7] [abs].
  • Woroniecka, KI; Rhodin, KE; Dechant, CA; Waibl Polania, J; Chongsathidkiet, P; Wilkinson, D; Cui, X; Sanchez-Perez, L; Fecci, PE, 4-1BB Agonism Averts TIL Exhaustion and Licenses PD-1 Blockade in Glioblastoma and Other Intracranial Cancers., Clinical Cancer Research : an Official Journal of the American Association for Cancer Research (2019) [10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-19-1068] [abs].
  • Kirkpatrick, JP; Fecci, PE, Offer Hypofractionated SRS… If Her Performance Status Is Good., Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys, vol 105 no. 5 (2019), pp. 940-941 [10.1016/j.ijrobp.2018.07.001] [abs].
  • Mohammadi, AM; Sharma, M; Beaumont, TL; Juarez, KO; Kemeny, H; Dechant, C; Seas, A; Sarmey, N; Lee, BS; Jia, X; Fecci, PE; Baehring, J; Moliterno, J; Chiang, VL; Ahluwalia, MS; Kim, AH; Barnett, GH; Leuthardt, EC, Upfront Magnetic Resonance Imaging-Guided Stereotactic Laser-Ablation in Newly Diagnosed Glioblastoma: A Multicenter Review of Survival Outcomes Compared to a Matched Cohort of Biopsy-Only Patients., Neurosurgery, vol 85 no. 6 (2019), pp. 762-772 [10.1093/neuros/nyy449] [abs].
  • Kemeny, HR; Elsamadicy, AA; Farber, SH; Champion, CD; Lorrey, SJ; Chongsathidkiet, P; Woroniecka, KI; Cui, X; Shen, SH; Rhodin, KE; Tsvankin, V; Everitt, J; Sanchez-Perez, L; Healy, P; McLendon, RE; Codd, PJ; Dunn, IF; Fecci, PE, Targeting PD-L1 Initiates Effective Antitumor Immunity in a Murine Model of Cushing Disease., Clinical Cancer Research : an Official Journal of the American Association for Cancer Research (2019) [10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-18-3486] [abs].