I lead AstraZeneca’s late-stage oncology portfolio of innovative medicines and immunotherapies through global clinical development and regulatory submissions.

In my role, I oversee a team of clinical development and operations colleagues around the world, who are currently responsible for a broad portfolio of potential medicines, and more than 150 studies spanning multiple indications.

Our work at AstraZeneca is among the most exciting in my 20 years in cancer research. We have a rich and growing oncology pipeline including both new molecular entities and currently marketed therapies that have the potential to address unmet needs in many hard-to-treat cancers. Every day, we are pushing the boundaries of science and challenging the status quo to deliver practice-changing medicines to redefine the treatment of cancer.

Before joining AstraZeneca, I held a variety of clinical development leadership roles at Pfizer and at Novartis Pharmaceuticals. Over the last several years, I have lectured extensively on topics including immunotherapy clinical trials, breast cancer and clinical development of PI3K inhibitors. I have published on a wide range of cancer topics, authoring 50 peer-reviewed papers and more than 100 conference abstracts. I have also generated several patents for cancer treatment combinations and regimens.

A medical oncologist by training, I earned my medical degree from Marche Polytechnic University and received medical oncology training at the Royal Marsden Hospital, Kaplan Comprehensive Cancer Center and the European Institute of Oncology.

We have the potential to disrupt cancer treatment paradigms in multiple tumours. For patients, this means new medicines that could transform their lives and potentially one day find a cure. This work is what has driven my career as a medical oncologist.

Cristian Massacesi Senior Vice-President, Head of Late Stage Development Oncology, AstraZeneca


2008-2014: Several Novartis awards including President’s Award, Vision Award and Region Europe Award


1999: Italian League Against Cancer’s Leonida Gennarelli Grant


1998: A. Girombelli Prize for Best Oncology Dissertation

Headshot of Dr. Cristian Massacesi, Senior Vice President, Head of Late Stage Development Oncology at AstraZeneca


Senior Vice-President, Head of Late Stage Development Oncology, AstraZeneca

2017 - 2019

Led multiple development programs and submissions with small molecule and immunotherapy in lung cancer, head and neck cancer, haematological malignancies and innovative combinations as Vice-President, Medicine Team Leader, Oncology for Pfizer

2010 - 2017

Held increasing levels of responsibility in Oncology Global Development at Novartis, most recent Vice-President, Senior Global Clinical Program Head. Led clinical development of the PI3Ki portfolio, including multiple submissions and registrational studies and headed the Immunotherapy Center of Excellence. Site head for a full-development group across functions and portfolio.

2008 - 2010

As Senior Global Clinical Leader at Novartis, led late-stage clinical development teams

 Featured publications

Starting the fight in the tumor: expert recommendations for the development of human intratumoral immunotherapy (HIT-IT).

Marabelle A, Andtbacka R, Harrington K, Melero I, Leidner R, de Baere T, Robert C, Ascierto PA, Baurain JF, Imperiale M, Rahimian S, Tersago D, Klumper E, Hendriks M, Kumar R, Stern M, Öhrling K, Massacesi C, Tchakov I, Tse A, Douillard JY, Tabernero J, Haanen J, Brody J. Ann Oncol. 2018 Nov 1;29(11):2163-2174. Publication link.

Phase II study of buparlisib (BKM120) in combination with trastuzumab in patients with HER2+ locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer resistant to trastuzumab-based therapy.

Pistilli B, Pluard T, Urruticoechea A, Farci D, Kong A, Bachelot T, Chan S, Han HS, Jerusalem G, Urban P, Robinson D, Mouhaër SL, Tomaso ED, Massacesi C, Saura C. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2018 Apr;168(2):357-364. Publication link

First-Line ceritinib versus platinum-based chemotherapy in advanced ALK-rearranged non-small-cell lung cancer (ASCEND-4): a randomised, open-label, phase 3 study.

Soria JC, Tan DSW, Chiari R, Wu YL, Paz-Ares L, Wolf J, Geater SL, Orlov S, Cortinovis D, Yu CJ, Hochmair M, Cortot AB, Tsai CM, Moro-Sibilot D, Campelo RG, McCulloch T, Sen P, Dugan M, Pantano S, Branle F, Massacesi C, de Castro G Jr. Lancet. 2017 Mar 4;389(10072):917-929. Publication link.


Buparlisib plus fulvestrant versus placebo plus fulvestrant in postmenopausal, hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative, advanced breast cancer (BELLE-2): a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial.

Baselga J, Im SA, Iwata H, Cortés J, De Laurentiis M, Jiang Z, Arteaga CL, Jonat W, Clemons M, Ito Y, Awada A, Chia S, Jagiełło-Gruszfeld A, Pistilli B, Tseng LM, Hurvitz S, Masuda N, Takahashi M, Vuylsteke P, Hachemi S, Dharan B, Di Tomaso E, Urban P, Massacesi C, Campone M. Lancet Oncol. 2017 Jul;18(7):904-916. Publication link.

Ceritinib versus chemotherapy in patients with ALK-rearranged non-small-cell lung cancer previously given chemotherapy and crizotinib (ASCEND-5): a randomised, controlled, open-label, phase 3 trial.

Shaw AT, Kim TM, Crinò L, Gridelli C, Kiura K, Liu G, Novello S, Bearz A, Gautschi O, Mok T, Nishio M, Scagliotti G, Spigel DR, Deudon S, Zheng C, Pantano S, Urban P, Massacesi C, Viraswami-Appanna K, Felip E. Lancet Oncol. 2017 Jul;18(7):874-886. Publication link.

PI3K inhibitors as new cancer therapeutics: implications for clinical trial design.

Massacesi C, Di Tomaso E, Urban P, Germa C, Quadt C, Trandafir L, Aimone P, Fretault N, Dharan B, Tavorath R, Hirawat S. Onco Targets Ther. 2016 Jan 7;9:203–210. Publication link.

Overcoming Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase (PI3K) activation in breast cancer: Emerging PI3K inhibitors.

Massacesi C, Di Tomaso E, Urban P, Germa C, Fretault N, Bharani-Dharan B, Tavorath R, Quadt C, Coughlin C, Hirawat S. J Oncopath. 2015 Feb;3(1):27-39. Publication link.

Phase Ib Study of Buparlisib plus Trastuzumab in Patients with HER2-Positive Advanced or Metastatic Breast Cancer That Has Progressed on Trastuzumab-Based Therapy.

Saura C, Bendell J, Jerusalem G, Su S, Ru Q, De Buck S, Mills D, Ruquet S, Bosch A, Urruticoechea A, Beck JT, Di Tomaso E, Sternberg DW, Massacesi C, Hirawat S, Dirix L, Baselga J. Clin Cancer Res. 2014 Apr 1;20(7):1935-45. Publication link.

Phase I Study of Everolimus Plus Weekly Paclitaxel and Trastuzumab in Patients With Metastatic Breast Cancer Pretreated With Trastuzumab.

Andre F, Campone M, O’Regan R, Manlius C, Massacesi C, Sahmoud T, Mukhopadhyay P, Soria JC, Naughton M, Hurvitz SA. J Clin Oncol. 2010 Dec 1;28(34):5110-5. Publication link.

AZD2014, an Inhibitor of mTORC1 and mTORC2, Is Highly Effective in ER+ Breast Cancer When Administered Using Intermittent or Continuous Schedules.

Guichard SM, Curwen J, Bihani T, D'Cruz CM, Yates JW, Grondine M, Howard Z, Davies BR, Bigley G, Klinowska T, Pike KG, Pass M, Chresta CM, Polanska UM, McEwen R, Delpuech O, Green S, Cosulich SC. Mol Cancer Ther. 2015 Nov;14(11):2508-18. Publication link.