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Hanna Joins M. D. Anderson’s Skull Base Tumor Program

Hanna Joins M. D. Anderson’s Skull Base Tumor Program
M. D. Anderson News Release 03/30/04

Ehab Y. Hanna, M.D. has joined The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center as professor and co-director of the skull base tumor program in the Head and Neck Center.

Before joining the faculty at M. D. Anderson, Hanna served as professor and vice-chair of the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

Hanna will team with Franco DeMonte, M.D. in the Department of Neurosurgery to coordinate the skull base tumor program, which includes a multi-disciplinary team of neurosurgeons, head and neck surgeons, a neuro-otologist, plastic surgeons, dental oncologists, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, pathologists, diagnostic radiologists and rehabilitation specialists. DeMonte has been the director of the program since 1992.

According to Hanna, the skull base is the bony region separating the brain from structures outside the cranium. All cranial nerves, the spinal cord and the large blood vessels carrying blood to and from the brain such as the carotid arteries and jugular veins pass through the skull base.

Skull base surgery refers to the techniques used to remove benign or malignant tumors, or any other lesions that involve the floor of the cranial cavity. The complex anatomy of the skull base has traditionally challenged neurosurgeons and otolaryngologists as they have sought to formulate more precise techniques to treat and remove these growths, he continued.

“My highest priority is building a clinical program capable of providing the highest level of multi-disciplinary care for any patient referred for treatment of a skull base tumor or lesion,” Hanna said. “This program will be the driving force behind our research and educational efforts as well.”

Because the discipline of skull base surgery is emerging and rapidly changing as new technology is introduced and its use refined, Hanna has set goals for establishing educational resources unique to M. D. Anderson. One of his goals includes establishing web-based educational resources, consultation and outreach to physicians nationwide. He also plans to begin work with DeMonte on a textbook covering the comprehensive care of skull base tumors and will eventually establish a fellowship in skull base surgery at M. D. Anderson. 

Hanna will lead a multi-disciplinary team in clinical research evaluating new diagnostic, therapeutic and reconstructive tools and quality of life issues for patients. His basic science and translational research will examine the biology of skull base tumors, as well as their genetic characteristics, which may lead to some understanding of how these tumors grow and spread beyond cranial areas.

“I am energized by the environment at M. D. Anderson and the direction of the skull base tumor program,” Hanna said. “With a highly skilled team and new technology on the horizon such as the proton therapy center and intra-operative MRI, M. D. Anderson will stay on the leading edge of this discipline.  The surgical component of the program will also offer and develop new minimally invasive techniques, such as endoscopic resection, to patients. These techniques offer the potential advantage of less morbidity and better quality of life than the more extensive traditional techniques.” 

Hanna received his medical degree and master’s degree in otolaryngology from Ain Shams University School of Medicine in Cairo, Egypt. Hanna completed his residency in otolaryngology/head and neck surgery at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio and a fellowship in advanced cranial base and head and neck oncologic surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Hanna is a fellow with the American College of Surgeons and is board certified in otolaryngology.

A member of the Council of the American Head and Neck Society, Hanna also chairs the research committee for the North American Skull Base Society, and co-chairs the surgical sub-committee for the head and neck committee of the Southwest Oncology Group.

For more information about the skull base surgery program or Head and Neck Center at M. D. Anderson, visit

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