Marilene B. Wang, MD

Marilene B. Wang, MD

Primary Location
Head & Neck Surgery
200 Medical Plaza
Los Angeles, California 90095


Marilene B. Wang is a head and neck surgeon who is currently a Professor in the Department of Head and Neck Surgery at UCLA School of Medicine and has been a faculty member here since 1992.

Dr. Wang earned her B.A. in Mathematics with highest honors at La Sierra University, Riverside, CA in 1982. She earned her M.D. at Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda, CA in 1986 and graduated first in her class of 134. She completed her residency in Head and Neck Surgery at UCLA in 1992.

She won the First Place Award in Resident Clinical Research from the American Academy of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery in 1991. She was a recipient of a Research Training Award from the American Triological Society in 1993. Dr. Wang was given an Honor Award from the American Academy of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery in 2001 and a Distinguished Service Award in 2013. She was named a Cochrane Scholar by the American Academy of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery in 2014. She was a member of the Faculty ExecutiveCommittee at the School of Medicine from 1998-2001. She is currently a member of the Advisory Board for the College of Applied Anatomy for the School of Medicine, a Well-being Advisor, and a member of the Council of Advisors for UCLA Faculty Diversity and Development.

She is committed to medical student and resident education both in the clinical setting and in the laboratory. She has mentored many students and residents in her head and neck cancer research laboratory, and several have won prestigious awards for their projects in the laboratory, including the Shirley Baron Award from the Western Section of the Triological Society, a Basic Science Award for resident research from the American Academy of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery, and a First Place Award for the Poster Session of the Triological Society.

She specializes in treatment of nasal and sinus diseases, skull base tumors, head and neck cancer, thyroid/parathyroid disease, and snoring/sleep apnea.

She utilizes minimally invasive endoscopic techniques for sinus surgery and removal of sinonasal tumors, including endoscopic removal of skull base tumors, juvenile nasal angiofibromas, inverting papillomas, and selected malignancies. She also is active in the Pituitary Tumor and Endosopic Neurosurgery Programs.

Professional Memberships

  • The American College of Surgeons
  • The American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery
  • The American Board of Otolaryngology
  • The American Association for Cancer Research
  • Society of University Otolaryngolgists
  • American Head and Neck Society
  • The Triological Society

Academic and Medical Staff Appointments

  • Professor-in-Residence, Department of Head and Neck Surgery, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA


Medical Board Certification

Otolaryngology, American Board of Otolaryngology, 1993


UCLA School of Medicine, 1992


UCLA School of Medicine, 1987


Loma Linda University School of Medicine, MD, 1986


West Los Angeles

Head & Neck Surgery

Head and Neck Surgery| Pediatric Head and Neck Surgery| Laryngology +1 more

Hospital Affiliations

Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center


"I have sinus headaches all the time. What can I do about them?" | Sinus Issues
"I keep on geting sinus infections. Is there anything I can do to prevent them?" | Sinus Issues
"I had surgery for nasal polyps and they came back. Will another surgery get rid of them or do they always come back?" | Nasal Polyps
"I can't smell things very well anymore. What could be wrong?" | Nasal Problems
"I can't breathe well through my nose. What could the problem be?" | Nasal Problems
"My nose bleeds a lot and it takes a long time to stop. What can I do?" | Nasal Problems
"After removing the pituitary tumor through my nose will I still be able to breathe through my nose?" | Pituitary Surgery
"Why is a head and neck surgeon involved in my pituitary surgery?" | Pituitary Surgery



Dr. Wang has a research laboratory whose focus is to explore the molecular basis for the development and progression of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Advanced head and neck cancer carries a poor prognosis, and a goal of this lab is to search for more effective and less toxic treatments for this devastating disease.

Current Projects:

  1. Curcumin suppression of head and neck cancer. Curcumin, also known as turmeric, is a naturally occurring plant phenol that is a commonly used spice. Dr. Wang's laboratory has found that curcumin treatment of HNSCC both in vitro and in vivo results in significant suppression of cancer growth.
  2. Stem cells in head and neck cancer. A specific population of tumor-initiating cells, or tumor stem cells, is responsible for the uncontrolled growth of cancers, as well as their resistance to chemotherapy and radiation. Dr. Wang's laboratory has found that the population of CD44 positive cells within HNSCCs, when isolated, grows more quickly and is more resistant to cisplatin than CD44 negative cells. HNSCC stem cells can be targeted for treatment with curcumin, which because of its alternate mechanism of action compared to cisplatin, may inhibit growth of these stem cells.

Dr. Wang has funding from the National Cancer Institute/National Institutes of Health for her research.


  1. Yakob M, Fuentes L, Wang, MB, Abemayor E, Wong DT. Salivary biomarkers for detection of oral squamous cell carcinoma – current state and recent advances. Current Oral Health Reports, DOI: 10.1007/s40496-014-0014-y, March 2014.
  2. Tajudeen B, Vorasubin N, Sanaiha Y, Palma-Diaz MF, Suh JD, Wang, MB. Sinonasal mucosal melanoma: 20-year experience at a tertiary referral center. Int Forum Allergy Rhinol, Jul;4(7):592-7. doi: 10.1002/alr.21324. Epub 2014 Mar 24.
  3. Peng KA, Suh JD, Bhuta SM, Wang, MB. Sinonasal lymphoma: Case series and review of the literature. Int Forum Allergy Rhinol, 2014 Aug;4(8):670-4. doi: 10.1002/alr.21337. Epub 2014 Apr 23
  4. Tajudeen BA, Mundi J, Suh JD, Bergsneider M, Wang, MB. Endoscopic endonasal surgery for recurrent pituitary tumors: Technical challenges to the surgical approach. J Neurol Surg B Skull Base, 2015 Feb;76(1):50-6. doi: 10.1055/s-0034-1383856. Epub 2014 Sep 13.
  5. Tajudeen BA Arshi A, Suh JD, St. John M, Wang, MB. The importance of tumor grade in esthesioneuroblastoma survival: a population-based analysis. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2014 Dec;140(12):1124-9. doi: 10.1001/jamaoto.2014.2541.
  6. Kim IA, Lai C, Wang, MB. Pleomorphic lipoma of the neck: A benign lesion mimicking liposarcoma. J of Otology and Rhinology, in press.
  7. Tajudeen B, Arshi A, Suh JD, Palma-Diaz MF, Bergsneider M, Abemayor E, St. John M, Wang, MB.Esthesioneuroblastoma: An update on the UCLA experience 2002-2013. J Neurol Surg B Skull Base, 2015 Feb;76(1):43-9. doi: 10.1055/s-0034-1390011. Epub 2014 Sep 13.
  8. Peng KA, Kita AE, Van de Wiele BM, Suh JD, Bergsneider M, Wang, MB. Management of obstructive sleep apnea following endoscopic skull base surgery. J of Otology and Rhinology, in press.
  9. Peng KA, Grogan T, Wang, MB. Head and neck sarcomas: analysis of the SEER database. Otolaryngol—Head and Neck Surgery, 2014 Oct;151(4):627-33. doi: 10.1177/0194599814545747. Epub 2014 Aug 18.
  10. Kuan EC, Peng KA, Kita AE, Bergsneider M, Wang, MB. Acromegaly: Otolaryngic manifestations following pituitary surgery. Am J Otolaryngol, 2015 Mar 7. pii: S0196-0709(15)00066-6.
  11. Deschler DG, Richmon JD, Khariwala SS, Ferris RL, Wang, MB. The “new” head and neck cancer patient: young, nonsmoker, non-drinker, and HPV+: Evaluation. Otolaryngol—Head Neck Surg, 2014 Jun 12. pii: 0194599814538605. [Epub ahead of print].
  12. Roman BR, Patel SG, Wang, MB, Pou AM, Holsinger FC, Myssiorek D, Goldenberg D, Swisher-McClure S, Lin A, Shah JP, Shea JA. Guideline familiarity predicts variation in self-reported use of routine surveillance PET/CT by physicians who treat head and neck cancer. J Natl Compr Canc Netw, 2015;13:69-77.
  13. Kita AE, Bhuta SM, Wang, MB. Worsening headache and nasal congestion. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2015 Apr 1;141(4):387-8.
  14. McLaughlin N, Martin NA, Upadhyaya P, Bari A, Buxey F, Wang, MB, Heaney AP, Bergsneider M. Assessing the cost of contemporary pituitary care. Neurosurgical Focus, in press.
  15. Veena MS, Wilken R, Zheng JY, Gholkar A, Venkatesan N, Vira D, Ahmed S, Basak SK, Delgard CL, Ravichandran S, Batra RK, Kasahara N, Elashoff D, Fishbein MC, Whitelegge JP, Torres JZ, Wang, MB, and Srivatsan ES. P16 andgigaxonin are associated with the ubiquitination of NFκB in cisplatin induced senescence of cancer cells. J Biol Chem, 2014 Oct 20. pii: jbc.M114.568543. [Epub ahead of print].
  16. Kuan EC, Suh JD, Wang, MB. Empty nose syndrome. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep, 2015 Jan;15(1):493. doi: 10.1007/s11882-014-0493-x.
  17. Kuan EC, Palma Diaz MF, Chiu AG, Bergsneider M, Wang, MB, Suh JD. Sinonasal and Skull Base Pleomorphic Adenoma: A Case Series and Literature Review. Int Forum Allergy Rhinol, 2015 May;5(5):460-8.
  18. Peng, KA, Kuan EC, Unger L, Lorentz W, Wang, MB, Long J. A swallow preservation protocol improves function for veterans receiving chemoradiation for head and neck cancer. Otolaryngol--Head Neck Surg, 2015 May;152(5):863-7.
  19. Thompson CF, Suh JD, McWilliams J, Duckwiler G, Wang, MB. Initial experience of an HHT center of excellence. Ear, Nose, Throat J, in press.
  20. Nguyen CT, Wang, MB. Have 2006 ATA practice guidelines affected the treatment of differentiated thyroid cancer in the United States? Letter to the Editor. Thyroid, in press.
  21. Nguyen CT, Wang, MB. Intraoperative nerve monitoring (IONM) and vocal cord paralysis (VCP): Have rates really risen following adoption of IONM? Letter to the Editor. J Am Coll Surg, in press.
  22. Kuan EC, Peng KA, Thompson CF, Suh JD, Wang, MB. Sinonasal symptomatic outcomes following laser treatment of epistaxis related to hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia. Am J Otolaryngol, in press.
  23. Basak SK, Zinabadi A, Wu A, Venkatasan N, Duarte VM, Dalgard CL, Kang J, Srivastava M, Sarkar FH, Wang, MB, Srivatsan ES. Liposome encapsulated curcumin-difluorinated (CDF) inhibits the growth of cisplatin resistant head and neck cancer stem cells. Oncotarget 2015 May 19.
  24. Kuan EC, Tajudeen BA, Peng KA, Wang, MB. Sinonasal outcomes in obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. The Laryngoscope 2015 Jun 24. doi: 10.1002/lary.25411.
  25. Wang, MB, Liu IY, Gornbein JA, Nguyen CT. HPV positive oropharyngeal carcinoma: A systematic review of treatment and prognosis. Otolaryngol—Head Neck Surg, 2015 Jun 29. pii: 0194599815592157. [Epub ahead of print]


  • Otolaryngology, the Academy of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery Foundation, Inc.
    • Research Training Award, 1993, The American Triological Society, Inc.
    • The American Academy of Otolaryngology Resident Research Grant, 1994 (Co-investigator/preceptor to Kathleen R.Billings, M.D.)
    • The Shirley Baron Award, 1999, (Preceptor to Ali Namazie, M.D.), given for the best resident paper by the Western Section of the Triological Society.
    • Third Place, Resident Basic Science Research, The American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, 2000 (Preceptor to Steven J. Wang, M.D.)
    • Honor Award, The American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, 2001
    • Special Contribution Award, Department of Veterans Affairs, VAGLAHS, January 15, 2002
    • First Place Award, Poster Session of the Annual Meeting of the Triological Society, 2004
    • Los Angeles Super Doctors 2010-present
    • Best Doctors in America 2010-present
    • Honored Alumnus, La Sierra University College of Arts and Sciences, 2012
    • Vice President’s Award, Western Section of the Triological Society, 2012 (Preceptor to Dr. Darshni Vira, resident)
    • Best Resident Clinical Paper Award, 2013 North American Skull Base Society Annual Meeting (preceptor to Dr. Christopher Thompson)
    • Distinguished Service Award, The American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, 2013
    • Cochrane Scholar, The American Academy of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery, 2014
    • Vice President’s Award, Western Section of the Triological Society, 2015 (Preceptor to Dr. Aaron Feinstein, resident)
    • Presidential Citation, The Triological Society, 2015