Robert C. Knapp

20 Sutton Place South
New York, NY 10022

Phone: (212) 829-1209
Fax: (212) 753-9929
Email Dr. Knapp

Dr. Knapp is the former Director of Gynecology and Gynecologic Oncology at the Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

Dr. Knapp's complete CV is available as a PDF document and can be downloaded here.

Karsh photo 1985
Drs. Knapp and Goodman at surgery
Dr. Knapp's Fellows at retirement dinner 1993

Research Contributions

Acute Renal Failure in Pregnancy and Septic Abortion

When I was a resident, I witnessed the appalling death rate from overwhelming sepsis caused by illegally induced abortions. I published two papers on the management of this problem in 1959 and 1960.1-2

Ovarian Cancer Research

The surgical evaluation of aortic lymph nodes

The surgical evaluation of the aortic lymph nodes revealed the presence of metastasis in patients who were thought to have cancer confined to the ovary. 3 Finding tumor in lymph nodes will change stage and often treatment.

Formation of Malignant Ascites in Ovarian Cancer

We used a murine model that developed ovarian cancer and malignant ascites to assess the role of tumor implants in the diaphragmatic lymphatic channels. These implants contributes to the formation of malignant ascites.4-5

CA 125

The detection of an ovarian cancer antigen in the blood of patients with ovarian cancer lead to the development of an immunoassay. This test has become the standard of medical practice for evaluating a pelvic mass, monitoring a patient with ovarian cancer receiving chemotherapy and determining recurrence after the completion of therapy.6-16

Surgical Contribution

I described the dissection of the paravesical and pararectal spaces in pelvic operations.17 This has enabled the surgeon to simplify dissection of the pelvic retroperitoneal both in radical operations as well as benign surgery. This dissection is of value to prevent ureteral injury as well as visualization of the artery and veins.

Research To Date

Assess ovarian tumor markers that could lead to the early detection of ovarian cancer. Participate in early detection grants evaluating women at high risk for ovarian cancer. Serve as consultant to industry in evaluating a variety of tumor markers.18-20

Lectures and Teaching

Medical Students

I teach a session on ovarian cancer at the Weill Medical School of Cornell University. I also have a seminar session related to the patient doctor interaction. We discuss such topics as the importance of empathy, giving bad news, informed consent, truth, and the non-conforming patient.21

Physician Lectures

Lectures at medical rounds, medical conferences and hospital meetings.

Clinical Practice

In 1998 I relocated to New York City from Boston. I do not maintain a practice.


Dr. Knapp has published 211 medical articles. He is one of the co-inventors of the blood test for ovarian cancer, CA125. Selected papers are as follows:

  1. Knapp RC and Hellman LM: Acute renal failure in pregnancy. Am J Obstet & Gynecol. 1959;78:570.
  2. Knapp RC, Platt MA and Douglas RG: Septic abortion: five year analysis at the New York Hosptial. Obstet & Gynecol. 1960;15:344.
  3. Knapp RC and Friedman EA: Aortic lymph node metastases in early ovartian cancer. Am J Obstet & Gynecol. 1974;119:1013.
  4. Feldman GB, Knapp RC, Order SE and Hellman S: The role of lymphatic obstruction in the formation of ascites in a murine ovarian carcinoma. Cancer Res. 1972;32:1663.
  5. Feldman GB and Knapp RC: Lymphatic drainage of the peritoneal cavity and its significance in ovarian cancer. Am J Obstet &
    Gynecol. 1974;119:991.
  6. Bast RC Jr, Klug TL, St John E, Jenison E, Niloff JM, Lazarus H, Berkowitz RS, Leavitt T, Griffiths CT, Parker L, Zarawski VR and Knapp RC: A radioimmunoassay using a monoclonal antibody to monitor the course of epithelial ovarian cancer. N Engl J Med. 1983;309:883.
  7. Klug TL, Bast RC Jr, Niloff JM, Knapp RC, Zurawski VR Jr: A monoclonal antibody immunoradiometric assay for an antigenic determinant (CA 125) associated with human epithelial ovarian carcinomas. Cancer Res. 1984;44:1048.
  8. Niloff JM, Bast RC Jr, Schaetzl EM and Knapp RC: Predictive value of CA 125 antigen at second-look procedures in ovarian cancer. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1985;151:981.
  9. Berek JS, Knapp RC, Malkasian GD, Lavin PT, Hacker NF, Whitney C, Niloff JM, Bast RC Jr: CA 125 serum levels correlate with second-look operations among ovarian cancer patients: Obstet Gynecol. 1986;67:685.
  10. Niloff JM, Knapp RC, Lavin PT, Malkasian GD, Berek JS, Mortel R, Whitney C, Zurawski VR, Bast RC Jr: The CA 125 assay as a predicator of clinical recurrence in epithelial ovarian cancer. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1986;155:56.
  11. Lavin PT, Knapp RC, Malkasian G, Whitney CW, Berek JC, Bast RC Jr: CA 125 for the monitoring of ovarian carcinoma during primary therapy. Obstet Gynecol. 1987;69:223.
  12. Finkler NJ, Benacerraf B, Lavin PT, Wojciechowski C, Knapp RC: Comparison of serum CA 125, clinical impression and ultrasound in the preoperative evaluation of ovarian masses. Obstet Gynecol 1988;72:659.
  13. Malkasian GC, Knapp RC, Lavin PT, Zurawski VR, Podratz RC, Stanhope CR, Mortel R, Berek JS, Bast RC Jr, Ritts RE: Preoperative evaluation of serum CA 125 levels in premenopausal and postmenopausal patients with pelvic masses: Discrimination of benign from malignant disease. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1988;159:341.
  14. Knapp RC, Lau CC: Monoclonal antibodies and radioimmunoconjugates: Keeping feasibility at center stage. In: J Clin Oncol 1990;8:1938.
  15. Mok Ch, Tsao SW, Knapp RC, Fishbaugh PM, Lau CC: Unifocal origin of advanced human epithelial ovarian cancers. Cancer Research 1992;52:5119.
  16. Einhorn N, Sjövall K, Knapp RC, Schoenfeld DA, Hall P, Scully RE, Bast RC Jr, Zurawski VR Jr: Prospective evaluation of serum CA 125 radioimmunoassay levels for early detection of ovarian cancer:. Obstet Gynecol 1992;80:14.
  17. Knapp RC, Donahue VC and Friedman EA: Dissection of paravesical and pararectal spaces in pelvic operations. Surg Gynecol & Obstet. 1973;137:758.
  18. Knapp RC: Reflections on ovarian cancer: A 33-year experience. Gynecol Oncol, 1994; 54:124.
  19. Skates SJ, Xu Feng-J i, Yin-Hua Y, Sjovall K, Einhorn N, YuChiao C, Bast RC Jr, Knapp RC: Toward an optimal algorithm for ovarian cancer screening with longitudinal tumor markers. Cancer, 1995; 76:2004.
  20. Skates Sj, Menon IJ, MacDonald N, Rosenthal AN, Oram DH, Knapp RC, Jacobs IJ: Calculation of the risk of ovarian cancer from serial CA 125 values for preclinical detection in postmenopausal women. J Clin Oncol. 2003; 21(10 Suppl):206.
  21. Skates SJ, Triano R, Knapp RC: Longitudinal CA 125 Detection of sporadic papillary serous carcinoma of the peritoneum. Int J Gynecol Cancer 2003;13:693-696.
  22. Chervenak FA, McCullough LB, Knapp RC, Caputo TA, Barber HRK: A clinically comprehensive ethical framework for offering & recommending treatment of cancer before and during pregnancy. Cancer. 2004; 100: 215.