Michael Scott Sabel MD

Associate Professor, Surgery
Clinical Interests:

Breast cancer and melanoma

Video profile


U of M General Surgery

Cancer Center Floor 1
1500 E Medical Center Dr SPC 5916
Ann Arbor



  • Rush Presbyterian St. Lukes Medical Center, Surgery General, IL, 1997


  • Surgical Oncology, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, 2001

Board Certification

  • Surgery


Dr. Sabel has several research interests at the University of Michigan. One centers on methods to incorporate the patient's own immune system to recognize and eradicate malignant disease. One "catch-22" in the field of cancer immunotherapy has been that the most successful approaches have been those that are the most technically challenging and expensive, thus limiting the number of patients who may benefit. To overcome this challenge, Dr. Sabel has focused on methods to destroy tumors in the body in a way that stimulates the immune system in a positive fashion. One approach to "in situ vaccination" has been the use of microspheres injected into the tumor to slowly release pro-inflammatory cytokines to stimulate a systemic immune response. Another approach has been the use of cryoablation (freezing tumors), which both destroys the primary tumor and stimulates an anti-tumor immune response. Dr. Sabel is presently exploring these novel therapies in both his laboratory and in clinical trials.

Another area of interest for Dr. Sabel is the identification of new biomarkers that may help guide cancer therapies. The field of oncology is moving towards more personalized medicine, tailoring cancer therapies (surgery, radiation, chemotherapy) based on the unique attributes of the cancer cells. Identifying these attributes can help guide therapy decisions, improving efficacy while sparing the side-effects of therapy from patients who don't require it. Dr. Sabel is involved in several unique aspects of biomarker discovery, including tissue microarray analysis of breast cancer (looking for unique proteins expressed on the surface of breast cancer cells), proteomics in melanoma (which involves detecting antibodies to melanoma-related proteins in the serum), and using morphometric data to predict patient responses to surgery, chemotherapy or immunotherapies.


Michael S. Sabel, MD is an Associate Professor of Surgery in the Division of Surgical Oncology. Dr. Sabel received his Bachelors degree from Pennsylvania State University and a medical degree from Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia. Postgraduate training in General Surgery was received at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago. Dr. Sabel completed an NIH-T32 research fellowship in tumor immunology and a surgical oncology fellowship at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY. Dr. Sabel joined the faculty at the University of Michigan in 2001.

Dr. Sabel's clinical interests are in the area of surgical oncology, with special expertise in breast cancer and melanoma. Areas of interest include cryoablation of breast cancer and the use of immunotherapy in the treatment of both breast cancer and melanoma.

Dr. Sabel is also extensively involved in both clinical and basic science research at the University of Michigan. He is the Director of the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center Breast Cancer Clinical Outcomes Project and is principal investigator on several clinical trials in breast cancer and melanoma. In addition to his clinical research interests, his basic science research has been focusing on the identification of unique biomarkers in breast cancer and melanoma to help guide surgical and adjuvant therapy and researching the generation of systemic immune responses from local therapies.