The MD Anderson Surgical Oncology department focuses on providing exceptional patient care while conducting basic, translational and clinical research to develop the next generation of innovative approaches to the treatment and prevention of both common and rare cancers. We work to discover new ground-breaking surgical techniques, novel operating devices and methods to decrease cancer disparities and improve outcomes for patients. We have exceptional basic and translational research programs that are investigating the impact of the gut microbiome on immunotherapy response and are developing novel tumor models for drug testing and targeting angiogenesis. The aim is to translate laboratory findings into new treatment strategies to help patients live longer, healthier lives.
Jennifer Wargo, M.D., runs a translational research laboratory studying the genetics of melanoma and other cancers. The research of the Wargo Lab is focused on using genetic targeted therapy to arrest the growth of these cancers and to make them more visible to the immune system. The lab is currently developing clinical trials incorporating what she has learned in the laboratory to treat patients with cancer.As part of the Surgical Oncology department at MD Anderson Cancer Center, she has contributed to improving management for patients with skin cancer and other skin diseases.
Transcend Cancer Initiative (TCI)
The TRANSCEND Cancer Initiative (TCI) is a translational research incubator for the treatment, interception and prevention of cancer. The TCI works with investigators to design and institute translational research studies, and to analyze samples from existing translational research efforts (such as from novel clinical trials, neoadjuvant / minimal residual disease (MRD) trials and institutional initiatives) with the goal of deriving novel targets to improve therapeutic responses for treatment in patients with cancer, and to develop strategies to intercept and ultimately prevent cancer altogether.
Learn more about the TRANSCEND Cancer Initiative (TCI).
T32 Training Program: Training of Academic Surgical Oncologists
The Surgical Oncology department has a long-standing grant to train eight academic surgical oncologists each year in cancer research under the collaborative leadership of Funda Meric-Bernstam, M.D., and Jennifer Wargo, M.D. Upon completion of their surgical oncology fellowship training, 100% of our T32 clinical/research fellows have entered academic surgical oncology positions. Research fellows in the program have recently published in high-impact journals including Nature, Cancer Cell, Cancer and Science, among others.
The fellowship provides research opportunities in a broad range of basic oncologic disciplines, in one of three training tracks: basic and translational research; quality, clinical effectiveness and outcomes; and clinical trials and biomarkers. Training is offered to eight postdoctoral M.D. or M.D. Ph.D. fellows either during a 24-month hiatus from general surgery residency training or during a three-year combined clinical/research fellowship in surgical oncology that begins after general surgery residency.
Knox Family Foundation Health Disparities Research Program
A generous donation from the Knox Family has been made to the Surgical Oncology department to support the development of a research program focused on addressing cancer health disparities. Led by faculty with a broad range of experience in clinical trials, health services research, behavioral health and health policy, this program aims to improve equity in cancer prevention, care delivery and mortality. The program offers trainees with opportunities to gain experience in a variety of research methodologies while working to reduce cancer disparities on a local, regional and national scale.
Effects of a Pragmatic Home-based Exercise Program Concurrent withNeoadjuvant Therapy on Physical Function of Patients with Pancreatic Cancer: The Pancfit Randomized Clinical Trial. Ngo-Huang AT, Parker NH, Xiao LC, Schadler KL, Petzel MQB,Prakash LR, Kim MP, Tzeng CD, Lee JE, Ikoma N, Wolff RA, Javle MM, Koay EJ, Pant SD,Folloder JP, Wang X, Cotto AM, Ju YR, Garg N, Wang H, Bruera ED, Basen-Engquist KM, KatzMHG. Ann Surg. 2023 Apr 7. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000005878. Online ahead of print.PMID: 37026453. View here.
Prognosis Associated With CA19-9 Response Dynamics and Normalization During Neoadjuvant Therapy in Resected Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma. Newhook TE, Vreeland TJ, Griffin JF, Tidwell RSS, Prakash LR, Koay EJ, Ludmir EB, SmagloBG, Pant S, Overman M, Wolff RA, Ikoma N, Maxwell J, Kim MP, Lee JE, Katz MHG, Tzeng CD.Ann Surg. 2022 Dec 26. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000005184. Online ahead of print.PMID: 36649067. View here.
Parathyroidectomy for Normocalcemic Primary Hyperparathyroidism is Associated with ImprovedBone Mineral Density Regardless of Postoperative Parathyroid Hormone Levels. Lui MS, Clemente-Gutierrez U, Vodopivec DM, Chang SL, Shirali AS, Huang BL, Chiang YJ, Fisher SB, Grubbs EG, GuiseTA, Graham PH, Perrier ND. World J Surg. 2023 Feb;47(2):363-370. doi: 10.1007/s00268-022-06756-x. Epub 2022 Oct 4. PMID: 36195677. View here.
Clinical Impact of Positive Surgical Margins in Gastric Adenocarcinoma in the Era of Preoperative Therapy. Hirata Y, Agnes A, Estrella JS, Blum Murphy M, Das P, Minsky BD, Ajani JA, Badgwell BD,Mansfield P, Ikoma N. Ann Surg Oncol. 2023 Apr 27. doi: 10.1245/s10434-023-13495-3. Online ahead of print. PMID: 37106276. View here.
Survival improvement for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer over twenty years. Zeineddine FA, Zeineddine MA, Yousef A, Gu Y, Chowdhury S, Dasari A, Huey RW, Johnson B, Kee B, Lee MS, Morelli MP, Morris VK, Overman MJ, Parseghian C, Raghav K, Willis J, Wolff RA, Kawaguchi Y, Vauthey JN, Sun R, Kopetz S, Shen JP.NPJ Precis Oncol. 2023 Feb 13;7(1):16. doi: 10.1038/s41698-023-00353-4.PMID: 36781990. View here.
Communication Frameworks for Palliative Surgical Consultations: A Randomized Study of Advanced Cancer Patients. Blumenthaler AN, Robinson KA, Hodge C, Xiao L, Lilley EJ, Griffin JF, White MG, Day R, Tanco K, Bruera E, Badgwell BD. Ann Surg. 2023 Feb 21. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000005823. Online ahead of print. PMID: 36806227. View here.
Short-Term and Textbook Surgical Outcomes During the Implementation of a Robotic Gastrectomy Program. Hirata Y, Agnes A, Arvide EM, Robinson KA, To C, Griffith HL, LaRose MD, Munder KM, Mansfield P, Badgwell BD, Ikoma N. J Gastrointest Surg. 2023 Mar 14. doi: 10.1007/s11605-023- 05627-7. Online ahead of print. PMID: 36917404. View here.
The Landscape of Immunotherapy for Retroperitoneal Sarcoma. Gingrich AA, Nassif EF, Roland CL, Keung EZ. Curr Oncol. 2023 Feb 9;30(2):2144-2158. doi: 10.3390/curroncol30020165. PMID: 36826126. View here.
Patient-Reported Adverse Events During Neoadjuvant Therapy in a Phase 2 Borderline Resectable Pancreatic Cancer Clinical Trial (Alliance A021501). Snyder RA, Dueck AC, Fruth B, Shi Q, Hubbard JM, Herman JM, O'Reilly EM, Katz MHG. Ann Surg.2023 Jun 19. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000005958. Online ahead of print. PMID:37334719. View here.
Practice Pattern Variability in the Management of Regional Lymph Node Metastasis in Extremity and Trunk Soft Tissue Sarcoma: A Survey of the Society of Surgical Oncology and Musculoskeletal Tumor Society Membership. Witt RG, Voss RK, Chiang YJ, Nguyen S, Scally CP, Lin PP, Torres KE, Moon BS,Satcher RL, Hunt KK, Bird JE, Feig BW, Lewis VO, Roland CL, Keung EZ. Ann Surg Oncol. 2023Jun;30(6):3668-3676. doi: 10.1245/s10434-023-13142-x. Epub 2023 Feb 1. PMID: 36723723. View here.
The Room Where It Happens: Addressing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in NCTN Clinical Trial Leadership. Snyder RA, Burtness B, Cho M, Del Rivero J, Doroshow DB, Hitchcock KE, Kalyan A, KimCA, Lukovic J, Parikh AR, Sanford NN, Singh B, Shen C, Shroff RT, Vijayvergia N, Goodman KA, KunzPL. JNatl Cancer Inst. 2023 Jun 26:djad121. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djad121. Online ahead of print. PMID:37364007. View here.
Evaluation and Management of Primary Hyperparathyroidism: Summary Statement and Guidelines from the Fifth International Workshop. Bilezikian JP, Khan AA, Silverberg SJ, Fuleihan GE, Marcocci C, Minisola S, Perrier N, Sitges-Serra A, Thakker RV, Guyatt G, Mannstadt M, Potts JT, Clarke BL, Brandi ML; International Workshop on Primary Hyperparathyroidism.J Bone Miner Res. 2022 Nov;37(11):2293-2314. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.4677. Epub 2022 Oct 17.PMID: 36245251. View here.
A Randomized Controlled Trial of Communication Strategies for Decision-Making in Palliative Surgical Consultations
A Phase Ib Trial of Preoperative Short-Course Chemoradiotherapy followed by Chemotherapy for Resectable Gastric Adenocarcinoma
NIH link: NCT04523818
A Phase I study of intraperitoneal paclitaxel in patients with gastric adenocarcinoma and carcinomatosis or positive cytology
NIH link: NCT04220827
A Phase II Study of Perioperative Paclitaxel in Patients with Gastric Adenocarcinoma and Carcinomatosis or Positive Cytology
Randomized Controlled Phase II Trial of Liver Resection Versus No Surgery in Patients with Liver and Unresectable Pulmonary Metastases from Colorectal Cancer
NIH link: NCT02738606
Stability of Radiomic Features for Abdominal Tumors on Contrast CT
NIH link: NCT03038568
Development of the Thyroid Cancer Quality of Life Index (TCQOLI)
A Randomized Crossover Trial of Systemic Chemotherapy in Patients with Metastatic Well-differentiated or Moderately differentiated Mucinous Appendiceal Adenocarcinomas with Pseudomyxoma Peritonei
NIH link: NCT01946854
Melanoma Margins Trial (MelMarT): A Phase III, multi-centre, multi-national randomised control trial investigating 1cm v 2cm wide excision margins for
primary cutaneous melanoma
NIH link: NCT02385214
Neoadjuvant PD-1 Blockade in Patients with Stage IIB/C Melanoma
NIH link: NCT03757689
Re-contacting Patients with Updated Genetic Testing Recommendations: A Study of Efficacy and Patient Opinions in a Cohort of High Risk Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma Patients
Designing A Decision Aid To Help People With Medullary Thyroid Cancer Make Decisions With Their Doctors About Whether To Start Or Stop New Drugs, Enroll In Clinical Trials, Or Continue With Active Surveillance
NIH link: NCT03892993
Utilization of the natural history of medullary thyroid carcinoma to inform advanced disease management
NIH link: NCT04216732
Magnetic Sentinel Lymph Node Mapping in Gastric Cancer, Safety and Feasibility Clinical Trial
NIH link: NCT05038098
Patient-Reported Outcomes in Surgical Patients with Upper Gastrointestinal Cancers: Development and Validation of the MDASI-UGI-Surg and Longitudinal Patients’ Quality of Life
Contour Topographic Mapping and Stiffness Scoring of Colorectal and Gastric Tumors Using a Novel Soft Robotic System with Intelligent Tactile Skin
Trans-Pacific Multicenter Collaborative Study of Minimally Invasive Proximal Versus Total Gastrectomy for Proximal Gastric and Gastroesophageal Junction Cancers
NIH link: NCT05205343
Financial Toxicity after Hepatobiliary and Gastric Cancer Surgery
Comprehensive Morphologic and Nanmechanical Assessment to Predict Treatment Response in Gastric Cancer
Evaluating the impact of perioperative antibiotic prophylaxis on the microbiome in patients with cutaneous malignancy
NIH link: NCT04875728
Pilot Study Using Fecal Microbial Transplants in Patients with Pancreatic Cancer
NIH link: NCT04975217
Pilot Study Using Hyperpolarized 13C-Pyruvate Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopic Imaging in Patients with Pancreatic Cysts Undergoing Surgical Resection
NIH link: NCT05873699
Randomized, Unblinded, Phase III Trial of Thoracic Epidural Analgesia versus Four-Quadrant Transversus Abdominus Plane Block in Oncologic Open-Incision Liver Surgery
NIH link: NCT03214510
A Feasibility Study of Electronic Neurocognitive Screening Tools in Surgery
NIH link: NCT03678441
Hernia Prevention After Open Hepatectomy By Small Tissue Bite Fascial Closure: A Randomized Clinical Trial
NIH link: NCT04982653
Risk-Stratified Ajduvant Therapy: ctDNA-Directed Post-Hepatectomy Chemotherapy for Patients with Resectabel Colorectal Liver Metastases
NIH link: NCT05062317
Survey of Extremity and Trunk Sarcoma Surgeons Regarding Surgical Management of Lymph Node Basins
NIH link: NCT04553744
Evaluating the impact of limited vs. intense post-operative surveillance on patient-reported outcomes in patients with soft tissue sarcoma
NIH link: NCT04751409
A Randomized Phase II Study of Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy followed by Surgery vs Surgery Alone for Patients with High Risk RetroPeritoneal Sarcoma (STRASS-2)
NIH link: NCT04031677
A Phase 1b/2 Study of PV-10 Intralesional Injection in Combination with Systemic Immune Checkpoint Inhibition for Treatment of Metastatic Melanoma
NIH link: NCT02557321
NIH link: NCT04189783
Evaluation of the Response and Non-response of Nirogacestat in Desmoid Tumors‐ Clinical Study
NIH link: NCT05879146
Use of a Handheld Mass Spectrometry System for Rapid Diagnosis of Primary and Secondary Liver Tumors
A Single-Arm Study of Pembrolizumab with Gemcitabine and Cisplatin as Perioperative Therapy for Potentially Resectable Intrahepatic Cholangiocarcinoma
Preoperative Y-90 Radioembolization for Tumor Control and Future Liver Remnant Hypertrophy in Patients with Colorectal Liver Metastases
NIH link: NCT05195710
Delineating Gut Microbiome and Dietary Determinants Associated with Favorable Vaccine Response
NIH link: NCT05239403
Impact of High Dietary Fiber on Microbiome and Vaccine Responses
NIH link: NCT05565586