Photo of William Robert Brugge, MD

William Robert Brugge, MD

  • Past director, GI Endoscopy
  • Director, Pancreas Biliary Center


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William R. Brugge, MD, is the past director of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy at Massachusetts General Hospital and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is interested in the diagnosis and treatment of early gastrointestinal malignancies.




Centers & Specialties

Cancer Center

Digestive Healthcare Center

Clinical Interests
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Pancreatic cystic lesions
  • Therapeutic endoscopy
  • Endoscopic ultrasound
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Barrett's esophagus
  • Gastric (stomach) cancer
  • Autoimmune pancreatitis
  • Pancreatic biliary disorders
  • Stromal cell tumors
  • IPMN (intraductal papillary mucinous neoplams)
Medical Education
  • MD, Baylor College of Medicine
  • Residency, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center
  • Fellowship, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center
Board Certifications
  • Internal Medicine
  • Gastroenterology
  • Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital
Insurances Accepted
  • Aetna Health Inc.
  • Beech Street
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield - Blue Care 65
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield - Indemnity
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield - Managed Care
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield - Partners Plus
  • Cigna (PAL #'s)
  • Fallon Community HealthCare
  • Great-West Healthcare (formally One Health Plan)
  • Harvard Pilgrim Health Plan - ACD
  • Harvard Pilgrim Health Plan - PBO
  • Health Care Value Management (HCVM)
  • Humana/Choice Care PPO
  • MassHealth
  • Medicare
  • Medicare - ACD
  • Neighborhood Health Plan - ACD
  • Neighborhood Health Plan - PBO
  • OSW - Connecticut
  • OSW - Maine
  • OSW - New Hampshire
  • OSW - Rhode Island
  • OSW - Vermont
  • Private Health Care Systems (PHCS)
  • Railroad Medicare
  • Railroad Medicare - ACD
  • Senior Whole Health
  • TriCare
  • Tufts Health Plan
  • Unicare
  • United Healthcare (non-HMO) - ACD
  • United Healthcare (non-HMO) - PBO
Patient Age Group

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Research & Publications

Research Summary

View my most recent research

My clinical research program focuses on the early detection of gastrointestinal malignancy using advanced endoscopic techniques. Endoscopic confocal endomicroscopy is a new endoscopic technique for detecting neoplasms in the GI tract.  We also use advanced endoscopic techniques for the detection of early pancreatic malignancy arising from cystic lesions of the pancreas. Confocal needle imaging is performed using a novel catheter placed within a EUS needle and guided into a cystic lesion. A variety of cyst fluid markers are used to enhance the diagnostic accuracy of EUS imaging alone. We have examined the accuracy of CEA and cytology in the diagnosis of mucinous cystic lesions. Currently we are investigating new molecular markers such as kRAS and GNAS. For a list of current research projects, please visit Dr. Brugge's research page.

We are currently directing several clinical trials, including EUS guided Abraxane injection of pancreas cysts and a pilot study of confocal endomicroscopy of pancreatic cysts (visit the Clinical Trials website of the National Institutes of Health for more information).


View my most recent publications at PubMed

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News & Events

  • New Radiology and Endoscopy Techniques Are Improving Treatment of Pancreatic and Biliary Disorders

    Patients seeking care for pancreatic and biliary system disorders at Massachusetts General Hospital's Digestive Healthcare Center receive the latest in diagnostic and therapeutic treatments from a collaborative team of experts, including gastroenterologists, interventional endoscopists, pathologists, medical oncologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists, and radiation therapists.

  • Physician-researchers discover keys to understanding pancreatic cysts

    Up until the mid-1990s, physicians knew little about the relationship between pancreatic cysts and pancreatic cancer. But collaborative research conducted by gastroenterologists, surgeons, radiologists, and pathologists at the Massachusetts General Hospital Digestive Healthcare Center has led to a much greater understanding of pancreatic cystadenomas and what makes some cysts progress to cancer. These advances are opening up new therapies to target this deadly cancer early on, when it is most treatable.


  • Radiofrequency of the Bile Duct

    Endoscopic bipolar Radiofrequency ablation is a new technique for ablation of neoplastic tissue in the bile duct.

  • Diagnosis of pancreatic cystic neoplasms (for medical professionals)

    Cystic pancreatic lesions are being detected with increasing frequency, and pancreatic cystic neoplasms account for the majority of these lesions. Designed for medical professionals, this video illustrates the use of endoscopic ultrasound and cyst fluid analysis in differential diagnosis of cystic pancreatic lesions.

  • Endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration of the pancreas

    Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS)-guided fine needle aspiration (FNA) is performed with a linear echoendoscope using endoscopic imaging as well as ultrasound guidance. During FNA, the needle can be seen entering the pancreas. For cystic lesions, fluid is removed. For solid lesions, cytologic material is sampled.


Gastroenterology Associates
55 Fruit Street
Blake Building
Boston MA, 02114-2696
Phone 1: 617-724-0578
Phone 2: 617-724-3715
Fax: 617-724-5997

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