Hematologic Program

The Hematologic Program in the Department of Radiation Oncology specializes in treating lymphoma, myeloma, leukemia and other blood disorders with advanced radiation therapies.

Our Approach

For more than three decades, we have treated patients with all types of hematologic disorders including, but not limited to:

  • Hodgkin Lymphoma:  Early stage and/or bulky tumors, usually in conjunction with chemotherapy
  • Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: All subtypes of the disease, including the two most common variants in the United States, diffuse large b-cell lymphoma and follicular lymphoma.
  • Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia/Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma: Slow growing b-cell disorders that are typically either observed or treated with systemic therapy.
  • Mucosa-associated lymphatic tissue (MALT) lymphoma: Lymphoma involving the epithelial linings of organs and tissues such as the stomach, lungs, intestines, salivary glands and eyes.
  • NK/T-Cell Lymphoma: Rare subset of aggressive lymphomas derived from Natural Killer cells and other subsets of T-cells.
  • Cutaneous Lymphoma: B-cell and T-cell lymphomas involving the skin
  • Multiple Myeloma and Plasmacytomas: Tumors of plasma cells that tend to primarily affect bone. 
  • Leukemia: A disease characterized by malignant white blood cells that circulate in the blood stream.
  • Myelodysplastic Syndrome: Disorders of cells in the bone marrow that lead to ineffective production of blood cells.

Innovative & Effective Treatment

The role of radiation therapy in the management of hematologic disorders has evolved over the past several decades. Our physicians in the MGH Cancer Center have remained at the forefront of these advanced therapies and technologies to make treatment more effective and improve the quality of patients' lives.

We use localized radiation therapies that precisely target the tumor while limiting radiation dose to adjacent healthy tissue.  Techniques include:

  • External beam radiation (3D)
  • Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)
  • Electron therapy
  • Proton beam radiation therapy
  • Brachytherapy
  • Contact radiotherapy using 50kV beam

Precise targeting of the tumor is planned by our physicists, who use advanced 3D- and 4D-imaging technologies to tailor treatments to each patient's unique needs. This personalized approach ensures patients receive effective therapy but are protected against "over-treatment."

We are currently enrolling patients on a clinical trial investigating the use of proton radiation therapy for patients with lymphomas involving the mediastinum.  Click here for more information.

Our collaboration with the MGH Bone Marrow Transplant Service enables us to provide state-of-the-art total body irradiation as part of the conditioning regimen for some patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplant.  Protocols include both reduced intensity and myeloablative condition regimens.

Personalized & Comprehensive Care

In the highly specialized Center for Lymphoma, located within the world-renowned Mass General Cancer Center, our radiation oncologists work side-by-side with your entire cancer treatment team. These world-class specialists may include medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, dermatologists, radiologists, pathologists, physical therapists, social workers and genetic counselors. Our cross-specialty approach enables us to provide comprehensive care tailored to your needs.

Compassionate Care from Accomplished Specialists

Every step of your therapy is managed by a highly experienced radiation oncologist. Our physician staff includes:

  • Karen Winkfield, MD, PhD, Program Director, uses advanced radiation techniques to treat a wide array of hematologic disorders. She regularly participates in multidisciplinary clinics at the MGH Cancer Center and works closely with specialists in the Center for Lymphoma, the Center for Multiple Myeloma, and the Bone Marrow Transplant program.  Her research focuses on reducing late toxicities in patients who receive radiation as part of their lymphoma therapy and identifying new biologic targets that may improve outcomes in patients with myeloma.

What to Expect

Most patients tolerate external radiation therapy very well, including those who have received chemotherapy. Depending on the part of the body treated, however, the patient may experience some discomfort afterward.

To help patients cope with side effects, our nurses provide nutritional advice and pain management when necessary. Patients also have access to the many support services available at the Cancer Center.

Our team is committed to making sure you always are completely informed. We encourage you to ask us about any step in the treatment process, from understanding the safety of your therapy to managing side effects. The answers to many frequently asked questions also appear in Your Guide to Radiation Therapy (PDF).

Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia

Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) is a cancer of the blood in which too many lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell, are produced by the bone marrow and by organs of the lymph system

Acute Myelogenous Leukemia

Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) is a cancer of the blood in which too many granulocytes, a type of white blood cell, are produced in the bone marrow.

Hodgkin's Disease

Hodgkin disease is a type of lymphoma, a cancer in the lymphatic system.

Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma

Non-Hodgkin disease is a type of lymphoma, which is a cancer in the lymphatic system.

Your Guide to Radiation Therapy (PDF)

Read our patient information guide to learn more about the different types of radiation treatments and what patients can expect.

Home Disconnect

A home infusion pump may be part of your treatment plan. In some cases, you may have the option for disconnecting the chemotherapy from home. If this option applies to you, and you would prefer to disconnect from home, this instructional video will reinforce the teaching provided to you by your nurse in the Mass General cancer Center

The following related clinical trials and research studies are currently seeking participants at Massachusetts General Hospital. Search for clinical trials and studies in another area of interest.

Your Guide to Radiation Therapy (PDF)

Read our patient information guide to learn more about the different types of radiation treatments and what patients can expect.

Home Disconnect

A home infusion pump may be part of your treatment plan. In some cases, you may have the option for disconnecting the chemotherapy from home. If this option applies to you, and you would prefer to disconnect from home, this instructional video will reinforce the teaching provided to you by your nurse in the Mass General cancer Center

Clark Center for Radiation Oncology

Vida E & Arthur L. Goldstein Lunder Building
Lunder Building LL3
55 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114

Phone: 617-726- 8651
Fax: 857-238-6377
Email: InformationRadOnc@Partners.org

Public Transportation Access: yes
Disabled Access: yes

Francis H. Burr Proton Therapy Center
30 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: 617-726-0923 (Proton Inquiry Line: 617-724-1680)
Fax: 617-726-6498
Email: InformationRadOnc@partners.org