Gastrointestinal Program

The Gastrointestinal Program in the Department of Radiation Oncology treats all types of GI cancers, including difficult-to-treat, advanced-stage pancreatic cancer and liver cancer, using the latest radiation therapies.

Overview

Massachusetts General Hospital is an internationally recognized leader in the subspecialty of Gastrointestinal Radiation Oncology. Our program provides comprehensive expertise in clinical care of a wide spectrum of upper and lower GI malignancies, including gastroesophageal cancer, gastric cancer, pancreaticobiliary cancer, colorectal cancer, anal cancer, and hepatobiliary cancer.

Leading-Edge Radiation Therapy

Founded in 1976 by Leonard Gunderson, MD, one of the country's first specialists in GI radiation oncology, our program is one of the longest running and most progressive in the United States.

Our facilities include innovations such as proton beam therapy, 4D CT scanning and the region's only operating room dedicated to intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT). The cornerstone of our program, however, is our team of radiation oncologists. Drawing on their experience with today's advanced techniques and technologies, they design effective treatments tailored to the needs of each patient.

Clinical Services and Special Programs

We offer a comprehensive outpatient clinic and inpatient consultation services of all gastrointestinal cancers which may benefit from radiation therapy.

Specific clinical services include:

    • Linear accelerator based fractionated radiation therapy: Utilizing a variety of technological treatment planning including 3D conformal radiation therapy, intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), and volumetric modulated arc radiotherapy (VMAT). We use image-guidance (IGRT) to treat large, complex tumors to high doses while sparing surrounding normal tissue.
    • Proton fractionated radiation therapy: Exploring the potential role for proton radiotherapy in the treatment of GI cancers on study. Careful patient selection is used for study eligibility due to the limited availability of proton radiotherapy. We are currently evaluating the role of proton radiotherapy for pancreatic cancer, liver cancer, and anal cancer.
    • Intra-operative radiation therapy (IORT): Offering high dose intraoperative electron beam radiotherapy in a specially shielded operating room with a linear accelerator which can be administered at the time of surgical exploration or resection for close or positive margins and unresectable disease. Delivery of high doses of radiation intraoperatively allows for further sparing of normal tissue structures, which can be physically moved out of the treatment field during delivery.
    • Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT): SBRT is a high dose of radiation to a small area that can be given to patients with liver tumors over five or fewer fractions.

Personalized & Comprehensive Care

In the highly specialized Tucker Gosnell Center for Gastrointestinal Cancers, we work side-by-side with your entire cancer treatment team, which may include medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, radiologists and pathologists. Our cross-specialty approach enables us to provide comprehensive care tailored to your needs.

Specialty clinics and clinical services:

    • Multidisciplinary Gastrointestinal Tumor Clinic: This is a multidisciplinary tumor clinic of surgeons, medical oncologists, and radiation oncologists. Imaging is reviewed in detail with a gastrointestinal radiologist. Joint treatment recommendations are provided and frequently incorporate a multidisciplinary approach with a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy to maximize long term treatment outcomes.
    • Multidisciplinary Gastrointestinal Tumor Conference: This weekly conference is attended by all of the radiation oncology team, medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, radiologists, support staff for clinical care, and medical oncology fellows. We discuss challenging and new GI clinical cases of the week, review the history, imaging, and pathology of the case, and derive consensus and thorough discussion regarding optimal clinical management for each case.
    • Multidisciplinary Liver Tumor Clinic: This weekly multidisciplinary tumor clinic specializes in the treatment of primary liver tumors, including hepatocellular carcinoma and intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, which includes attendance of liver transplant surgeons, hepatologists, surgical oncologists, interventional radiologists, medical oncologists, and radiation oncologists. Imaging is reviewed by dedicated gastrointestinal radiologists, and optimal treatment strategies are discussed and recommended.

Meet the Team

  • Theodore Hong, MD

    Program chief Theodore Hong, MD, an expert in the full spectrum of radiation therapies, treats hundreds of patients each year. Working with our physicists, dosimetrists and technologists, he plans and administers therapy for all types of GI cancers, including difficult-to-treat, advanced-stage pancreatic cancer and liver cancer.

    A groundbreaking researcher, Dr. Hong leads numerous clinical trials, many focused on improving the effectiveness of radiation technologies. Currently he is developing protocols for treating locally advanced pancreatic cancer and liver tumors with proton therapy, and he investigates new ways to make the treatment experience more comfortable for his patients.

  • Christine Eyler, MD, PhD

Patient Education

Every step of your treatment is managed by a radiation oncologist who has dedicated his or her career to studying and treating gastrointestinal (GI) cancers.

In addition to the many services available at the Cancer Center, you have access to resources created especially for patients receiving radiation treatment for GI cancer, such as nutritional counseling and one-on-one assistance with managing symptoms.

Please ask us about any step in your treatment process. Answers to many frequently asked questions also appear in Your Guide to Radiation Therapy (PDF).

Female Sexual Health Clinic
If you are a female patient who has received or are currently receiving pelvic radiation and are concerned about how your cancer diagnosis may be affecting your sexual health, interventions offered by our Female Sexual Health Clinic may be able to help.

Clinical Trials

Massachusetts General Hospital invites patients and the community to participate in innovative clinical trials and research studies.

Search open clinical trials.

Contact

Contact Us

Clark Center for Radiation Oncology

Vida E & Arthur L. Goldstein Lunder Building

55 Fruit StreetLunder Building LL3 Boston, MA 02114
  • Near Public Transit
  • Accessible
  • Phone: 617-726- 8651
  • Fax: 857-238-6377
  • Email Us

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

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