Explore the Gastrointestinal Program

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.

Clinical Trials

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

Search open clinical trials.

 


Patient Resources

Radiation Therapy Guide

Radiation Therapy Guide

This pdf describes what you can expect before and during your radiation treatments.

What to Expect

What to Expect

Learn about the radiation treatment process, and what to expect during each visit.

Sexual Health Clinic

Sexual Health Clinic

Concerns regarding pelvic radiation & cancer diagnosis affecting your sexual health.

Virtual Guides

Virtual Guides

Browse our online guides to visualize steps throughout the radiation oncology process.

FAQs

FAQs

Find answers to frequently asked questions about radiation treatment.

Patient Education

Patient Education

Find various radiation oncology patient education resources to help answer your questions.


Video

Dr. Ted Hong, Director of Gastrointestinal Service and Associate Clinical Director in the Dept. of Radiation Oncology at the Mass General Cancer Center learned early on in his career to never say never. Follow Dr. Hong to learn how patients benefit from a patient-centric, team approach to care. Learn more about Dr. Hong’s passion for teamwork and about his relentless pursuit to provide the best patient care possible.