Radiation oncologists demonstrate in an early clinical trial that the radiation beam can be carefully “sculpted” to deliver the majority of a dose directly to the tumor while effectively sparing tissues in the side of the esophagus away from the affected lung.
Henning Willers, MD
Henning Willers, MD
Director, Thoracic Radiation Oncology Program
Director, Radiation Biology & Research Program
Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School
Departments, Centers, & Programs:
Clark Center for Radiation Oncology
100 Blossom Street
Boston, MA 02114-2606
- MD, University of Hamburg
- MD, University of Hamburg School of Medicine
- Residency, Hermann Holthusen Institute for Radiotherapy
- Residency, Massachusetts General Hospital
- Fellowship, Massachusetts General Hospital
American Board Certifications
- Radiation Oncology, American Board of Radiology
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Dr. Willers' clinical research activities focus on:
- Developing personalized, high-precision radiation treatment approaches for tumors in the chest (https://www.massgeneral.org/cancer-center/radiation-oncology/treatments-and-services/imart-plus).
- Using proton beam radiation therapy in lung cancer to improve therapeutic efficacy and sparing of normal organs.
- The application of stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) in patients with early-stage and metastatic NSCLC as well as lung metastases.
Dr. Willers’ clinical trials at https://clinicaltrials.gov NCT02314364, NCT02394548, NCT01993810, NCT01553942
Dr. Willers' lab research program aims at improving the outcomes of radiation therapy and identifying markers of resistance or sensitivity to radiation. There are three major focus areas:
- To understand and overcome genomically defined radiation resistance in lung cancer.
- To develop novel, biomarker-driven combinations of radiation with molecular targeted drugs in lung and other difficult-to-treat cancers.
- To target DNA repair pathways in lung and other cancers with proton radiation and PARP inhibitor treatments.
Dr. Willers' long-term goal is to advance precision or "personalized" cancer therapy for patients with curable cancers.
Out of 89 peer-reviewed publications:
Al-Halabi H, Paetzold P, Sharp G, Olsen C, Willers H. A Contralateral Esophagus-Sparing Technique to Limit Severe Esophagitis Associated With Concurrent High-Dose Radiation and Chemotherapy in Patients With Thoracic Malignancies. IJROBP 2015;92:803-10
Al-Halabi H, Sayegh K, Digamurthy S, Niemierko A, Piotrowska Z, Willers H, Sequist L. Pattern of Failure Analysis in Metastatic EGFR-Mutant Lung Cancer Treated with Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors to Identify Candidates for Consolidation SBRT. J Thorac Oncol, 2015; 10:1601-7
Liu Q, Gheorghiu L, Drumm M, Clayman R, Eidelman A, Wszolek MF, Olumi A, Feldman A, Wang M, Marcar L, Citrin DE, Wu CL, Benes CH, Efstathiou JA, Willers H. PARP-1 inhibition with or without ionizing radiation confers reactive oxygen species-mediated cytotoxicity preferentially to cancer cells with mutant TP53. Oncogene. 2018 May;37(21):2793-2805
Li Y, Dykstra M, Best TD, Pursley J, Chopra N, Keane FK, Khandekar MJ, Sharp GC, Paganetti H, Willers H*, Fintelmann FJ*, Grassberger C*. Differential inflammatory response dynamics in normal lung following stereotactic body radiation therapy with protons versus photons. Radiother Oncol. 2019 May;134:151-157
Keane FK, Driscoll E, Bowes B, Durgin B, Khandekar MJ, Willers H. Low rates of chest wall toxicity when individualizing the planning target volume margin in early-stage lung cancer patients treated with stereotactic body radiation therapy. Pract Radiat Oncol. 2020 Oct 24;S1879-8500(20)30252-6
- Patient Education
- Nov | 30 | 2020
In recognition of Lung Cancer Awareness Month, Massachusetts General Hospital physicians answer common questions related to lung cancer.
- May | 21 | 2018
Drs. Henning Willers and David Miyamoto were recognized with a $150,000 grant to support their research proposal on investigating mechanisms of DNA repair after proton radiation.
- May | 15 | 2018
A task force commissioned by ASTRO reported the findings of its review on opportunities to expand the number of clinical trials that include radiation therapy in combination with new cancer drugs.