About Henning Willers, MD

Dr. Willers obtained his M.D. from the University of Hamburg Medical School in Germany in 1994. After two years of residency training in radiation oncology in Germany, he came to Boston to work as a research fellow on DNA repair in the laboratory of Simon Powell, M.D., Ph.D.. He then completed his residency training in radiation oncology at the MGH in 2005. Following three years as an attending physician in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Boston Medical Center, he returned to the MGH to join the Thoracic Radiation Oncology Program in the Department of Radiation Oncology. Dr. Willers has a busy clinical practice focusing on the care of patient with thoracic cancers of various types while also spending time in the laboratory. He is active in clinical, physics, and biology research with the overarching goal of advancing precision radiation medicine, which combines the latest in biological therapies with high-precision radiation therapy to increase the likelihood of cure without complications in patients with lung cancer.

Departments, Centers, & Programs:

Clinical Interests:




Clark Center for Radiation Oncology
100 Blossom Street
Boston, MA 02114-2606
Phone: 617-726-5184
Fax: 617-726-3603

Medical Education

  • 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

Accepted Insurance Plans

Note: This provider may accept more insurance plans than shown; please call the practice to find out if your plan is accepted.


View my most recent research

Dr. Willers' clinical research activities focus on:

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.


  • View my most recent publications at PubMed

    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