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. For more information, visit:https://radbio.mgh.harvard.edu/willers-lab/https://twitter.com/HenningWillers

Clinical Interests:




Mass General Cancer Center: Radiation Oncology
55 Fruit St.
Lunder Building, LL3
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: 617-726-5184
Fax: 617-726-3603

Medical Education

  • MD, University of Hamburg School of Medicine
  • Residency, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Fellowship, 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.


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 94 peer-reviewed publications:


    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

    Lebow ES, Hwang WL, Zieminski S, Wang Y, Niemierko A, Mehan WA Jr, Oh KS, Khandekar M, Willers H, Shih HA. Early experience with hippocampal avoidance whole brain radiation therapy and simultaneous integrated boost for brain metastases. J Neurooncol. 2020 May;148(1):81-88.

    Roberts TJ, Lennes IT, Hawari S, Sequist LV, Park ER, Willers H, Frank A, Gaissert H, Shepard JA, Ryan D. Integrated, Multidisciplinary Management of Pulmonary Nodules Can Streamline Care and Improve Adherence to Recommendations. Oncologist. 2020 May;25(5):431-437.

    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

    Kamran SC, Yeap BY, Ulysse CA, Cronin C, Bowes CL, Durgin B, Gainor JF, Khandekar MJ, Tansky JY, Keane FK, Olsen CC, Willers H. Assessment of a Contralateral Esophagus-Sparing Technique in Locally Advanced Lung Cancer Treated With High-Dose Chemoradiation: A Phase 1 Nonrandomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Oncol. 2021 Apr 8:e210281.

Reviews: Comments and Ratings