Photo of Henning  Willers, MD

Henning Willers, MD


Accepting New Patients


Director, Thoracic Radiation Oncology Service;

Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology;

Co-Director, Laboratory of Cellular & Molecular Radiation Oncology.


Radiation Oncology

Centers & Specialties

Cancer Center

Clinical Interests
  • Lung cancer, Esophageal cancer, Thymoma, Brain Metastases
  • Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT)
  • Precision Radiation Therapy (Adaptive IMRT)
  • Proton Radiation Therapy
  • Molecular Targeted Radiation Therapy
Medical Education
  • MD, University of Hamburg School of Medicine
  • Residency, Hermann Holthusen Institute for Radiotherapy|Residency, Massachusetts General Hospital
Board Certifications
  • Radiation Oncology
  • Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital
Existing Patients
Patient Gateway
Insurances Accepted
  • Aetna Health Inc.
  • Beech Street
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield - Blue Care 65
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield - Indemnity
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield - Managed Care
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield - Partners Plus
  • BMC HealthNet Mass Health MCO/ACO
  • Cigna (PAL #'s)
  • Commonwealth Care Alliance
  • Fallon Community HealthCare
  • Great-West Healthcare (formally One Health Plan)
  • Harvard Pilgrim Health Plan - ACD
  • Harvard Pilgrim Health Plan - PBO
  • Health Care Value Management (HCVM)
  • Humana/Choice Care PPO
  • MassHealth
  • Medicare
  • Medicare - ACD
  • Neighborhood Health Plan - ACD
  • Neighborhood Health Plan - PBO
  • OSW - Maine
  • OSW - New Hampshire
  • OSW - Rhode Island
  • Private Health Care Systems (PHCS)
  • Railroad Medicare
  • Railroad Medicare - ACD
  • Senior Whole Health
  • TriCare
  • Tufts Health Plan
  • Unicare
  • United Healthcare (non-HMO) - ACD
  • United Healthcare (non-HMO) - PBO
  • Well Sense Pediatrics

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

Patient Age Group
Provider Gender


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 Service 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.

Research & Publications

Research Summary

View my most recent research

Research efforts in Dr. Willers' laboratory are mainly directed at furthering our understanding of how non-small cell lung cancers respond to radiation treatments and radiosensitizing drugs. The underlying clinical problem is that lung cancers tend to be difficult to eradicate by radiation therapy, owing to large size and biological characteristics. Therefore, novel treatment approaches are needed to overcome lung cancer radioresistance. There are three major focus areas:

  1. Elucidate mechanisms of genotype-correlated radioresistance in lung cancer, and identify biological targets to overcome that resistance.
  2. Develop a precision radiation medicine screening platform for testing of novel radiosensitizing drugs in genomically characterized cancer cell lines and identification of genomic biomarkers.
  3. Target DNA repair pathways in lung and other cancers, in order to personalize DNA damaging therapies that include standard and proton radiation.

Dr. Willers' clinical research activities focus on:

  1. Using proton beam radiation therapy in lung cancer to improve therapeutic efficacy and sparing of normal organs.
  2. Developing personalized, high-precision radiation treatment approaches for tumors in the chest (
  3. The application of stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) in patients with early-stage and metastatic NSCLC as well as lung metastases.

Dr. Willers' long-term goal is to contribute to the realization of "personalized" curative cancer therapy.


View my most recent publications at PubMed

Out of 63 publications:

Wang M, Kern A, Hülskötter M, Greninger P, Singh A, Pan Y, Chowdhury D, Krause M, Baumann M, Benes C, Efstathiou J, Settleman J, Willers H. EGFR-mediated chromatin condensation protects KRAS-mutant cancer cells against ionizing radiation. Cancer Res 2014;74:2825-34

Liu Q, Wang M, Kern A, Khaled S, Han J, Yeap B, Hong T, Settleman J, Benes C, Held K, Efstathiou J, Willers H. Adapting a Drug Screening Platform to Discover Associations of Molecular Targeted Radiosensitizers with Genomic Biomarkers. Mol Cancer Res 2015;13:713-20

Liu Q, Ghosh P, Magpayo N, Testa M, Tang S, Biggs P, Paganetti H, Efstathiou J, Lu HM, Held K, Willers H. Lung Cancer Cell Line Screen Links Fanconi Anemia/BRCA Pathway Defects to Increased RBE of Proton Radiation. IJROBP 2015;91:1081-9

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

News & Events


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

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