Sarcoma Program

The Sarcoma Program in the Department of Radiation Oncology uses state-of-the-art radiation therapies to treat soft tissue and bone tumors, both malignant and benign.


Over three decades ago, Herman Suit, MD, PhD helped pioneer the treatment of soft tissue sarcomas with radiation therapy. Today, we have one of the largest sarcoma treatment groups in the world. The Radiation Oncology Sarcoma service provides comprehensive expertise and cutting edge radiation therapy to patients with a wide spectrum of benign and malignant bone and soft tissue diseases using a number of treatment modalities. Our clinicians are focused on innovation, groundbreaking research and improving quality of life for our patients.

Clinical Services and Special Programs

The Radiation Oncology Sarcoma Program uses the latest state-of-the-art and innovative technologies including:

  • Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) or volumetric modulated arc therapy: Highly targeted conformal techniques employed in a variety of anatomic sites to reduce dose to critical organs and tissues.
  • Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT): Daily cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) is the cornerstone of our image-guidance practice. CBCT aids in daily alignment and is particularly useful when treating sarcomas near highly critical structures such as the lungs and the spine.
  • Surface Imaging: This 3-D radiation-less imaging technique uses cameras to detect a patient’s skin surface to verify and track alignment before and during treatment.
  • Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT): This approach is used to deliver a greater dose of radiation over a course of fewer treatments. Short courses of high dose radiation can safely be delivered to sites of metastatic disease such as lung, liver or other body sites (when appropriate), and may sometimes be an alternative to surgery.
  • Brachytherapy: A range of brachytherapy options including high dose interstitial treatment for soft tissue sarcomas, surface mold brachytherapy for sarcomas involving the skin, and dural plaque for sarcomas near the spinal cord are used to achieve higher conformality in these unique locations beyond what can be provided by external beam radiation.
  • Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT): 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. We continue to offer and refine this technique as a complementary modality for retroperitoneal sarcomas and recurrent pelvic malignancies.
  • Proton Beam Therapy: Our oncologists were the first in the country to treat sarcomas with proton beam therapy. This treatment may be used for sarcomas in challenging anatomic sites such as the spine, pelvis and others requiring high dose (such as chordomas, chondrosarcomas, and osteosarcomas), either in combination with surgery or as definitive treatment.
  • Cardiac Sarcoma Radiation: An innovative cardiac gating technique developed by our team allows treatment of extremely rare and challenging sarcomas of the heart.

Multidisciplinary Treatment Approach

Mass General’s Center for Sarcoma & Connective Tissue Oncology, part of the Cancer Center, is one of the largest and most specialized centers to treat malignant and benign tumors. Here, our radiation oncologists collaborate with your entire treatment team, which may include medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, orthopedic oncologists, diagnostic and interventional radiologists and sarcoma pathologists. Many of the advanced diagnostic and therapeutic approaches available here are offered at only a few other centers nationwide.

Meet the Team

Every step of your radiation therapy is managed by an experienced radiation oncologist who has dedicated his or her career to treating patients with sarcomas. Our physicians are some of the leading practitioners in the field:

  • Thomas DeLaney, MD, program chief and medical director of the Francis H. Burr Proton Therapy Center, is a world-renowned authority on the treatment of bone and soft-tissue sarcomas. Dr. DeLaney has introduced many breakthrough technologies, runs innovative clinical trials aimed at improving patient outcomes and collaborates with leading medical and surgical oncologists to develop new treatment methods. He has published extensively on the treatment of sarcomas.
  • Norbert Liebsch, MD, PhD, is an expert in using proton therapy to treat complicated sarcomas of the cranial base and spine. An accomplished researcher and educator, Dr. Liebsch has practiced radiation oncology for more than 25 years
  • Yen-Lin Chen, MD, specializes in using advanced radiation methods, including proton therapy, to treat sarcomas, connective-tissue tumors and benign conditions in young adults and adults
  • Karen Bernstein, MD

Patient Education

We encourage you to ask us about any step in the treatment process, from understanding the safety of your therapy to managing side effects. The answers to many frequently asked questions also appear in Your Guide to Radiation Therapy (PDF).

Clinical Trials

Members of the sarcoma team are leading a number of national and institutional clinical trials combining radiation and targeted therapies, innovative imaging techniques to improve sarcoma radiation, and studies to understand and reduce radiation side effects.

Search open clinical trials.


Contact Us

Clark Center for Radiation Oncology

Vida E & Arthur L. Goldstein Lunder Building

55 Fruit StreetLunder Building LL3 Boston, MA 02114
  • Near Public Transit
  • Accessible
  • Phone: 617-726- 8651
  • Fax: 857-238-6377
  • Email Us

Francis H. Burr Proton Therapy Center
30 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: 617-726-0923 (Proton Inquiry Line: 617-724-1680)
Fax: 617-726-6498

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