June 2013

Surgical Oncology at UNC Lineberger: Providing state-of-the-art
cancer care

Physicians in the Division of Surgical Oncology and Endocrine Surgery are committed to the multidisciplinary approach to cancer diagnosis and treatment, enabling the programs to provide patients with expertise in the areas of surgical oncology, reconstructive surgery, medical oncology, radiation oncology, dermatology, endocrinology, nuclear medicine, genetics, physical therapy, psychiatry and social work.

The surgical oncology team provides care in the following areas:

  • Breast cancer and breast diseases
  • Melanoma and skin/soft tissue malignancies
  • Hepatobiliary diseases and tumors
  • Pancreatic cancer and pancreatic diseases
  • GI and colorectal cancer
  • Upper GI cancers, including esophageal and stomach malignancies
  • Endocrine tumors, including diseases of the thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal glands

The Division of Surgical Oncology is dedicated to both basic science and clinical research. Several division faculty are NIH-funded investigators, and also collaborate in translational research with UNC Lineberger scientists. The Division is also involved in a number of clinical trials, both locally and in conjunction with national cooperative groups.

The Surgical Oncology clinics are located in the N.C. Cancer Hospital on the 2nd Floor, 101 Manning Drive, Chapel Hill, NC. There is also a satellite clinic at Carolina Pointe II at the intersection of Hwy 54 and Interstate 40 in Chapel Hill. Surgical oncology clinics are also scheduled to open at the Hillsborough campus. To make a referral, please visit this page for referral numbers. For additional information, visit the Division's website.

Find out more about the role of the surgical oncologist at UNC Lineberger by watching this video of Michael Meyers, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery.

A global presence – UNC Lineberger's surgical oncologists across the globe

Not only is UNC Lineberger a nationally-recognized comprehensive cancer center, it also plays a leading role in global cancer care issues. This year is a busy year for several UNC Lineberger's surgical oncologists who have been invited abroad to give lectures or have been awarded fellowships.

The Chief of Surgical Oncology, Benjamin Calvo, MD, was an invited professor at the IV Latin American Symposium on Gastro Intestinal Oncology in April. His talk was on UNC's experience with the use of Intraoperative Electron Radiation Therapy (IOERT) in the treatment of advanced and recurrent rectal carcinoma.

In addition, the Division of Surgical Oncology has been asked to assist in the development of treatment protocols using IOERT in Beijing and Shanghai, China; Bogota, Colombia; and Sao Paolo, Brazil.

Keith Amos, MD, surgical oncologist at UNC Breast Center, has also been recognized for his work on an international scale. Amos was awarded the 2012 Dr. Claude Organ, Jr. Travel Award by the American College of Surgeons. 

The fellowship is awarded to an outstanding young surgeon so he or she can attend an educational meeting or make an extended visit to an institution of his or her choice, tailored to his or her research interests. Amos will spend two weeks at the Edinburgh Breast Unit of the General Western Hospital, Edinburgh, Scotland, observing their management of malignant and benign breast disease, surgical techniques, and ongoing clinical research projects.

Finally, H. J. Kim, MD, surgical oncologist in the Gastrointestinal Oncology Program, was awarded the James IV Traveling Fellowship by the American College of Surgeons. Founded in 1957, the James IV Society fosters an international exchange of surgical knowledge, and allows the James IV traveler a foundation for international prominence. It is a six week international traveling fellowship beginning in July. Dr. Kim will be hosted by James IV members and distinguished surgeons in Edinburgh, Scotland; Heidelberg, Germany; Verona, Italy; Paris, France; London, United Kingdom; Seoul, South Korea; Hong Kong; and Australia (Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney).



Alliance PROSPECT Trial 


The Alliance PROSPECT Trial (N1048-CIRB, PI: Karyn Stitzenberg) is studying the use of neoadjuvant FOLFOX with selective use of chemoradiation for patients with rectal cancer undergoing total mesorectal excision. The goal of the study is to identify patients who may be able to forgo pelvic radiation. The study protocol randomizes patients to either standard treatment (5-FU chemoradiation, TME, adjuvant FOLFOX) or neoadjuvant FOLFOX, TME, and adjuvant FOLFOX with selective use of adjuvant chemoradiation.



Novel monoclonal antibody inhibits tumor growth in breast cancer and angiosarcoma

A monoclonal antibody targeting a protein known as SFPR2 has been shown by Nancy Klauber-DeMore, MD, Surgical Oncologist at UNC Breast Center to inhibit tumor growth in pre-clinical models of breast cancer and angiosarcoma. This monoclonal antibody reduced the rate of tumor growth in cells from triple-negative breast cancer and angiosarcoma. The antibody, created at UNC, is the first therapeutic discovered that targets SFRP2. Read more about this leading-edge research here.


Using mouse models to study the response of tumors to therapies

In order to advance cancer research, UNC Lineberger member Jen Jen Yeh, MD, in the Surgical Oncology group, created the Patient Derived Xenograft (PDX) Program where tumors of patients are transplanted into mouse models to study the response of actual patient tumors to therapies. These models are advantageous because the tumors look like, and to a great extent behave similarly to, human tumors. Each tumor can be divided so that multiple drugs can be tested at the same time for the same tumor.

"We hope that in the long run this will be benefit patients such that patients and physicians may make decisions as to what therapies or clinic trials would most benefit their individual tumor profile," says Yeh. Decisions based on tumor genes are already being made on a larger scale in patients with melanoma, breast, and colorectal cancers. The PDX Program has helped secure close to $7 million of research funding from the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, American Association for Cancer Research and Lustgarten Foundation.

Studying cancer cells in the blood to fight metastasis

Jen Jen Yeh's, MD, lab is also studying the role of circulating cancer cells found in the blood of patients with many different cancers with an initial focus on melanoma and pancreatic cancer patients. Pancreatic cancer in particular, spreads early, and therapies for patients remain limited. "Our goal is to study and target cells that may be key in the spread of cancers," said Yeh. "Because these cells are in the blood, a routine blood draw is all that is needed to study these cells. In the future, this may provide a noninvasive alternative to tumor biopsies as a way to tailor therapies." (LCCC1121, PI: Yeh)


More clinical trials in Surgical Oncology


Alliance Z11102: Impact of Breast Conservation Surgery on Surgical Outcomes and Cosmesis in Patients with Multiple Ipsilateral Breast Cancers (MIBC) (PI: Amos)


CALGB 40903: Phase II Study of Neoadjuvant Letrozole for Postmenopausal Women with Estrogen Receptor Positive Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS) (PI: Amos)


CALGB 80803: Randomized Phase II Trial of Pet Scan-Directed Combined Modality Therapy in Esophageal Cancer (PI: Meyers) 

UNC Lineberger   N.C. Cancer Hospital   Clinical Trials   Clinical Programs   Comprehensive Cancer Support


For questions about all clinical trials at UNC, contact the UNC Lineberger Protocol Office at 919-966-4432 or (toll-free) 1-877-668-0683. For questions about clinical trials offered at other sites, contact the UNC Cancer Network at 919-966-7359 or (toll-free) 1-877-668-0683.


To make an appointment at the N.C. Cancer Hospital for one of your patients, visit our web page for referring physicians. You may also contact the Carolina Consultation Center at 1-800-862-6264.

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