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UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center

UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center

Thoracic Oncology

The Thoracic Oncology Program at UC Davis Cancer Center, directed by David R. Gandara, M.D., is a national and international center of excellence for lung cancer therapy.  It is the largest and most comprehensive program in Northern California, providing a wide array of clinical and research services, ranging from prevention strategies to new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. In addition to lung cancer, expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of other thoracic malignancies, such as mesothelioma, esophageal cancer and thymoma, is available.

Composed of a multi-disciplinary team of experts in medical oncology, pulmonary medicine, thoracic surgery, radiation oncology, pathology and radiology, our program includes nationally prominent clinicians and researchers who meet weekly at the Thoracic Oncology Tumor Board to coordinate evaluation and treatment strategies for each new patient, in effect providing "one-stop shopping" by combining the opinions of approximately 20 different team members.

Our Thoracic Oncology specialists rank among the country's leading lung cancer researchers, designing and conducting clinical trials of promising investigational therapies that often become the recognized standards nationally and internationally.  Clinical trials sponsored by the National Cancer Institute are available for almost every situation and stage of lung cancer.

Tailored treatment

Each patient's clinical history and medical record, including PET scans, CT scans and other imaging studies, are reviewed by this multidisciplinary team before a an opinion is rendered and recommendations made. The treatment team is rounded out by nurses with advanced training in thoracic oncology, along with dietitians, social workers and clinical research associates for clinical trial entry.  The team's goal is an individualized treatment plan tailored to each patient.

Treatment may include FDA-approved and/or investigational approaches, such as:

  • Chemotherapy — generally given by infusion at the Cancer Center

  • Molecular targeted therapy — this new generation of medications includes oral inhibitors of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) for lung cancer, such as gefitinib (Iressa) and erlotinib (Tarceva) and anti-angiogenic agents such as bevacizumab (Avastin) for protocol treatment of mesothelioma.

  • Radiation therapy — state-of-the-art radiation therapy is offered in the Radiation Oncology Clinic on the ground floor of the Cancer Center.  Our Thoracic Oncology Program specializes in combined modality therapy integrating systemic agents such as chemotherapy together with chest radiation with or without surgery, and our approaches are acknowledged throughout the country as state-of-the art.

  • Surgery — surgeries are scheduled at both the UC Davis Medical Center's main hospital and the outpatient University Surgery Center.  Thoracic surgeons play an active role in the diagnostic and therapeutic approach to each patient, as appropriate based on the stage of cancer and other individual patient characteristics.

Clinical trials

UC Davis Cancer Center has one of the nation's largest clinical trials programs, offering patients access to the newest drugs and treatments before they become widely available.  The Cancer Center participates in two National Cancer Institute-sponsored adult clinical trials groups: the Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG), made up of 283 leading cancer treatment and research institutions throughout North America, and the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG), comprising 250 centers.

Dr. Gandara, as chairman of the SWOG Lung Committee, directs a multi-institution group of thoracic cancer specialists located in all 50 states in NCI-sponsored clinical trials evaluating new treatments.  In addition, our physicians conduct novel clinical trials through the California Oncology Consortium, a research collaboration that also includes the City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, Calif., and the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.  Knowledge and advances generated and shared through these cooperative groups benefit all of our patients with thoracic malignancies.

Our treatment team

Medical Oncology

David R. Gandara, M.D.
Professor of Internal Medicine, Hematology and Oncology
Director, Thoracic Oncology Program
Associate Director for Clinical Research, UC Davis Cancer Center

Primo N. Lara, Jr., M.D.
Professor of Internal Medicine, Hematology and Oncology

Derick Lau, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Internal Medicine, Hematology and Oncology
Associate Director of Fellowship Program

Tianhong Li, M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine, Hematology and Oncology
Co-Director, Phase I Program
Co-Director, Breast Cancer Research Program

Pulmonary Medicine

Ken Y. Yoneda, M.D.
Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, Pulmonary arnd Critical Care

Diagnostic Radiology

Ramsey Badawi, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Radiology 
Director of Nuclear Medicine Research

Elizabeth H. Moore, M.D.
Professor of Radiology

David K. Shelton, Jr., M.D.
Professor and Chief of Nuclear Medicine

Thoracic Surgery

Royce Calhoun, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Surgery

David T. Cooke, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Surgery

New patient appointments

To make an appointment, please call (916) 703-5210 or (800) 362-5566.  More information on how to become a patient at UC Davis Cancer Center can be found by visiting our Appointments & Referrals.