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UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center

Shyam Rao, M.D., Ph.D. View profile as PDF

Shyam  Rao

Philosophy of Care

I strive to work with each individual patient to provide the highest-quality care while also advancing our current cancer treatments. I am committed to individualized patient care, state-of-the-art treatment strategies, teaching and research to provide the best possible patient care.

Clinical Interests

Dr. Rao specializes in the use of intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) and stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT). Using these advanced techniques, we can effectively treat tumors while reducing the chance of side effects.

As these cancers are often treated with a combination of therapies, Dr. Rao works closely with surgeons and medical oncologists to provide the optimal treatment for each patient.    

Dr. Rao was previously a faculty member at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

Research/Academic Interests

Dr. Rao's research has focused on improving the effectiveness of radiation therapy and reducing treatment-related side effects. 


Assistant Professor




Radiation Oncology

Center/Program Affiliation:


UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center
4501 X St., Suite 0140
Sacramento, CA 95817
Driving Directions
Phone: 800-800--362-5566

Additional Phone:

Clinic Phone: 916-734-5823
Clinic Fax: 916-703-5068
Physician Referrals: 800-4-UCDAVIS (800-482-3284)


M.D., UC Irvine College of Medicine, Irvine, CA, 2005
Ph.D., UC Irvine, Irvine, CA, 2003
B.A., UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, 1994


Internal Medicine, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, NH, 2006


Radiation Oncology, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, 2010

Board Certifications:

American Board of Radiology,
American Board of Radiology, Radiation Oncology,

Professional Memberships:

American Association for the Advancement of Science
American College of Radiology
American Society for Clinical Oncology
American Society for Radiology and Oncology
New York Head Neck Society

Select Honors and Awards:

Hope Center for Neurological Disorders Research Award, 2009

Lloyd Guth Award for Excellence in Graduate Research, 2003

University of California, Regents Fellowship, 2000

University of California, Berkeley Outstanding Service Award, 1994

Select Recent Publications:

Riaz N, Setton J, Tam M, Sherman E, Ho F, Katsoulakis E, Wong R, Wolden S, Rao S, Lee N.  Patients with low lying lymph nodes are at high risk for distant metastasis in oropharyngeal cancer.  Oral Oncol. 2014 Jul 17. (PMID 25043881).

Riaz N, Hong JC, Sherman EJ, Morris L, Fury M, Ganly I, Wang TJ, Shi W, Wolden SL, Jackson A, Wong RJ, Zhang Z, Rao SD, Lee NY.  A nomogram to predict loco-regional control after re-irradiation for head and neck cancer.  Radiother Oncol. 2014 Jun 30. (PMID 24993329).

Lok B1, Chin C, Riaz N, Ho F, Hu M, Hong J, Shi W, Zhang Z, Sherman E, Wong R, Morris L, Ganly I, Wolden S, Rao S, Lee N. Irradiation for locoregionally recurrent, never irradiated oral cavity cancers. Head Neck. 2014 Jun 21.  (PMID:24954094)

Rao S, Thompson CM, Cheng J, Haimovitz-Friedman A, Powell SN, Fuks Z, Kolesnick RN.  Axitinib Sensitization of High Single Dose Radiotherapy.  Radiother Oncol. 2014 Apr;111(1):88-93. Epub 2014 Apr 29. (PMID:24794795).

Stancevic B, Varda-Bloom N, Cheng J, Fuller J, Rotolo JA, Garcia-Barros M, Feldman  R, Rao S, Weichselbaum  RR, Harats D, Haimovitz-Friedman  A, Fuks Z, Sadelain M, Kolesnick R.  Adenoviral Transduction of Human Acid Sphingomyelinase into Neoangiogenic Endothelium Radiosensitizes Tumor Cure. PLoS One. 2013 Aug 2;8(8) e69025. (PMID 23936314).

Rao SD, Fury MG, Pfister DG.  Molecular Targeted Therapies in Head and Neck Cancer.  Seminars in Radiation Oncology. Semin Radiat Oncol. 2012 Jul;22(3):207-13. (PMID 22687945)

Baxi S, Fury M, Ganly I, Rao S, Pfister DG.  Ten years of progress in head and neck cancers. J Natl Compr Canc Netw. 2012 Jul 1;10(7):806-10.

Setton J, Caria N, Romanyshyn J, Koutcher L, Wolden SL, Zelefsky MJ, Rowan N, Sherman EJ, Fury MG, Pfister DG, Wong RJ, Shah JP, Kraus DH, Shi W, Zhang Z, Schupak KD, Gelblum DY, Rao SD, Lee NY.  Intensity-Modulated Radiotherapy in the Treatment of Oropharyngeal Cancer: An Update of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Experience. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2012 Jan 1;82(1):291-8. Epub 2010 Dec 16. (PMID 21167652)

Rao S, Sengupta R, Choe A, Woerner B, Jackson J, Sun T, Leonard J, Piwnica-Worms D, Rubin JB.  CXCL12 mediates trophic interactions between endothelial and tumor cells in Glioblastoma. PLoS One. 2012;7(3):e33005. Epub 2012 Mar 12. ( PMID 22427929)

Lok BH, Setton J, Caria N, Romanyshyn J, Wolden SL, Zelefsky MJ, Park J, Rowan N, Sherman EJ, Fury MG, Ho A, Pfister DG, Wong RJ, Shah JP, Kraus DH, Zhang Z, Schupak KD, Gelblum DY, Rao SD, Lee NY. Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy in Oropharyngeal Carcinoma: Effect of Tumor Volume on Clinical Outcomes.  Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2012 Apr 1;82(5):1851-7. Epub 2011 Jun 2. (PMID 21640497)

To see if Shyam Rao is accepting new patients, or for assistance finding a UC Davis doctor, please call 800-2-UCDAVIS (800-282-3284).