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Radiation Oncology

Quality, Performance, and Innovation in Cancer Care

Welcome to the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Our mission is to provide the highest quality care to patients with all types of cancers and certain benign tumors. The department aims to achieve excellence in professionalism and performance of our services. We seek to create a climate that fosters innovation and allows patients access to the newest cutting edge treatments.

The Department of Radiation Oncology is integrated within the award-winning, nationally celebrated University of Colorado Hospital, within the larger University of Colorado Health system. The University of Colorado Cancer Center is a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center.

 – Brian D. Kavanagh, MD, MPH, FASTRO​, Professor and Chair ​​​​​


Contact Us: 720-848-0159

In The News...

07/02/2019 - Immune System Damage & Ineffectiveness of High-dose Radiation Against Lung Cancer

Congratulations to Drs. Rusthoven, Kavanagh, and Nath on their recent publication in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics. Their study was recently examined in a post on the Colorado Cancer Blogs, with Dr. Nath contributing a number of statements and explanations on their findings.

06/10/2019 - Milgrom Publishes Imaging Guidelines

Dr. Sarah Milgrom, who joined the department faculty last fall, co-authored the recently published consensus guidelines from the International Lymphoma Radiation Oncology Group (ILROG) on the proper use of imaging for patients treated with radiation therapy. Dr. Milgrom and Dr. Rachel Rabinovitch share coverage of the lymphoma service in the department. Dr. Milgrom also sees pediatric radiation oncology patients, and Dr. Rabinovitch also sees breast cancer patients. For additional information, please visit ScienceDirect.

06/05/2019 - GOG/NRG New Investigator Award for Tyler Robin, MD, PhD, PGY5

PGY-5 Tyler Robin, MD, PhD, will join the faculty after his upcoming graduation as Assistant Professor in the CU School of Medicine Department of Radiation Oncology. He also has just received a prestigious New Investigator Award from the Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG) and NRG Oncology. This away will help Dr.Robin expand the scope of his clinical trial involvement to the national level, while bringing new, innovative clinical trials to cancer patients in Colorado. More details can be found here.

05/20/2019 - Dr. Westerly Awarded CCTSI Grant

Dr. David Westerly was recently awared a grant from teh Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences institute. The 2019 Novel Methods Development Pilot Program grant will provide support to Dr. Westerly's project to develop a dense plama focus for medical isotope production. Such a device would be useful for radiation biology and imaging studies.

05/06/2019 - Residents Receive Prestigious Grants
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Drs. Sara Zakem and Adam Mueller recently received a number of noteworthy grants. 

Dr. Zakem was awareded a travel grant for ASTRO Advocacy Day and flew to Washington, D.C. with department chair Dr. Brian Kavanagh to speak with representatives on radiation oncology issues (pictured right).

Adam Mueller Headshot 2016.jpgDr. Mueller was awarded the 2019 RSNA resident research grant. This is a competitive grant, awarding $30,000 over 1 year, for research in radiology and radiation oncology open nationally to residents in both specialties. His project, in the laboratory of Dr. Sana Karam, is studying the effect of radiation on generating fibrosis in pancreatic cancer tumors, with the overall goal of developing new molecular targeted treatments that can make radiation therapy more effective in treating pancreatic cancer.

1/15/2019 - Dr. Miller Recieves ACS-IRG Grant

Dr. Brian Miller, a member of the Medical Physics faculty, has been awarded an American Cancer Society Institutional Research Grant.  His project will focus on developing next-generation imaging detectors for targeted alpha therapy (TAT). Alpha-emitters hold substantial promise for effectively treating micrometastases and residual disease associated with cancer progression or relapse post-therapy. Alpha-emitters cause localized, irreparable double-strand DNA breaks that lead to immediate cell death with minimal radiation to neighboring normal tissues as they impart large amounts of ionizing energy over a few cell diameters. “Biodistribution information, dosimetry, and dose-response information at cellular levels are key to developing optimal α-particle targeting strategies,” says Dr. Miller. “We are working on developing radiation imaging detectors that will provide the spatial resolution and quantification capabilities needed to advance this exciting therapy for clinical use.” 

10/12/2018 - Dr. Priscilla Stumpf Joins Facultypriscilla.jpg

Dr. Priscilla Stumpf joined the faculty in July as Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology. Dr. Stumpf attended the University of Southern Indiana as a recipient of the prestigious Baccalaureate/Doctor of Medicine scholarship awarding her a seat in the Indiana Univeristy School of Medicine upon completion of her undergraduate training. She received her MD at Indiana University School of Medicine and went on to complete her internship in the competitive Transitional Year program at IU Health Methodist in Indianapolis. She then completed her residency in radiation oncology here at the University of Colorado where she served as chief resident. During this time she has authored original research articles, abstracts, and textbook chapters with a special interest in stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) and stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS).

Dr. Stumpf will be providing clinical service at the main campus and elsewhere in other Metro Denver sites. She is especially looking forward to spending time at the Cherry Creek Medical Center when it opens in the Spring of 2020.

08/17/2018 - HIMRT vs IMRT for Localized Prostate Cancer

In a recent sudy, Dr. Thomas Pugh and colleagues compared the effects of hypofractionated, dose-escalated, intensity-modulated radiation therapy (HIMRT) against conventional IMRT for men with localized prostate cancer. After comparing the results of both methods, the team found that HIMRT demonstrated superior cancer control while shortening treatment duration. The full study is available is available to read here.


08/13/2018 - Schefter Wins First Place in Leadville 100

Dr. Tracy Schefter, Director of our Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy program, took first place in the Leadville 100! Pictured right is Dr. Schefter mid-race. Congratulations, Dr. Schefter, on a victory well-earned!

5/11/18 - Goodman named ACR Fellow, will teach again at AACR/ASCO Research Workshop

Dr. Karyn Goodman, Associate Director of the University of Colorado Cancer Center and Grohne Professor of Clinical Oncology, is one of fifteen radiation oncologists and medical physicists to be approved this year for Fellowship by the American College of Radiology (ACR) Board of Chancellors. She will receive this honor at the 2018 Convocation, to be held in conjunction with the ACR Annual Meeting in May, 2018. Dr. Goodman will also again serve as a member of the faculty of the AACR/ASCO Methods in Clinical Cancer Research Workshop to be held from July 28-Aug. 3, 2018 in Vail, Colorado. The program is a very intensive and covers the essentials of effective clinical trial designs of therapeutic interventions in the treatment of cancer.  Attendees include clinical fellow and junior faculty clinical researchers in all oncology subspecialties, including radiation and surgical oncology and radiology.  Interested participants must go through a competitive application process. The course is very highly regarded in the oncology community, and numerous current University of Colorado faculty members have studied there.

recent study from Dr. Rusthoven and Dr. Robin challenges the use of whole-brain radiation for all small-cell lung cancer patients with brain metastases. The study, recently published in the journal Lung Cancer, compared the outcomes of 5,752 small-cell lung cancer patients who received whole-brain radiation therapy (WBRT) with those of 200 patients who received stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), finding that the median overall survival was actually longer with SRS (10.8 months with SRS versus 7.1 months with WBRT). Read the full article here

1/26/18 - Thomas awarded American Cancer Society Grant
Dr David Thomas, a member of the Medical Physics faculty, has been awarded an American Cancer Society Institutional Research Grant.  The project titled “High Resolution X-Ray Induced Acoustic Computed Tomography for In-Vivo Dosimetry and Imaging Applications” is focused on developing a novel imaging system, which will provide real-time in-vivo 3D radiation dose measurements in the body.  “Radiation dosimetry (measuring the delivered radiation dose distribution) is a crucial part of improving the quality of radiation therapy in order to ensure that the correct dose is accurately delivered” says Dr. Thomas. “We hope to develop a system capable of measuring radiation dose in real time, based on the ‘photoacoustic effect’. I’m excited to apply this innovative technology to radiation therapy.