The Gastrointestinal Cancer Program at Washington University provides world-leading clinical and research expertise across the range of common and rare cancers that arise in the organs of the digestive tract.
Our team of doctors and advanced practitioners brings cutting edge knowledge of these cancers to the clinic to allow our patients access to a full range of established and investigational treatments with the goal of increasing cures. Our experts work closely with colleagues from other areas including surgery, radiology, radiation oncology, gastroenterology, interventional radiology, palliative care, counseling service and the hospice team to provide a comprehensive and seamless multidisciplinary care for patients from initial diagnosis and throughout different stages of disease.
The Gastrointestinal Cancer Program at Washington University offers world-leading clinical and research expertise in the realm of both common and rare cancers affecting the digestive tract. Our dedicated team of physicians and advanced practitioners brings cutting-edge knowledge to the clinic, providing our patients with access to a full spectrum of established and investigational treatments, all with the aim of improving cure rates. Our experts collaborate closely with colleagues from various disciplines, including surgery, radiology, radiation oncology, gastroenterology, interventional radiology, palliative care, counseling services, and the hospice team. Together, we deliver comprehensive and seamlessly integrated multidisciplinary care, supporting patients from their initial diagnosis through different stages of the disease.
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Referring physicians or patients can call 314-747-1171 to schedule a consultation with one of our Gastrointestinal Cancer Program physicians.
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GI Malignancies Research
Our team specializes in the treatment and research of both common and rare gastrointestinal (GI) cancers, serving over 5,000 patients annually. We also provide access to clinical trials for more than 200 patients each year who are seeking innovative treatment options. The GI cancer team treats patients with the following diagnoses:
- Esophageal cancer (including adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma)
- Gastric cancer
- Ampullary carcinoma
- Colon and rectal adenocarcinomas
- Small bowel adenocarcinoma
- Appendiceal neoplasms (adenocarcinoma, goblet cell carcinoma, low- and high-grade appendiceal mucinous neoplasm, pseudomyxoma peritonei)
- Anal cancer (squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma)
- Pancreas cancers (adenocarcinoma, acinar carcinoma, colloid carcinoma, etc.)
- Biliary cancer (cholangiocarcinoma, gallbladder carcinoma)
- Liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma, biphenotypic carcinomas)
- Neuroendocrine neoplasms from all GI tracts
- Peritoneal mesothelioma
Our Treatment Approach
The complexity of the digestive system necessitates a multidisciplinary approach for the best possible outcomes in the treatment of GI tract cancers for the majority of our patients. Our care teams collaborate closely with a wide range of specialists, including surgical experts in oncology, thoracic, hepatopancreatobiliary, liver transplant, and colorectal surgery, as well as radiation oncologists, gastroenterologists, palliative medicine physicians, diagnostic and interventional radiologists, pathologists, geneticists, research professionals, and supportive care services such as clinical pharmacy, social work, psychology, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language therapy, fertility preservation, and reproductive medicine as needed.
We also recognize that digestive cancers can have broad-ranging effects on a patient’s overall well-being and quality of life. To address these challenges comprehensively, we collaborate with other experts at Washington University across a spectrum of specialties, including but not limited to endocrinology, rheumatology, neurology, dermatology, and ophthalmology.
To establish care with one of our GI cancer specialists, patients undergo an initial consultation with our team at one of our Siteman Cancer Center locations. During this consultation, we review relevant medical records, imaging studies, biopsies, and genetic tests. If applicable, this information may be presented at one of our GI cancer multidisciplinary tumor boards (such as thoracic/esophageal, pancreas, hepatobiliary, colorectal, or neuroendocrine) to facilitate coordinated care among various medical and surgical specialties.
We will discuss and obtain appropriate tumor, blood, and, where applicable, inherited genetic mutation tests to help formulate the appropriate treatment plan for your cancer type and stage. Our GI medical oncology treatment options may most often include chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and/or immunotherapy. Working with you, we will consider both standard of care and clinical trial options to treat your cancer. For those who pursue clinical trials or those who choose to be under our direct care, treatment will be administered within our on-site treatment units across all of our Siteman Cancer Center locations. Alternatively, we can coordinate care with your local oncologists and provide our opinions on treatment options, which can be delivered near home, while having access to our expertise and clinical trial opportunities should the needs arise.
Our GI oncologists are exceptionably capable of treating all kinds of GI cancers. However, each one of them has diverge research interest in different areas.
Kian Lim, MD PhD
Gastrointestinal Cancer Program Director/Director of GI Oncology and a physician-scientist specializing in development of novel therapeutic strategies in all GI cancers especially pancreatic, colon and gastric cancer.
Olivia Aranha, MD PhD
Dr. Aranha provides expertise care on all GI cancers with particular focus on biliary tract, anal and peritoneal cancers, as well as cancer of unknown primary.
Patrick M. Grierson, MD, PhD
Dr. Grierson is a physician-scientist who specializes in the treatment of a broad range of gastrointestinal cancers (esophageal, gastric, pancreas, liver, bile duct, colon, rectal), with a focus and research interest in gastric, esophageal and pancreas cancers.
Michael D. Iglesia, MD, PhD
Dr. Iglesia is a physician-scientist whose clinical specialty is the care of patients with gastrointestinal and hepatobiliary cancers, with a special focus on biliary tract cancers. His research interest is using genomic data to better understand the interplay between cancer and normal tissues, and how this affects the process of cancer growth and spread.
Moh’d Khushman, MD
Dr. Khushman particular research interest is in colorectal cancer. His research efforts is in precision medicine where he focuses on molecular profiling of GI malignancies, biomarkers discovery, germline pharmacogenomics and exosomes. He is also trained to treat patient with hepatic arterial infusion pump (HAIP) and HIPEC.
Katrina S. Pedersen, MD, MS
Dr. Pedersen is a national expert who provides standard care and clinical trials for patients with small and large bowel cancers.
Lee Ratner, MD, PhD
Dr. Ratner sees and treats a variety of GI cancers, and his team is particularly focused on those cancers associated with viruses, including hepatocellular, anal, and a subset of gastric cancers
Caron E. Rigden, MD
Dr. Rigden provides expertise care on all GI cancers at Siteman Cancer Center in St. Peters and offers standard of care and clinical trial options to patients.
Rama Suresh, MD
Dr. Suresh provides expertise care on all GI cancers at Siteman Cancer Center West and South County and offers standard of care and clinical trial options to patients.
Benjamin R. Tan, Jr., MD
Dr. Tan is a national expert in neuroendocrine tumors and is actively involved in developing novel therapies and providing multidisciplinary for patients with neuroendocrine tumors.
Nikolaos A. Trikalinos, MD
Dr. Trikalinos is a national expert in neuroendocrine tumors and is actively involved in developing novel therapies and providing multidisciplinary for patients with neuroendocrine tumors.
John Visconti, MD
Dr. Visconti treats all kinds of GI cancers in Shiloh Illinois to provide standard of care and clinical trial options to patients.
- Linda Goldenberg
- Molly Karl
- Kristen Kemper
- Lindsay McIntyre
- Justin Schutte
- Jennifer Spann
- Crystal Wolf
- Madison Beckert
- Steven Blumenfeld
- Christy Breckenridge
- Thera Bond
- Danielle Crites
- Katie Horn
- Kathy Julien
- Anna Pruss
- Lindsey Schrumpf
- Hannah Stubblefield
- Kristen Werne
Research and Clinical Trials
Our program conducts basic, translational and clinical research across all major GI cancers. Each of our GI cancer experts is specialized in a cancer type and are either a well-recognized national expert and/or a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network guideline committees who provide expertise opinion on how to treat GI cancers. Our team conducts various promising early to late phases of clinical trials and has gained international reputation as one of the most successful group for clinical research. Our notable strength in basic/translational research is in pancreatic cancer, which is one of the hardest cancer to treat. To this end, we have conducted multiple innovative clinical trials combining targeted and immunotherapies. Our institution is also one of the founding members of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Precision Promise Trial Consortium, the largest industry-academic collaborative effort that focuses on delivering innovative clinical trials with the goal to ultimately defeat pancreatic cancer.
Ongoing Clinical Trial Highlights
- CA-4948 Added to Standard Chemotherapy to Treat Metastatic or Unresectable Pancreatic Cancer (NCT05685602).
This is a multi-centered clinical trial conducted through the National Cancer Institute based on our science, which shows that targeting innate immune kinase IRAK4 with a novel inhibitor CA-4948, can augment the effect of chemotherapy in pancreatic cancer.
- Phase I trial of CA-4948, an IRAK4 inhibitor, in combination with FOLFOX/PD-1 inhibitor +/- trastuzumab for untreated unresectable gastric and esophageal cancer (NCT05187182).
This is an innovative clinical trial that will test whether targeting IRAK4 using CA-4948 will make immunotherapy more effective in patients with gastric and esophageal cancers.
- Cabozantinib in High Grade Neuroendocrine Neoplasms (NCT04412629).
This clinical trial utilizes a novel inhibitor cabozantinib to treat patients with high grade neuroendocrine cancers after they stop responding to chemotherapies.