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Surgical Oncology

In partnership with Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, the Division of Surgical Oncology offers evidence-based, multidisciplinary cancer treatment from a team of fellowship-trained surgeons and dedicated care providers.

We are dedicated to being a leader in cutting-edge, multidisciplinary and personalized clinical care through our partnership with Northwestern Medicine. In addition to being leaders in their respective clinical fields, many of our faculty have a research interest in surgical quality and clinical outcomes, for which they are nationally known.”

Jeffrey D. Wayne, MD, Chief

What We Do


The Division of Surgical Oncology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine is committed to nurturing the skills and knowledge of future leaders in our field. Our physicians have a passion for education and a commitment to creating a learning and training environment that ensures our students and residents realize their utmost potential.


The Northwestern Surgical Outcomes and Quality Improvement Center (SOQIC) is a collaborative health services, outcomes, patient safety and quality improvement research enterprise of which the Department of Surgery is part. SOQIC research spans all the surgical specialties, with a particular focus on general surgery and surgical oncology. Division faculty members include Karl Y. Bilimoria, MD, MS; Anthony D. Yang, MD, MS; David J. Bentrem, MD; and Ryan Merkow, MD, MS.

Bentrem’s participation with the Northwestern University pancreatic cancer tumor bank continues to be successful, with tissue and blood samples from over 250 cancer patients collected. Given the lack of effective systemic treatment options, the goal of the bank is to develop new treatments for pancreatic cancer. Immune checkpoint therapy (ICT) has transformed cancer treatment in recent years; however, response rates for pancreatic cancer to systemic chemotherapy have lagged behind those for other solid tumors. The tumor immune microenvironment influences response to ICT and understanding the differential immune infiltration in ICT-resistant tumor types will guide future treatment strategies. We have found elevated levels of mast cells and inflammatory leukotrienes in human pancreatic tumor tissue and correlated this with worse outcomes from pancreatic cancer treatment.

Merkow has been selected as a scholar for A Chicago Center for Excellence in Learning Health Systems Research Training (ACCELERAT) program. This highly competitive award is funded through the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. As a first-year scholar, Merkow focused on the development of a novel, post-surgical, post-discharge complication monitoring and adaptive intervention system using tailored patient-reported outcomes. The results of his study will improve care for patients during one of the most vulnerable and high-risk periods after major cancer surgery and build the infrastructure to generalize the monitoring system to other areas of surgery.

Yang received a NIH K08 award from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute for his project entitled, "Tailored Adaptation of the AHRQ VTE QI Guide to Local Hospital Context."

 Patient Care

We strive to provide personalized care in a patient-centered, compassionate environment. At our affiliated hospitals, our faculty stride to lead the fight against cancer by incorporating the latest advances in surgical technology. They are devoted to clinical and basic science research and surgical education.

Meet Our Team

Bentrem, David J

Professor of Surgery (Surgical Oncology) and Medical Social Sciences (Outcome and Measurement Science)

My primary clinical focus is on the treatment of GI malignancy. My research interests are in translational efforts in GI oncology. I am the head of the pancreas cancer tissue bank and NU pancreas cancer database.


View all faculty

Contact Us


Nancy Arredondo
Division Administrator
Phone:  312-926-1183

676 N. St. Clair
Chicago IL 60611


Clinical Contact Number
Phone:  866-587-4322

Support What We Do

We invite your philanthropic partnership in helping us achieve our research and teaching missions each day.

You can contact David McCreery for more information on supporting our division at 312-503-6099 or

Make an online donation

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