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.
What We Do
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."
Meet Our Team
David J Bentrem
Professor of Surgery (Surgical Oncology) and Medical Social Sciences
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.
Karl Y Bilimoria
Associate Professor of Surgery (Surgical Oncology) and Medical Social Sciences
Dr. Bilimoria is a surgical oncologist and a health services researcher focused on quality improvement, implementation science, and health policy. He is a Vice President for Quality for the Northwestern Medicine health system. He is also the Vice Chair for Quality in the Department of Surgery and the John B. Murphy Professor of Surgery. His clinical practice is focused on melanoma and sarcoma. Dr. Bilimoria is the Director of the Surgical Outcomes and Quality Improvement Center of Northwestern U...