Department of Radiation Oncology

Gary D. Kao

faculty photo

Gary D. Kao, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology
Department: Radiation Oncology
Graduate Group Affiliations

Contact information
Department of Radiation Oncology
Smilow Center for Translational Research, Room 8-134
3400 Civic Center Blvd.
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: 215-573-2285
BA (Philosophy)
Johns Hopkins University , 1984.
M.D. (Medicine)
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 1988.
PhD (Molecular Biology)
University of Pennsylvania, 1998.
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Description of Research Expertise

The overall goal of the Kao Laboratory is to understand aspects of cancer and normal tissue biology that will ultimately allow us develop and refine anticancer treatment. Our current project involves the development of novel assays for circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and circulating tumor material (CTM) to serve as "liquid biopsies" to enable serial interrogation of the biology of the primary and metastatic tumor, all at no risk to the patient.
We have also attacked this goal via interrelated approaches that have included: (i) novel assays to study the integrity of the blood:brain:barrier (BBB) as a determinant of malignant brain tumor treatment success (ii) investigating the biology of histone deacetylases in cancer and normal tissues, its role in development and cellular growth, and in the response to histone deacetylase inhibitors and other treatment modifiers, and (iii) developing novel vertebrate-based systems to investigate the relative effects of treatment on cancer cell viability as well as normal tissue development and function. We believe the understanding resulting from these investigations will enable us to optimize the "therapeutic ratio" --developing more effective yet less toxic treatment strategies

Description of Clinical Expertise

Radiation Oncology

Selected Publications

Yegya-Raman N, Kegelman TP, Ho Lee S, Kallan MJ, Kim KN, Natarajan J, Deek MP, Zou W, O'Reilly SE, Zhang Z, Levin W, Cengel K, Kao G, Cohen RB, Sun LL, Langer CJ, Aggarwal C, Singh AP, O'Quinn R, Ky B, Apte A, Deasy J, Xiao Y, Berman AT, Jabbour SK, Feigenberg SJ.: Death without progression as an endpoint to describe cardiac radiation effects in locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer. Clin Transl Radiat Oncol. 39: 100581, Jan 2023.

Lee SH, Kao GD, Feigenberg SJ, Dorsey JF, Frick MA, Jean-Baptiste S, Uche CZ, Cengel KA, Levin WP, Berman AT, Aggarwal C, Fan Y, Xiao Y. : Multiblock Discriminant Analysis of Integrative 18F-FDG-PET/CT Radiomics for Predicting Circulating Tumor Cells in Early-Stage Non-small Cell Lung Cancer Treated With Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. (eds.). 1(110(5):): 1451-1465. Aug 2021 Notes: doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2021.02.030. Epub 2021 Mar 1.

Jean-Baptiste SR, Feigenberg SJ, Dorsey JF, Kao GD. : Personal and Prognostic: Tissue and Liquid Biomarkers of Radiotherapeutic Response in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. Semin Radiat Oncol. 31((2)): 149-154. Apr 2021 Notes: doi: 10.1016/j.semradonc.2020.11.002.

Jiao Z, Li H, Xiao Y, Aggarwal C, Galperin-Aizenberg M, Pryma D, Simone CB 2nd, Feigenberg SJ, Kao GD, Fan Y.: Integration of Risk Survival Measures Estimated From Pre- and Posttreatment Computed Tomography Scans Improves Stratification of Patients With Early-Stage Non-small Cell Lung Cancer Treated With Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 109((5)): 1647-1656. Apr 2021 Notes: doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2020.12.014. Epub 2021 Jan 19. PMID: 33333202.

Melissa A Frick 1 2, Steven J Feigenberg 2, Samuel R Jean-Baptiste 2, Louise A Aguarin 2, Amberly Mendes 2, Chimbu Chinniah 2, Sam Swisher-McClure 2, Abigail Berman 2, William Levin 2, Keith A Cengel 2, Stephen M Hahn 3, Jay F Dorsey 2, Charles B Simone 2nd 4, Gary D Kao 5: Circulating Tumor Cells Are Associated with Recurrent Disease in Patients with Early-Stage Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Treated with Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy. Clinical Cancer Research 26(10): 2372-2380, May 2020.

Chinniah C, Aguarin L, Cheng P.... Kao GD. : Early detection of recurrence in patients with locally advanced non–small-cell lung cancer via circulating tumor cell analysis. Clinical Lung Cancer July 2019.

Seranio N, Malkowicz SB, Aguarin L, Dorsey JF, Christodouleas J, Kao GD. : Predicting bladder cancer responses to PD-L1 inhibitors? A case report and overview for the busy clinician. Journal of Translational Science (JTS) 5: 1-5, Feb 2019.

Liu T, Xu H, Huang M, Ma W, Saxena D, Lustig RA, Alonso-Basanta M, Zhang Z, O'Rourke DM, Zhang L, Gong Y, Kao GD, Dorsey JF, Fan Y. : Circulating Glioma Cells Exhibit Stem Cell-like Properties. Cancer Res. 78(23): 6632-6642. Dec 2018.

Frick MA, Kao GD, et al. : Circulating tumor cells assessment in presumed early stage non-small cell lung cancer patients treated with stereotactic body radiation therapy: a prospective pilot study. International J of Radiation Oncology, Biology Physics. 102: 536-542, Sept 2018.

Yanling Wang, Haineng Xu, Tianrun Liu, Menggui Huang, Param-Puneet Butter, Chunsheng Li, Lin Zhang, Gary D. Kao, Yanqing Gong, Amit Maity, Constantinos Koumenis, and Yi Fan: Temporal DNA-PK activation drives genomic instability and therapy resistance in glioma stem cells. JCI Insight 3(3), Feb 8 2018.

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Last updated: 07/17/2023
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