• GW Thoracic Oncology Program
  • Helping Patients Believe Easier
  • GW Cancer Center’s Thoracic Cancer Program is run by surgeons who specialize in diagnosing and treating cancers of the chest region. Our surgeons have received extra training in the form of a fellowship. They have the know-how and experience with complex chest cancers.

    The thoracic surgeons are supported by a team of health care providers, including medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, and pulmonologists. These individuals also have specialized training to ensure every patient receives expert care.

Cancer Types

Program Information

Patient-Centered Thoracic Oncology Care

When it comes to cancer, every day counts. Patients who may be suspected of having a thoracic cancer will be promptly scheduled– even for second opinions – so they can be accurately diagnosed. When the diagnosis is cancer, patients can begin the treatment process without delay.

Our physicians go the extra step to get patients in quickly. We then spend as much time as necessary explaining tests and treatments so patients have a clear understanding of what to expect.

Program Information

Collaborative Care
  • Our program offers complete cancer care for every patient. A team of physicians from different specialties come together to discuss each new thoracic cancer case. Together, they create a personalized treatment plan for each patient.
  • Our team consists of specialists with extra training. Medical and radiation oncologists, interventional radiologists, and interventional pulmonologists all have the training to help diagnose, stage, and treat chest cancers.
  • Patients will be supported through the process by our nurse navigator. This individual schedules tests and appointments to facilitate the process of diagnosing and treating chest cancers.
Clinical Research

Patients in clinical trials benefit from the latest developments in the field. 

  • GW Cancer Center provides data to the general thoracic database of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. By submitting data, we know our outcomes meet or exceed that of our peers nationwide.
  • As a teaching hospital, GW trains the next generation of physicians. We take great pride in teaching minimally invasive techniques to surgery residents and medical students so that they can carry on the tradition for their patients in the future.
Advanced Diagnosis and Treatment

GW Cancer Center offers specific screening and treatment for thoracic cancers:

  • Whenever possible we perform minimally invasive surgical procedures for chest cancers. These procedures result in less pain, shorter hospital stays, and a faster return to normal activities.
  • We offer recovery pathways that shorten the time patients must stay in the hospital after surgery. This program gets patients back to their home and their normal diet faster. Nurse navigators or physician assistants provide frequent check-ins to ensure patients are recovering safely and comfortably.
  • GW Cancer Center offers a computed tomography (CT) screening program to identify lung cancers in earlier, more treatable stages. Patients with risk factors (such as smoking) may be eligible for this safe screening program which can identify cancers even when there are no symptoms.
  • We use special techniques to obtain tissue samples that are then examined by a pathologist who can accurately diagnose the type and extent of cancer.
Leading Edge Technology

GW Cancer Center invests in state-of-the-art technologies to improve cancer diagnosis and treatment.

  • Because of our partnerships within the health care industry, we are always on the leading edge of technology. We are looking at the next generation of products that will benefit our patients with smaller incisions, shorter hospital stays, and less pain.
  • Depending on the tumor, the da Vinci® surgical robot may be a surgical option. The da Vinci® robotic surgical system offers surgeons more precision to minimize potential side effects.
Title Description
A Phase I Study of Ipilimumab and Nivolumab in Advanced HIV-Associated Solid Tumors, with Expansion Cohorts in HIV-Associated Solid Tumors and a Cohort of HIV-Associated Classical Hodgkin Lymphoma

Primary objective:

Maximum tolerated dose of nivolumab [Time Frame: 56 days]
Will be defined as the starting dose level at which 1/6 subjects experience dose limiting toxicity (DLT) with the next higher dose having at least >= 2 participants encountering DLT. Toxicity data will be presented by type and severity for each dose group and overall; the incidence of toxicity related dose reductions and treatment discontinuations will be summarized.

Secondary objectives:

  1. Objective response rate [Time Frame: Up to 3 years]
    The proportion of patients achieving objective responses (by Response Evaluation Criteria In Solid Tumors 1.1 or Kaposi's sarcoma response criteria, which includes RECIST for visceral disease, or by Response Evaluation Criteria in Lymphoma for classical Hodgkin lymphoma [cHL]) and their corresponding 95% confidence intervals (calculated using exact binomial) will be reported separately for solid tumor and cHL according to treatment (combination therapy and single agent) using designated response criteria. Descriptive statistics will also be compiled for duration of response.

  2. Immune function [Time Frame: Up to 3 years]
    Descriptive statistics will be generated to evaluate the effects of single agent nivolumab, and the combination of ipilimumab and nivolumab, on immune function (human immunodeficiency virus [HIV] viral load, CD4 and CD8 cells).

  3. Change in immune status [Time Frame: Baseline up to 3 years]
    Change in immune status from pre-study to the end of study will be examined using a nonparametric Wilcoxon signed-rank test.

  4. Change in HIV viral load [Time Frame: Baseline up to 3 years]
    Change in HIV viral load from pre-study to the end of study will be examined using a nonparametric Wilcoxon signed-rank test.

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Participants must have histologically confirmed solid tumor malignancy that is metastatic or unresectable and for which standard curative or palliative measures do not exist or are no longer effective; participants with uncontrolled Kaposi sarcoma are permitted 
  • HIV-1 infection
  • Participants must have measurable disease
  • Prior therapy for metastatic disease permitted
  • Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status =< 1 (Karnofsky >= 70%)
  • HIV viral load should be well suppressed, defined as below the limit of detection of the local assay or below 75 copies/mLCD4 count requirements differ depending on progression of the study. (Please contact study team for details.)
  • Participants must be purified protein derivative (PPD) negative
  • Women of childbearing potential and men must agree to use adequate contraception (hormonal or barrier method of birth control; abstinence) prior to study entry and for the duration of study participation
  • Participants MUST receive appropriate care and treatment for HIV infection and should be under the care of a physician experienced in HIV management
  • Participants who have hepatitis C and hepatitis B may be enrolled, provided total bilirubin is =< 1.5 x institutional ULN, and AST (SGOT) and ALT (SGPT) must be =< 3 X institutional upper limit of normal, and hepatitis B virus (HBV) deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) < 100 IU/mL (if hepatitis B positive) within 2 weeks prior to enrollment

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Participants who have received any other investigational agents within the 4 weeks prior to enrollment; concurrent radiation therapy is not permitted, except palliative (limited-field) radiation therapy, if all of the following criteria are met:
    • Repeat imaging demonstrates no new sites of bone metastases
    • The lesion being considered for palliative radiation is not a target lesion
  • Participants with active brain metastases or leptomeningeal metastases must be excluded
  • Participants with clinical or radiographic evidence of pancreatitis are excluded
  • Uncontrolled intercurrent illness 
  • Participants should be excluded if they have had prior treatment with an anti-PD-1, anti-programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1), anti-programmed cell death ligand 2 (PD-L2), anti-CTLA-4 antibody, or any other antibody or drug specifically targeting T-cell co-stimulation or immune checkpoint pathways; prior immune-modulating therapy including vaccines may be eligible
  • Other inclusion/exclusion criteria are present. Please contact the study team for a complete list.
GWCC Thoracic Oncology Program
22nd & I Street, NW 6th Floor
Washington , DC
United States

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202-741-3220