David G. Pfister, MD

Chief, Head and Neck Oncology Service
Pictured: David Pfister

I am a medical oncologist with more than 20 years of experience in treating patients with a broad spectrum of head and neck malignancies including tumors of the mouth, throat, thyroid, salivary glands, and skin. For these years of service, I was honored to receive Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Willet F. Whitmore Award for Clinical Excellence in 2011.

As Chief of the Head and Neck Oncology Service and Co-Leader of our multidisciplinary disease management team, I work closely with an esteemed and highly coordinated group of medical oncologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists, nurses, and other healthcare professionals to provide our patients with the very best care possible.

Collaborative, multidisciplinary care is especially important for cancers of the head and neck because, generally speaking, treatment not only involves a potentially deadly disease but also issues related to physical appearance, function, and quality of life. An approach that I pioneered with Memorial Sloan Kettering colleagues — known as combined modality organ preservation therapy — uses a combination of chemotherapy and radiation to avoid certain surgical procedures feared by patients such as removal of the voice box, with the intent of  preserving function and cosmetic appearance without compromising survival.

Appointments for New Patients
Clinical Expertise

Head and Neck Cancers (Larynx/Upper Aerodigestive, Thyroid, Salivary Gland, Skin); Lung Cancer; Genitourinary Malignancies; Larynx/Organ-Preserving Therapies; Immunotherapy; Outcomes Research

Languages Spoken

MD, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine


Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania


Yale University School of Medicine/Yale-New Haven Hospital; Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; The New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center

Board Certifications

Internal Medicine; Medical Oncology

Publications by David G. Pfister
Visit PubMed for full listing of David G. Pfister journal articles
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