I am a medical oncologist with special interest and expertise in treating patients who have upper gastrointestinal cancers, particularly those with esophageal cancer. My research focus is studying new agents to treat advanced disease and evaluating novel agents in combined-modality therapy to treat locally advanced disease.
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In 1992, I joined Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s Gastrointestinal Oncology Service. I am an attending physician and member at Memorial Hospital and a professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. I completed a fellowship in medical oncology and hematology here at Memorial Sloan Kettering after receiving master’s and PhD degrees in basic science and an MD degree from New York University. I completed my internship and residency in internal medicine at Bellevue Hospital at NYU Medical Center. My undergraduate training was at the University of Connecticut.
I am a member of the GI committees of the national clinical research groups Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB) and Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG). I am also a member of the Upper GI Cancer Guidelines Committee of National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) and chairman of the Intergroup Esophageal and Gastric Cancer Task Force Committee.
- Clinical Expertise: Colorectal, Esophageal, Pancreatic, Gastric, and Other Gastrointestinal Cancers; Unknown Primary Tumors
- Awards and Honors: New York Magazine Top Doctors (2007-2009; 2016)
- Languages Spoken: English
- Education: MD, New York University School of Medicine
- Residencies: Internal Medicine - New York University Bellevue Hospital Center
- Fellowships: Medical Oncology/Hematology - Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
- Board Certifications: Internal Medicine; Medical Oncology
Research is integral to our mission at Memorial Sloan Kettering, and clinical trials help us discover better forms of patient care and treatment. For you, this could mean access to a new therapy or therapy combination. Click to see a list of the trials I’m currently leading.
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Clinical Trials Co-Investigated by David H. Ilson
- A Phase I Study of Crenolanib Added to Ramucirumab/Paclitaxel Therapy for Advanced Stomach and Esophageal Cancers
- A Phase II Study of Afatinib (BIBW 2992) in Patients with Advanced HER2-Positive Esophagogastric Cancer Refractory to Trastuzumab
- A Phase II Study of Combination Immunotherapy in Patients with Advanced Stomach Cancer
- A Phase II Study of CRS-207 and Pembrolizumab Immunotherapy for Advanced Esophagogastric Cancers
- A Phase II Study of Pembrolizumab Immunotherapy plus Standard Therapy for Metastatic HER2-Positive Esophagogastric Cancer
- A Phase II Study of Tremelimumab and Durvalumab Given Together in Patients with Metastatic or Recurrent Gastric or Gastroesophageal Junction Cancer
- A Phase III Study of Nivolumab and Ipilimumab Immunotherapy versus Chemotherapy in Patients with Untreated Advanced Gastric or Gastroesophageal Junction Cancer
- A Phase III Study of TAS-102 or Placebo with Best Supportive Care to Treat Persistent Metastatic Stomach Cancer
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