David Paul Kelsen, MD

About Me

I am a board-certified medical oncologist with clinical and research interests in the field of gastrointestinal malignancies. My clinical practice includes care of patients with gastrointestinal cancers, neuroendocrine tumors, and cancers of unknown primary site. I am an attending physician on the Gastrointestinal Oncology Service, which I was privileged to lead as Chief from 1991 to 2011. I also serve on Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Research Council, which oversees our clinical research portfolio, among other committees.

My research is focused on upper gastrointestinal cancers, particularly pancreatic and gastroesophageal cancers. Our group’s clinical and translational studies are designed to develop a better understanding of the driving factors in the development of these malignancies, particularly on the genomic level. Our research suggests that gastroesophageal and pancreas cancers are not one disease and that by characterizing the different subtypes, we will be able to develop better prevention, early diagnosis, staging, and treatment strategies. For example, I lead our registry to study inherited BRCA mutation-related pancreas cancer. Our translational research includes projects aimed at the identification of new biomarkers, based on molecular profiling of the different subtypes, which could help in choosing the specific treatment for individual patients. I have been the Principal Investigator of national phase II and III clinical trials. My research has been supported by grants from the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, and the Lustgarten Foundation.

Nationally, I have served as a member of the Oncology Drug Advisory Committee of the US Food and Drug Administration, the GI Committee of the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group, and the Investigational Drugs Steering Committee of the Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program of the National Cancer Institute. I am currently the co-chair of the Clinical Trials subcommittee of the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research.

  • Clinical Expertise: Colorectal, Esophageal, Gallbladder, Pancreatic, and Other Gastrointestinal Cancers; Neuroendocrine Tumors; Unknown Primary Tumors
  • Languages Spoken: English
  • Education: MD, Hahnemann Medical College
  • Residencies: Medicine - Temple University Hospital
  • Fellowships: Medical Oncology - Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  • Board Certifications: Internal Medicine; Medical Oncology


Visit PubMed for a full listing of David Paul Kelsen’s journal articles

Pubmed is an online index of biomedical articles maintained by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.

Clinical Trials

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.


Most major health insurers offer plans that include MSK as one of their in-network providers. If MSK is in-network, it means all our doctors are too. Medicaid and New York State Medicare also provide benefits for care at MSK.

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