I am a pediatric surgeon who is committed to the treatment of children and adolescents with cancer, and I am rewarded every day by my experiences with my patients and their families. I take care of children with Wilms’ tumors, neuroblastoma, liver tumors, desmoplastic small round cell tumors, sarcomas, melanomas and thyroid tumors.
As Chief of the Pediatric Surgical Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering, I am proud to be part of a team that performs more pediatric cancer surgeries than any other institution in the world; more than 500 procedures each year, in patients as young as newborn to young adults. We have special expertise in performing large, complicated surgeries, with exceptional experience in surgery for neuroblastoma and desmoplastic small round cell tumors as well as complex liver surgery and thyroid surgery.
Whenever possible, my colleagues and I apply minimally invasive surgical approaches, such as thoracoscopy and laparoscopy, to the treatment of childhood cancers. These approaches help speed the recovery of our patients and their return to their normal activities.
In my research, I am collaborating with my colleagues to assess a class of drugs called histone deacetylase inhibitors as anticancer agents. These novel drugs work against cancer by turning off an enzyme the cancers need to grow. I have studied the mechanisms by which cancers metastasize (spread), and I am working with other investigators to study the role of angiogenesis — the development of blood vessels tumors need — in this process. Since metastasis is what ultimately causes patients to succumb to cancer, learning how to halt this process will be enormously beneficial.
I also lead clinical trials, such as one assessing radioimmunotherapy for desmoplastic small round cell tumors. My work supports the banking of tumor tissue, particularly for neuroblastoma and sarcoma — the study of which can benefit future patients with cancer. I also teach and mentor surgical fellows and residents.
Nationally, I serve as Chairperson of the Surgical Committee of the Children’s Oncology Group. I am a member and past chairman of the Pediatric Surgical Association Cancer Committee. I have received the Willet F. Whitmore Award for Clinical Excellence from Memorial Sloan Kettering and am a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh. I hold the Joseph H. Burchenal Chair in Pediatrics, which is named for an esteemed pioneer in the treatment of cancer in children. The National Cancer Institute also gave me an award for my work on the Pediatric Physician Data Query (PDQ) information summaries, which provide up-to-date cancer information for healthcare professionals and parents/patients.
My greatest satisfaction, however, comes from working with children. I enjoy my interactions with them tremendously and find them extremely rewarding. I feel immensely grateful to be able to help someone get better, especially when I can do something that others say they cannot. When your child is with me in the operating room, you can be assured that I will treat him or her as my own.
- Clinical Expertise: Pediatric Surgical Oncology; Wilms' Tumor; Neuroblastoma; Sarcomas; Neuroectodermal Tumors; Rhabdomyosarcoma; Thyroid Cancer; Genitourinary Malignancies; Ovarian and Testicular Tumors; Kidney Cancers in Children; Venous Access; Hepatic Tumors; Congenital Anomalies; General Pediatric Surgery, laparoscopy
- Languages Spoken: English
- Education: MD, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
- Residencies: Massachusetts General Hospital; Children's Hospital Medical Center (Boston); Broadgreen Regional Chest Center (Liverpool, U.K.)
- Fellowships: Massachusetts General Hospital; Children's Hospital Medical Center (Boston)
- Board Certifications: Surgery; Pediatric Surgery
Selected Book Chapters
“Childhood tumors.” La Quaglia MP. In: Greenfield’s Surgery: Scientific Principles and Practice. Mulholland MW, Lillemoe KD, Doherty GM, Maier RV, Upchurch GR Jr, eds. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2006: 1956-1981.
“Neuroblastoma and other adrenal tumors.” La Quaglia MP, Rutigliano DN. Carachi R, Grosfeld JL, Azmy AF, eds. In: The Surgery of Childhood Tumors. 2nd ed. Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag; 2008: 201-226.
“Peripheral neuroectodermal tumors.” La Quaglia MP. In: Reoperative Pediatric Surgery. Teich S, Caniano DA, eds. Totowa, NJ: Humana Press; 2008:427-434.
“Surgical management of pediatric tumors.” La Quaglia MP. In: Cancer in Children and Adolescents. Carroll W, Finlay J, eds. Boston: Jones and Bartlett Publishers; 2009: 113-122.
“Hepatic tumors in childhood.” Sri Paran T, La Quaglia MP. In: Pediatric Surgery: Diagnosis and Management. Puri P, Hollwarth M, eds. Berlin: Springer-Verlag; 2009: 727-736.
“Wilms’ tumor.” Wolden SL, La Quaglia MP. In: Leibel and Phillips Textbook of Radiation Oncology. 3rd ed. Hoppe RT, Phillips TL, Roach M, eds. Philadelphia: Saunders; 2010: 1203-1214.
“Childhood tumors.” Rich BS, La Quaglia MP. In: Greenfield’s Surgery: Scientific Principles and Practice. 5th ed. Mulholland MW, Lillemoe KD, Doherty GM, Maier RV, Simeone DM, Upchurch GR Jr, eds. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2010: 1956-1982.
“Hepatic tumors.” Prasad J, La Quaglia MP. In: Newborn Surgery. 3rd ed. Prem Puri, ed. New York: Oxford UP; 2011: In press.
“Neuroblastoma.” Rich BS, La Quaglia MP. In: Pediatric Surgery. 7th ed. Coran AG, Adzick NS, Krummel TM, Laberge JM, Shamberger RC, Caldamone AA, eds. Philadelphia: Saunders; 2012: 441-458.
“Hepatic tumors in childhood.” Rich BS, La Quaglia MP. In: Blumgart’s Surgery of the Liver, Biliary Tract, and Pancreas. 5th ed. Blumgart LH, Jarnagin WR, Belghiti J, et al., eds. Philadelphia: Saunders; 2012: 1328-1343.
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.
Clinical Trials Co-Investigated by Michael P. La Quaglia
- A Phase I Study of Intraperitoneal Radioimmunotherapy with 131I-8H9 for Patients with Desmoplastic Small Round Cell Tumors and Other Solid Peritoneal Tumors
- A Pilot Trial of Irinotecan, Temozolomide, and Bevacizumab plus High-Dose Chemotherapy for Newly Diagnosed Patients with Desmoplastic Small Round Cell Tumor