Nai-Kong V. Cheung, MD, PhD

Medical Oncologist

Head, Neuroblastoma Program; Enid A. Haupt Chair in Pediatric Oncology

Conditions Treated

Nai-Kong V. Cheung, MD, PhD
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About Me

I am a pediatric oncologist who specializes in immunologic approaches for the diagnosis and treatment of pediatric cancers. My main focus is the treatment of neuroblastoma, a tumor that arises from primitive cells of the sympathetic nervous system and that primarily affects young children.

My colleagues and I have developed multi-modality therapies, which include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, isotretinoin (a vitamin A derivative), and more importantly, targeted therapy with monoclonal antibodies. These treatment strategies have dramatically improved the survival for our patients with metastatic neuroblastoma. Today, more than 50 percent of these patients treated at Memorial Sloan Kettering survive the disease, compared to fewer than 5 percent in the 1980s. In fact, immunotherapy has now become the standard of care for patients with metastatic neuroblastoma. Moreover, localized neuroblastoma is curable today, and many patients with can be treated effectively with surgery alone.

We are also actively involved in early clinical trials of novel therapies, including biologic agents and vaccines, natural killer cells, and combinations of these novel therapies with conventional treatments. We hope that effective strategies for neuroblastoma will provide a paradigm for other metastatic solid tumors affecting children and adolescents.

In the laboratory we are evaluating markers of minimal residual disease, which may predict early metastasis and recurrence; discovering novel tumor targets; and engineering next-generation antibodies to make them more potent and “human-like,” as well as arming these antibodies with either T lymphocytes or powerful radioactive isotopes for the diagnosis and treatment of neuroblastoma. We believe many of these novel antibodies have potential applications for other solid tumors in adolescents and even in adults.

We are screening new drugs that can overcome the resistance that neuroblastoma often develops after prolonged treatment with chemotherapy. We are also trying to unmask the genetic and biochemical makeup of neuroblastoma tumors to determine if the tumor profile at the time of diagnosis, metastasis, or relapse can tell us how aggressive a tumor may be, and what kind of therapy may be most effective. Our major thrust continues to be the translation of novel therapies to help our patients.

The team of experts at Memorial Sloan Kettering treats more patients with neuroblastoma than at any other institution in the world. With evidence-based treatment approaches, our expertise translates to better patient outcomes. Families who come to us benefit from the dedication and compassion of individuals from various disciplines who share the vision and the desire to eradicate this devastating disease.

  • Clinical Expertise: Pediatric Oncology; Neuroblastoma and Developmental Tumors of Childhood; Immunotherapy; Autologous Bone Marrow Transplantation
  • Languages Spoken: English
  • Education: MD, Harvard Medical School; PhD, Harvard Medical School
  • Residencies: Pediatrics - Stanford University
  • Fellowships: Pediatric Hematology/Oncology - Stanford University
  • Board Certifications: Pediatrics; Pediatric Hematology-Oncology

My Research

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See Nai-Kong V. Cheung’s laboratory
research at Memorial Sloan Kettering.

See My Colleagues


Souweidane MM, Kramer K, Pandit-Taskar N, Zhou Z, Haque S, Zanzonico P, Carrasquillo JA, Lyashchenko SK, Thakur SB, Donzelli M, Turner RS, Lewis JS, Cheung NV, Larson SM, Dunkel IJ.  Convection-enhanced delivery for diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma: a single-centre, dose-escalation, phase 1 trial.  Lancet Oncol. 2018 Jun 15. pii: S1470-2045(18)30322-X. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(18)30322-X.

Kushner BH, Cheung IY, Modak S, Basu EM, Roberts SS, Cheung NK.  Humanized 3F8 anti-GD2 monoclonal antibody dosing with granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor in patients with resistant neuroblastoma – A Phase 1 Clinical Trial.  JAMA Oncol. 2018 September 20. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2018.4005

Hoseini SS, Guo HF, Wu ZH, Hatano MN, Cheung NKV.  A potent tetravalent T-cell-engaging bispecific antibody against CD33 in acute myeloid leukemia.  Blood Advances 2(11):1250-1258, 2018

Wu ZH, Guo HF, Xu H, Cheung NKV.  Development of a tetravalent anti-GPA33/anti-CD3 bispecific antibody for colorectal cancers. Mol Cancer Ther. 2018 Aug 6. pii: molcanther.0026.2018. doi: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-18-0026.

Ahmed M, Lopez-Albaitero A, Pankov D, Santich BH, Liu H, Yan S, Xiang J, Wang P, Hasan AH, Selvakumar A, O’Reilly RJ, Liu C, Cheung NKV.  TCR-mimic bispecific antibodies targeting LMP2A show potent activity against EBV malignancies. JCI Insight. 2018 Feb 22;3(4). pii: 97805. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.97805.

Wu ZH, Cheung NKV.  T cell engaging bispecific antibody (T-BsAb): from technology to therapeutics.  Pharmacology & Therapeutics, Pharmacol Ther. 2018 Feb;182:161-175

Cheal SM, Fung EK, Patel M, Xu H, Guo HF, Zanzonico PB, Monette S, Wittrup KD, Cheung NKV, Larson SM.  Curative multi-cycle radioimmunotherapy monitored by quantitative SPECT/CT-based theranostics, using bispecific antibody pretargeting strategy in colorectal cancer.  Journal of Nuclear Medicine 58(11):1735-1742, 2017.

Hoseini SS, Dobrenkov K, Pankov D, Xu XL, and Cheung NK. Bispecific antibody does not induce T-cell death mediated by chimeric antigen receptor against disialoganglioside GD2.  Oncoimmunology. 2017;6(6):e1320625. 

Lopez-Albaitero A, Xu H, Guo HF, Wang LL, Wu Z, Tran H, Chandarlapaty S, Scaltriti M, Janjigian Y, de Stanchina E, and Cheung NK.  Overcoming resistance to HER2-targeted therapy with a novel HER2/CD3 bispecific antibody. OncoImmunology 2017 10;6(3):e1267891. doi: 10.1080/2162402X.2016.1267891. eCollection 2017.

Xu H, Guo HF, Cheung IY, Cheung NK.  Antitumor efficacy of anti-GD2 IgG1 is enhanced by Fc glyco-engineering.  Cancer Immunol Res 4:631-638, 2016.

Zhao Q, Ahmed M, Tassev DV, Hasan A, Kuo TY, Guo HF, O’Reilly RJ and Cheung NK. Affinity maturation of T-cell receptor-like antibodies for Wilms tumor 1 peptide greatly enhances therapeutic potential.  Leukemia;29(11):2238-2247, 2015.

Zhao Q, Ahmed M, Guo HF, Cheung IY, and Cheung NK.  Alteration of Electrostatic Surface Potential Enhances Affinity and Tumor Killing Properties of Anti-ganglioside GD2 Monoclonal Antibody hu3F8. Journal of Biological Chemistry 290:13017-13027, 2015.

Ahmed M, Cheng M, Zhao Q, Yehuda G, Cheal SM, Guo HF, Larson SM, and Cheung NK. Humanized Affinity-Matured Monoclonal Antibody 8H9 Has Potent Anti-Tumor Activity and Binds to FG Loop of B7-H3. Journal of Biological Chemistry 290(50):30018-30029, 2015.

Larson SM, Carrasquillo JA, Cheung NK, Press O. Radioimmunotherapy of human tumours. Nature Reviews Cancer 15:347-360, 2015.

Xu H, Cheng M, Guo HF, Chen Y, Huse M, Cheung NK. Retargeting T cells to GD2 pentasaccharide on human tumors using bispecific humanized antibody. Cancer Immunol Res. 2015 Mar;3(3):266-77.

Cheung NK and Dyer MA. Neuroblastoma: developmental biology, cancer genomics and immunotherapy. Nature Reviews Cancer 13:397-411, 2013.

Visit PubMed for a full listing of Nai-Kong V. Cheung’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. Medicare and New York State Medicaid also provide benefits for care at MSK.

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