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Silvia Chiara Formenti, <span>MD</span>

Silvia Chiara Formenti, MD

Radiation Oncology (Board Certified, Primary Specialty)
Office Phone: (212) 746-3608
One of America's Top Doctors
Rated one of New York Magazine's Best Doctors


Dr. Silvia Formenti is Chairman of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Weill Cornell, Associate Director of the Meyer Cancer Center and Radiation Oncologist in Chief at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. A prolific researcher, she has published over 190 papers recognized by high impact journals like JAMA, Lancet Oncology, Journal of Clinical Oncology, etc. 

During the past twelve years Dr. Formenti has introduced a paradigm shift in radiation biology, by elucidating the role of ionizing radiation on the immune system, and demonstrating efficacy of combining radiotherapy with immunotherapy in solid tumors. She has translated preclinical work to clinical trials in metastatic breast cancer, lung cancer and melanoma. Dr. Formenti has introduced a break-through strategy of recovering an immunological equilibrium in the setting of metastatic disease, by converting a metastasis into an in situ, individualized vaccine: in the presence of immune checkpoint blockade (anti-CTLA-4, anti-PDL-1) the irradiated tumor becomes an immunogenic hub, similar to a vaccine. Once successfully immunized against the irradiated site, the host can develop an anti-tumor immune response capable to reject the other metastases. In some patients with metastatic disease refractory to standard treatment the combination of local radiation and immune check point blockade has already resulted in durable complete remissions, sustained for years after treatment (without any other additional interventions). Her work has opened a new field of application for radiotherapy, whereby localized radiation can be used as an adjuvant to immunotherapy of solid tumors and lymphomas. Dr. Formenti has been funded by grants from NIH, Department Of Defense, American Cancer Society and Breast Cancer Research Foundation. She is currently leading four investigator-initiated clinical trials of immunotherapy and radiotherapy.

Another area of her research consists of drastically reducing the risk late cardiovascular toxicity of breast cancer radiotherapy with a prone technique of radiation that excludes heart and lung from the radiation fields. Recognized by high impact journals like JAMA and NEJM, her research has resulted in a U.S. patent and in a CME course to train in this technique, offered since 2007, with wide international outreach and training.

Area of Expertise

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MD, Universita Degli Studi Di Milano

Internship: University of Southern California

Residency: University of Southern California