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Colette Shen, MD, PhD, is a radiation oncologist at the N.C Basnight Cancer Hospital.

Assistant Professor
UNC-Chapel Hill

Area of Interest

My research interests revolve around improving treatments and long-term outcomes for patient populations I care for—those with central nervous system (CNS), pediatric, and head and neck malignancies. An area I have and continue to focus on is treatment of brain metastases with stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), which is increasingly used in an era of improving systemic therapies that allow patients to live longer with controlled systemic disease, where limiting long-term toxicities of brain irradiation is essential. I have previously shown through review of institutional treatment outcomes that delivery of SRS concurrently with systemic therapy can be safe in many cases and that repeated courses of SRS, delaying or avoiding whole brain radiotherapy, can be an appropriate treatment option. I am currently interested in identifying and evaluating combinations of SRS with brain-penetrant systemic therapies, to provide focal/ablative treatment to known brain metastases along with treatment of potential microscopic disease while minimizing toxicities and side effects of treatment.

Another area of interest is use of novel radiopharmaceutical techniques to guide and enhance cancer treatments. I have previously conducted research evaluating a small molecule radiopharmaceutical targeting prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) for treatment of metastatic prostate cancer in mice. I am interested in evaluating this and other radiopharmaceutical agents both in the diagnostic and therapeutic settings.

Finally, I am very interested in evaluating long-term toxicities following radiotherapy, in particular to the brain. In conjunction with collaborators from radiology, physics, neurology, and neuropsychology, I hope to evaluate and correlate imaging-based and neurocognitive changes following focal radiotherapy to the brain, in both adult and pediatric patients. Our hope with this work is both to better predict and potentially reduce long-term neurocognitive toxicities from brain radiotherapy.

Find publications on PubMed

Awards and Honors

  • Frank L. Coulson, Jr. Award for Clinical Excellence, Johns Hopkins Hospital, 2017
  • Dr. O.H. Perry Pepper Research Paper Prize, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 2012
  • Whitaker International Fellows and Scholars Program Scholarship, 2010
  • NIH Ruth Kirschstein NRSA Predoctoral MD/PhD Fellowship, 2009
  • Paul and Daisy Soros Foundation Graduate Fellowship, 2006

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Headshot of Colette Shen.