Parent Page: Academic Departments id: 22889 Active Page: Surgical Oncologyid:22920

​Division of Surgical Oncology

Dedicated to clinical excellence and comprehensive cancer care

Surgical oncologists play an integral role in cancer care. They undergo additional training in cancer treatment beyond their general surgery training, allowing them to develop and refine expertise in specialized cancer surgery techniques. This includes knowledge of how to use chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy, and other novel treatments in conjunction with surgery to ensure the best chance of cure. The University of Oklahoma College of Medicine Surgical Oncology Division provides clinical services at OU Health while educating the surgical oncologists of tomorrow and taking part in advancing the field of medicine through clinical and basic science research.

As the clinical arm of OU Health, our surgeons have worked and trained at some of the leading cancer programs in the country. Our surgical oncologists treat patients at OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center, a leading NCI-Designated Cancer Center, and the only such center in Oklahoma. NCI designation means that our cancer center is in the top 2% of cancer centers in the United States, having earned recognition through rigorous standards and demonstrated significant contributions to reducing cancer burden. Read more about Stephenson Cancer Center at

While surgery can be a vital part of cancer treatment, other therapies such as chemotherapy or radiation may actually improve outcomes. In some cases, we can even achieve comparable outcomes through non-surgical methods such as endoscopic therapy, targeted radiation, or catheter-based treatments given through the skin. When surgery is necessary, we have the ability to offer less invasive methods such as laparoscopic or robotic surgery, when appropriate, and operate in the state’s newest state-of-the-art patient tower at OU Health University of Oklahoma Medical Center. Read more about the leading-edge care at OU Health.

In addition to world-class cancer treatment, we offer integrative medicine, nutritional services, and psychosocial support to help manage stress and ensure emotional well-being.

We focus on treating specific diseases so we can ensure high surgical volumes with the greatest quality. The types of cancer we treat include:

  • Breast
  • Colon, Rectal, and Anal
  • Hepatobiliary and Pancreas (pancreas, liver, gallbladder, bile ducts)
  • Gastrointestinal (stomach, small bowel, gastrointestinal stromal – GIST)
  • Cutaneous and Soft Tissue (melanoma, squamous cell, sarcoma)

We treat many benign conditions of the breast, colon, liver, pancreas, and other organ systems.

Committed to Teaching the Leaders of the Future

Our Division is committed to medical student and resident education.

  • Faculty in our Division have won over 16 teaching awards from medical students and residents.
  • We are actively involved in developing the medical student and resident education curriculum.
  • Members of the Division have formal administrative roles in the surgical education program, including serving as the Associate Program Director for the surgical residency program and overseeing the medical student clerkship.
  • We mentor students and residents who wish to perform clinical and basic science research with us.
  • Our faculty have been awarded grant funding from the Oklahoma Academy of Teaching Scholars, specifically to support our educational mission (Booth).

Performing Novel Research While Advancing Treatment

In addition to providing top notch cancer care, our surgeons are active members and leaders in various national surgical and cancer societies. They are also involved in clinical and basic science research to improve outcomes and develop novel treatments for cancer. Indeed, the Stephenson Cancer Center has one of the busiest phase I cancer research programs in the country, designed to take novel cancer treatments from the laboratory into clinical use.

Topics of interest and research in the Division of Surgical Oncology include:

  • Investigation of novel molecular and ultrasound based imaging techniques currently in very early stage development here at Stephenson Cancer Center that may help better visualize and breast cancer to allow co surgical excision and better treatment outcomes.
  • Investigation of novel lymphatic mapping techniques
  • Participation in large, multicenter clinical trials with other cancer centers to improve outcomes in breast cancer patients. These include the Alliance 011202 trial studying whether radiation alone is as effective as surgery and radiation in treating patients with breast cancer in that has spread to the lymph nodes, and the XOFT intraoperative radiation therapy trial investigating whether a single dose of radiation given during surgery can reduce breast cancer recurrent. Our breast cancer program was the leading center for patient enrollment into the XOFT trial in the entire country.
  •  Participation in multicenter clinical trials with other hospitals in the United States to improve surgical outcomes in patients undergoing colon surgery for Crohn’s disease


Active research grants awarded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that our surgeons are the primary or co investigators include:

  1. 1R01EB020125 (PI: McNally LR)                             9/15/2016-6/30/2021           

 National Institutes of Health (NCI)           

Detection and treatment of pancreatic adenocarcinoma with theranostic nanoparticles

 The major goal is to develop and test a theranostic nanoparticle consisting of an ultra acidic pH responsive micelle nanoparticle (UPRT) drug carriers with a tunable and sharp pH response ΔpH < 0.3 containing both a NIR contrast agent and taxol.    

Lacey McNally PhD


  1. 1R01CA212350                                                          6/1/2017-5/31/2022                          

National Institutes of Health (NCI)                                                                                        

Stroma targeted theranostic nanoparticles for pancreatic cancer

The major goal of this project is to develop a gelatin-composite coated, colloidal (wormlike) mesoporous silica nanoparticle targeted to the stroma of pancreatic tumors and evaluate its efficacy to facilitate tumor specific delivery of a radiosensitizer, decitabine, in combination with stereotactic body radiation to result in tumor cell death.

 Lacey McNally PhD


  1.  1R01CA205941                                             9/1/2016-2/28/2022             

National Institute of Health (NCI)                                                                                          

Non-invasive detection of tumor extracellular pH using multispectral optoacoustic tomography

 Lacey McNally PhD


  1. P20 GM103639                               03/01/19-12/31/21

Mentoring Translational Cancer Research in Oklahoma”

Role of MRTFs in Cancer Associated Fibroblasts in Metastatic Colorectal Cancer

The goal of this study is to analyze how MRTFs promote the formation and function of cancer-associated fibroblasts during metastatic colorectal cancer and whether MRTFs are required for metastasis.
William Berry PhD


  1. OCAST HR-131                                                            10/01/20-09/30/23

Mechanisms Driving the Formation of Post-operative Peritoneal Adhesions

The goal of this project was to determine the role of MRTF-A and MRTF-B in PDGFRα/β+ cells during the formation of peritoneal adhesions in adults.

William Berry PhD 

The major goal of this proposal is to develop a method for the identification of metastasis within the lymph node using a small molecule dye, pHO dye, detected via multispectral optoacoustic tomography.  This proposal will develop a ratiometric adaptive match filter for image analysis.


  1. AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY                                      1/1/2016–12/31/2020  

"G-CSF and tumor associated neutrophils in colorectal cancer" 

Katherine Morris, MD