Soonmee Cha, MD

Soonmee Cha, MD

Assistant Professor, Department of Radiology, UCSF

Phone: (415) 353-1537 (appts)
Box 0628, UCSF
San Francisco, CA 94143-0628

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Cancer Center Membership

Associate Member » Neurologic Oncology

Research Summary

Soonmee Cha, MD, is a Professor In Residence of Radiology and Neurological Surgery at the University of California, San Francisco.  Dr. Cha has focused on the importance of validating the usefulness of MRI as a tool for brain tumor diagnosis and monitoring and identifying therapy endpoints. She obtained her medical degree from Georgetown University, School of Medicine, Washington in 1991, and completed her residency in Diagnostic Radiology from North Shore University Hospital, Cornell University Medical College in New York, followed by a fellowship in Neuroradiology from New York University Medical Center in 1998.

Dr. Cha is committed to a career dedicated to patient-oriented research in the field of brain tumor imaging. She believes that non-invasive imaging technology will make important contributions to the health of patients through improving the specificity and precision of diagnosis and treatment monitoring, which will have significant impact on therapeutic decisions.

The main focus of Dr. Cha’s research is to identify reliable surrogate markers of prognosis and therapeutic efficacy by quantitative MR imaging methods in patients with brain tumors. She believes that by using MR imaging techniques such perfusion MR imaging, diffusion-weighted imaging, and 3-dimensional proton magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging, detection of changes in tumor angiogenesis, cellularity, invasion, tumor hypoxia, and metabolic burden can be accurately measured and will provide more specific information about patient’s early response to therapy in the context of tumor growth.

Dr. Cha has been awarded for several NIH grants where she served as Principal Investigator and Co-Principal Investigator. She has published 87 articles, and she has written 77 peer-reviewed articles and 4 book chapters.




Brain tumor imaging

Professional Interests:

Brain tumor, brain cancer, glioblastoma multiforme, gliomas, primary cerebral lymphoma, angiogenesis, hypoxia, invasion, perfusion MR imaging, diffusion-weighted imaging, molecular imaging, biomarkers, microarray, genomics, neural stem cell

Education and Training:

• Medical School: Georgetown University, College of Arts and Sciences, Washington, District of Columbia

• Internship: Georgetown University Fairfax Hospital, Falls Church

• Residency: North Shore University Hospital, Cornell University Medical College, Manhasset, New York - Diagnostic Radiology

• Fellowship: New York University Medical Center, New York - Neuroradiology

• National Board of Medical Examiners

• American Board of Radiology

• New York State Medical License

• Certificate of Added Qualification Neuroradiology

• California State Medical License


Georgetown University, Washington, DC, B.S., 1983-1987, Chemistry
Georgetown University, Washington, DC, M.D., 1987-1991, Medicine
Georgetown University Hospital, Washington, DC, Internship, 1991-1992, Transitional Internship
North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, NY, Residency, 1992-1996, Diagnostic Radiology
New York University Medical Center, New York, NY, Fellowship, 1996-1998, Neuroradiology

Professional Experience

  • 1997-1998
    Clinical Instructor of Neuroradiology, New York University Medical Center, New York, NY
  • 1998-2000
    Assistant Professor of Radiology, New York University School of Medicine
  • 2001-present
    Assistant Professor of Radiology, University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine

Honors & Awards

  • April 2000
    ASNR Outstanding Presentation Award in General Neuroradiology at the 38th Annual Meeting in Atlanta, GA.
  • 1995
    Certificate of Merit Award, Scientific exhibit at RSNA
  • 1994
    Certificate of Merit Award, Scientific exhibit at RSNA

Selected Publications

  1. Mabray MC, Cohen BA, Villanueva-Meyer JE, Valles FE, Barajas RF, Rubenstein JL, Cha S. Performance of Apparent Diffusion Coefficient Values and Conventional MRI Features in Differentiating Tumefactive Demyelinating Lesions From Primary Brain Neoplasms. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2015 Nov; 205(5):1075-85.
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  2. Pastula DM, Burish M, Reis GF, Bollen A, Cha S, Ralph J, Douglas VC. Adult-onset central nervous system hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis: a case report. BMC Neurol. 2015; 15(1):203.
    View on PubMed
  3. Ellingson BM, Bendszus M, Boxerman J, Barboriak D, Erickson BJ, Smits M, Nelson SJ, Gerstner E, Alexander B, Goldmacher G, Wick W, Vogelbaum M, Weller M, Galanis E, Kalpathy-Cramer J, Shankar L, Jacobs P, Pope WB, Yang D, Chung C, Knopp MV, Cha S, van den Bent MJ, Chang S, Al Yung WK, Cloughesy TF, Wen PY, Gilbert MR. Consensus recommendations for a standardized Brain Tumor Imaging Protocol in clinical trials. Neuro Oncol. 2015 Sep; 17(9):1188-98.
    View on PubMed
  4. Villanueva-Meyer JE, Cha S. From Shades of Gray to Microbiologic Imaging: A Historical Review of Brain Abscess Imaging: RSNA Centennial Article. Radiographics. 2015 Sep-Oct; 35(5):1555-62.
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  5. Mabray MC, Barajas RF, Cha S. Modern brain tumor imaging. Brain Tumor Res Treat. 2015 Apr; 3(1):8-23.
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  6. Horton JC, Douglas VC, Cha S. Reduced apparent diffusion coefficient in neuromyelitis optica-associated optic neuropathy. J Neuroophthalmol. 2015 Mar; 35(1):101-2.
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  7. Barajas RF, Pampaloni MH, Clarke JL, Seo Y, Savic D, Hawkins RA, Behr SC, Chang SM, Berger M, Dillon WP, Cha S. Assessing Biological Response to Bevacizumab Using 18F-Fluoromisonidazole PET/MR Imaging in a Patient with Recurrent Anaplastic Astrocytoma. Case Rep Radiol. 2015; 2015:731361.
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  8. Rolston JD, Englot DJ, Benet A, Li J, Cha S, Berger MS. Frontal operculum gliomas: language outcome following resection. J Neurosurg. 2015 Apr; 122(4):725-34.
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  9. Barajas RF, Cha S. Benefits of dynamic susceptibility-weighted contrast-enhanced perfusion MRI for glioma diagnosis and therapy. CNS Oncol. 2014 Nov; 3(6):407-19.
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  10. Ali S, Joseph NM, Perry A, Barajas RF, Cha S. Apparent diffusion coefficient in glioblastoma with PNET-like components, a GBM variant. J Neurooncol. 2014 Sep; 119(2):353-60.
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  11. Sayegh ET, Henderson GA, Burch EA, Reis GF, Cha S, Oh T, Bloch O, Parsa AT. Intrameningioma metastasis of breast carcinoma. Rare Tumors. 2014 May 13; 6(2):5313.
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  12. Johnson BE, Mazor T, Hong C, Barnes M, Aihara K, McLean CY, Fouse SD, Yamamoto S, Ueda H, Tatsuno K, Asthana S, Jalbert LE, Nelson SJ, Bollen AW, Gustafson WC, Charron E, Weiss WA, Smirnov IV, Song JS, Olshen AB, Cha S, Zhao Y, Moore RA, Mungall AJ, Jones SJ, Hirst M, Marra MA, Saito N, Aburatani H, Mukasa A, Berger MS, Chang SM, Taylor BS, Costello JF. Mutational analysis reveals the origin and therapy-driven evolution of recurrent glioma. Science. 2014 Jan 10; 343(6167):189-93.
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  13. Lee HJ, Han S, Kim YS, Nam JH, Kim HJ, Kim JW, Park W, Kim BG, Kim JH, Cha SD, Kim J, Lee KH, Yoon MS, Kim SM, Kim JY, Yoon WS, Lee NW, Choi JH, Park SY, Kim JY. Individualized prediction of overall survival after postoperative radiation therapy in patients with early-stage cervical cancer: a Korean Radiation Oncology Group study (KROG 13-03). Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2013 Nov 15; 87(4):659-64.
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  14. Kadoch C, Li J, Wong VS, Chen L, Cha S, Munster P, Lowell CA, Shuman MA, Rubenstein JL. Complement activation and intraventricular rituximab distribution in recurrent central nervous system lymphoma. Clin Cancer Res. 2014 Feb 15; 20(4):1029-41.
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  15. Cha SM, Shin HD, Kim KC, Song JH. Plating after tibial lengthening: unilateral monoaxial external fixator and locking plate. J Pediatr Orthop B. 2013 Nov; 22(6):571-6.
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  16. Rubenstein JL, Wong VS, Kadoch C, Gao HX, Barajas R, Chen L, Josephson SA, Scott B, Douglas V, Maiti M, Kaplan LD, Treseler PA, Cha S, Hwang JH, Cinque P, Cyster JG, Lowell C. CXCL13 plus interleukin 10 is highly specific for the diagnosis of CNS lymphoma. Blood. 2013 Jun 6; 121(23):4740-8.
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  17. Lupo JM, Essock-Burns E, Molinaro AM, Cha S, Chang SM, Butowski N, Nelson SJ. Using susceptibility-weighted imaging to determine response to combined anti-angiogenic, cytotoxic, and radiation therapy in patients with glioblastoma multiforme. Neuro Oncol. 2013 Apr; 15(4):480-9.
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  18. Li Y, Lupo JM, Parvataneni R, Lamborn KR, Cha S, Chang SM, Nelson SJ. Survival analysis in patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma using pre- and postradiotherapy MR spectroscopic imaging. Neuro Oncol. 2013 May; 15(5):607-17.
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  19. Essock-Burns E, Phillips JJ, Molinaro AM, Lupo JM, Cha S, Chang SM, Nelson SJ. Comparison of DSC-MRI post-processing techniques in predicting microvascular histopathology in patients newly diagnosed with GBM. J Magn Reson Imaging. 2013 Aug; 38(2):388-400.
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  20. Rubenstein JL, Li J, Chen L, Advani R, Drappatz J, Gerstner E, Batchelor T, Krouwer H, Hwang J, Auerback G, Kadoch C, Lowell C, Munster P, Cha S, Shuman MA, Damon LE. Multicenter phase 1 trial of intraventricular immunochemotherapy in recurrent CNS lymphoma. Blood. 2013 Jan 31; 121(5):745-51.
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