Research Summary

Melisa Wong, MD, MAS, AGSF is a thoracic oncologist who treats patients with lung cancer and other thoracic malignancies. Dr. Wong has a particular interest in caring for older adults with cancer. Her goal is to provide personalized cancer care based on patients’ values and goals.

Dr. Wong’s research focuses on understanding and improving patient-centered outcomes in older adults with cancer. She and her research team study the impact of lung cancer treatment on patients’ functional status and quality of life.

In 2005, Dr. Wong earned her undergraduate degree in Human Biology with Honors and Distinction at Stanford University. She then completed medical school and training in internal medicine and medical oncology at UCSF. Dr. Wong also completed advanced research training as an Aging Research Fellow in the UCSF Division of Geriatrics and earned her Master’s Degree in Clinical Research in the UCSF Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Dr. Wong is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Cancer and Aging Research Group, Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology, International Society of Geriatric Oncology, International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer, and American Geriatrics Society.

Dr. Wong was a National Institute on Aging Butler-Williams Scholar in 2016 and received four Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO Merit Awards (2016 and 2017 ASCO Quality Care Symposium, 2016 and 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting). In 2017, she also received a Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO/Vicky Merryman Women Who Conquer Cancer Young Investigator Award, UCSF Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center Research Education Core Advanced Scholar Award, UCSF CTSI KL2 Career Development Award, and NIA GEMSSTAR R03. Dr. Wong's geriatric oncology research program is currently funded by an NIA Paul B. Beeson Emerging Leaders Career Development Award in Aging (K76).

Research Funding

  • July 1, 2022 - June 30, 2024 - Enhancing the “Lung cancer in older adults: Treatment experience through the patient’s lens” cohort study , . Sponsor: UCSF Department of Medicine Cohort Grant, Sponsor Award ID:
  • July 15, 2019 - February 29, 2024 - Advancing patient-centered decision making in older adults with lung cancer: Incorporating risk of functional decline into treatment discussions , . Sponsor: NIH/NIA, Sponsor Award ID: K76AG064431
  • July 1, 2022 - June 30, 2023 - Feasibility pilot study of the Best Case/Worst Case-Geriatric Oncology communication tool to improve decision making for older adults with advanced cancer , . Sponsor: Mount Zion Health Fund, Sponsor Award ID:
  • July 1, 2022 - June 30, 2023 - Mixed methods evaluation of the Best Case/Worst Case-Geriatric Oncology communication tool , . Sponsor: UCSF Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center Pilot & Exploratory Studies Core Scholar Award, Sponsor Award ID: P30AG044281


Stanford University, BA 06/2005, Human Biology (Honors)
University of California, San Francisco, MD, 06/2011, Medicine
University of California, San Francisco, Resident, 06/2014, Internal Medicine
University of California, San Francisco, Fellow, 06/2017, Medical Oncology
University of California, San Francisco, Fellow,06/2017, Aging Research (NIA T32)
University of California, San Francisco, MAS, 06/2017, Clinical Research

Honors & Awards

  • Geriatric Oncology Community of Practice Co-Chair, ASCO, 2022
  • Dr. Arti Hurria Best Paper Award, Journal of Geriatric Oncology, 2022
  • Geriatric Oncology Education Committee, ASCO, 2021
  • Editorial Board Member, Journal of Geriatric Oncology, 2021
  • Cancer and Aging Special Interest Group Chair, American Geriatrics Society, 2018-2020
  • Early Career Faculty Workgroup, Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center, 2018-2020
  • Junior Investigator Board, Cancer and Aging Research Group, 2018
  • Loan Repayment Program Award, NIH/NCI, 2017-2020
  • Vicky Merryman Women Who Conquer Cancer Young Investigator Award, Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO, 2017-2018
  • Merit Award - Annual Meeting, Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO, 2017
  • Merit Award - Quality Care Symposium, Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO, 2017
  • SIOG Young Investigator Award, International Society of Geriatric Oncology (SIOG), 2017
  • Merit Award - Annual Meeting, Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO, 2016
  • Merit Award - Quality Care Symposium, Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO, 2016
  • Butler-Williams Scholars Program, National Institute on Aging, 2016
  • Hematology/Oncology Chief Fellow, UCSF, 2016
  • Hematology/Oncology Division Clinical Fellow Award, UCSF Department of Medicine, 2016
  • Award for Excellence in Fellowship Research, UCSF Hematology/Oncology Research Retreat, 2016
  • Cancer and Aging Research U13 Conference Young Investigator Travel Award, Cancer and Aging Research Group, 2015
  • Hematology/Oncology Quality Chief Fellow, UCSF, 2015
  • Department of Medicine Professionalism Award, UCSF, 2014
  • SOM Dean's Quarterly Research Fellowship, UCSF, 2011
  • Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, UCSF, 2010
  • Bernard Osher Scholarship, UCSF, 2008-2011
  • SOM Dean's Summer Research Fellowship, UCSF, 2008
  • Joshua Lederberg Award for Academic Excellence in Human Biology, Stanford University, 2005
  • Chappell Lougee Scholarship, Stanford University, 2003

Selected Publications

  1. Withrow DR, Nicholson BD, Morris EJA, Wong ML, Pilleron S. Age-related differences in cancer relative survival in the United States: A SEER-18 analysis. Int J Cancer. 2023 06 01; 152(11):2283-2291.  View on PubMed
  2. Ji J, Aredo J, Piper-Vallilo A, Huppert L, Rotow J, Husain H, Stewart S, Cobb R, Wakelee H, Blakely C, Wong M, Gubens, M, Madani M, Digumarthy S, McCoach C, Piotrowska Z, Neal J, Riess J. Osimertinib in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) with Atypical EGFR Activating Mutations: A Retrospective Multicenter Study. JTO Clin Res Rep. 2023; (In press).  View on PubMed
  3. Magnuson A, Van der Walde N, McKoy JM, Wildes TM, Wong ML, Le-Rademacher J, Little RF, Klepin HD. Integrating Geriatric Assessment Measures into National Cancer Institute Clinical Trials. J Natl Cancer Inst Monogr. 2022 12 15; 2022(60):142-150.  View on PubMed
  4. Shin J, Kober KM, Wong ML, Yates P, Cooper BA, Paul SM, Hammer M, Conley Y, Levine JD, Miaskowski C. Distinct Shortness of Breath Profiles in Oncology Outpatients Undergoing Chemotherapy. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2023 03; 65(3):242-255.  View on PubMed
  5. Shin J, Kober K, Wong ML, Yates P, Miaskowski C. Systematic review of the literature on the occurrence and characteristics of dyspnea in oncology patients. Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2022 Nov 12; 181:103870.  View on PubMed
  6. Watson E, Sanapala C, Cortes AM, Klepin HD, Wittink M, Norton S, Richardson DR, Dale W, Magnuson A, Mendler JH, Liesveld J, Huselton E, O'Dwyer K, LeBlanc TW, El-Jawahri A, Wong ML, Loh KP. Adapting a patient-centered communication tool for older patients with acute myeloid leukemia and their oncologist. Blood Adv. 2022 11 08; 6(21):5707-5710.  View on PubMed
  7. Tsang M, Gan S, Boscardin WJ, Wong ML, Walter LC, Smith AK. The epidemiology of preexisting geriatric and palliative conditions in older adults with poor prognosis cancers. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2022 Oct 19.  View on PubMed
  8. Singhal S, Walter LC, Smith AK, Loh KP, Cohen HJ, Zeng S, Shi Y, Boscardin WJ, Presley CJ, Williams GR, Magnuson A, Mohile SG, Wong ML. Change in four measures of physical function among older adults during lung cancer treatment: A mixed methods cohort study. J Geriatr Oncol. 2023 Mar; 14(2):101366.  View on PubMed
  9. Presley CJ, Mohamed MR, Culakova E, Flannery M, Vibhakar PH, Hoyd R, Amini A, VanderWalde N, Wong ML, Tsubata Y, Spakowicz DJ, Mohile SG. A Geriatric Assessment Intervention to Reduce Treatment Toxicity Among Older Adults With Advanced Lung Cancer: A Subgroup Analysis From a Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial. Front Oncol. 2022; 12:835582.  View on PubMed
  10. Wong ML, Nicosia FM, Smith AK, Walter LC, Lam V, Cohen HJ, Loh KP, Mohile SG, Ursem CJ, Schwarze ML. "You have to be sure that the patient has the full picture": Adaptation of the Best Case/Worst Case communication tool for geriatric oncology. J Geriatr Oncol. 2022 06; 13(5):606-613.  View on PubMed
  11. Wong ML, Shi Y, Smith AK, Miaskowski C, Boscardin WJ, Cohen HJ, Lam V, Mazor M, Metzger L, Presley CJ, Williams GR, Loh KP, Ursem CJ, Friedlander TW, Blakely CM, Gubens MA, Allen G, Shumay D, Walter LC. Changes in older adults' life space during lung cancer treatment: A mixed methods cohort study. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2022 01; 70(1):136-149.  View on PubMed
  12. Presley CJ, Gomes F, Burd CE, Kanesvaran R, Wong ML. Immunotherapy in Older Adults With Cancer. J Clin Oncol. 2021 07 01; 39(19):2115-2127.  View on PubMed
  13. Presley CJ, Arrato NA, Janse S, Shields PG, Carbone DP, Wong ML, Han L, Gill TM, Allore HG, Andersen BL. Functional Disability Among Older Versus Younger Adults With Advanced Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer. JCO Oncol Pract. 2021 06; 17(6):e848-e858.  View on PubMed
  14. Loh KP, Lam V, Webber K, Padam S, Sedrak MS, Musinipally V, Grogan M, Presley CJ, Grandi J, Sanapala C, Castillo DA, DiGiovanni G, Mohile SG, Walter LC, Wong ML. Characteristics Associated With Functional Changes During Systemic Cancer Treatments: A Systematic Review Focused on Older Adults. J Natl Compr Canc Netw. 2021 04 15; 19(9):1055-1062.  View on PubMed
  15. Wong ML, Gao J, Thanarajasingam G, Sloan JA, Dueck AC, Novotny PJ, Jatoi A, Hurria A, Walter LC, Miaskowski C, Cohen HJ, Wood WA, Feliciano JL, Stinchcombe TE, Wang X. Expanding Beyond Maximum Grade: Chemotherapy Toxicity over Time by Age and Performance Status in Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer in CALGB 9730 (Alliance A151729). Oncologist. 2021 03; 26(3):e435-e444.  View on PubMed
  16. Maggiore RJ, Zahrieh D, McMurray RP, Feliciano JL, Samson P, Mohindra P, Chen H, Wong ML, Lafky JM, Jatoi A, Le-Rademacher JG. Toxicity and survival outcomes in older adults receiving concurrent or sequential chemoradiation for stage III non-small cell lung cancer in Alliance trials (Alliance A151812). J Geriatr Oncol. 2021 05; 12(4):563-571.  View on PubMed
  17. Wu SY, Lazar AA, Gubens MA, Blakely CM, Gottschalk AR, Jablons DM, Jahan TM, Wang VEH, Dunbar TL, Wong ML, Chan JW, Guthrie W, Belkora J, Yom SS. Evaluation of a National Comprehensive Cancer Network Guidelines-Based Decision Support Tool in Patients With Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: A Nonrandomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Netw Open. 2020 09 01; 3(9):e209750.  View on PubMed
  18. Utne I, Cooper BA, Ritchie C, Wong M, Dunn LB, Loyland B, Grov EK, Hammer MJ, Paul SM, Levine JD, Conley YP, Kober KM, Miaskowski C. Co-occurrence of decrements in physical and cognitive function is common in older oncology patients receiving chemotherapy. Eur J Oncol Nurs. 2020 Oct; 48:101823.  View on PubMed
  19. Hwang JP, Feld JJ, Hammond SP, Wang SH, Alston-Johnson DE, Cryer DR, Hershman DL, Loehrer AP, Sabichi AL, Symington BE, Terrault N, Wong ML, Somerfield MR, Artz AS. Hepatitis B Virus Screening and Management for Patients With Cancer Prior to Therapy: ASCO Provisional Clinical Opinion Update. J Clin Oncol. 2020 11 01; 38(31):3698-3715.  View on PubMed
  20. Gomes F, Wong M, Battisti NML, Kordbacheh T, Kiderlen M, Greystoke A, Luciani A. Immunotherapy in older patients with non-small cell lung cancer: Young International Society of Geriatric Oncology position paper. Br J Cancer. 2020 09; 123(6):874-884.  View on PubMed

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