Research Summary

Melisa Wong, MD, MAS 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 (ASCO), 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 (NIA) 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 is currently a NIA Beeson Scholar (K76) studying patient-centered decision making for older adults with lung cancer.

Research Funding

  • 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, 2019 - June 30, 2020 - Adaptation of the Best Case/Worst Case communication tool to geriatric oncology: Improving patient-centered decision making for older adults with lung cancer , . Sponsor: Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center-Mount Zion Health Fund Pilot for Junior Investigators in Basic and Clinical/Translational Sciences, Sponsor Award ID:
  • July 1, 2017 - May 31, 2020 - Expanding the Definition of Treatment Toxicity in Older Adults with Lung Cancer , Principal Investigator . Sponsor: NIH/NIA, Sponsor Award ID: R03AG056439
  • July 1, 2017 - May 31, 2020 - UCSF CTSI KL2 Career Development Award , KL2 Scholar . Sponsor: NIH/NCATS, Sponsor Award ID: KL2TR001870


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

  • 2003
    Chappell-Lougee Scholarship, Stanford University
  • 2005
    Joshua Lederberg Award for Academic Excellence in Human Biology, Stanford University
  • 2006
    Genentech Recognition Award, Medicinal Chemistry
  • 2007
    School of Medicine Dean’s Scholarship, University of California San Francisco (UCSF)
  • 2007
    Ethel O. Gardner Philanthropic Educational Organization Scholarship
  • 2008
    School of Medicine Dean’s Summer Research Fellowship, UCSF
  • 2008-2011
    Bernard Osher Scholarship, UCSF
  • 2010
    Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society Member, UCSF
  • 2011
    School of Medicine Dean’s Quarterly Research Fellowship, UCSF
  • 2014
    Department of Medicine Professionalism Award, UCSF
  • 2014
    Resident Research Travel Award, UCSF
  • 2015
    Cancer and Aging Research Group U13 Conference Young Investigator Award
  • 2015
    Hematology/Oncology Quality Chief Fellow, UCSF
  • 2016
    Hematology/Oncology Chief Fellow, UCSF
  • 2016
    Hematology/Oncology Award for Excellence in Fellowship Research, UCSF
  • 2016
    Conquer Cancer Foundation of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Merit Award,
  • ASCO Quality Care Symposium
  • 2016
    Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO Merit Award, ASCO Annual Meeting
  • 2016
    National Institute on Aging Butler-Williams Scholars Program
  • 2016
    Hematology/Oncology Award for Best Fellow Poster, UCSF
  • 2017
    Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO Merit Award, ASCO Quality Care Symposium
  • 2017
    International Society of Geriatric Oncology Young Investigator Award

Selected Publications

  1. Watson E, Sanapala C, Cortes AM, Klepin HD, Wittink M, Norton S, Richardson DR, Dale W, Magnuson A, Mendler JH, Liesveld JL, Huselton EJ, O’Dwyer KM, LeBlanc TW, El-Jawahri A, Wong M, Loh KP. Adapting a patient-centered communication tool for older patients with acute myeloid leukemia and their oncologist. Blood Adv. 2022; (In press).  View on PubMed
  2. Tsang M, Gan S, Boscardin WJ, Wong ML, Walter LC, Smith AK. Epidemiology of Pre-Existing Geriatric and Palliative Conditions in Older Adults with Poor Prognosis Cancers. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2022; (In press).  View on PubMed
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. Loh KP, Xu H, Epstein RM, Mohile SG, Prigerson HG, Plumb S, Ladwig S, Kadambi S, Wong ML, McHugh C, An A, Trevino K, Saeed F, Duberstein PR. Associations of Caregiver-Oncologist Discordance in Prognostic Understanding With Caregiver-Reported Therapeutic Alliance and Anxiety. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2020 07; 60(1):20-27.  View on PubMed
  16. Cao X, Ganti AK, Stinchcombe T, Wong ML, Ho JC, Shen C, Liu Y, Crawford J, Pang H, Wang X. Predicting risk of chemotherapy-induced severe neutropenia: A pooled analysis in individual patients data with advanced lung cancer. Lung Cancer. 2020 03; 141:14-20.  View on PubMed
  17. Wong ML, Lichtman SM, Morrow GR, Simmons J, Hargraves T, Gross CP, Lund JL, Lowenstein LM, Walter LC, McDermott CL, Mohile SG, Cohen HJ. Geriatric oncology health services research: Cancer and Aging Research Group infrastructure core. J Geriatr Oncol. 2020 03; 11(2):350-354.  View on PubMed
  18. Utne I, Løyland B, Grov EK, Paul S, Wong ML, Conley YP, Cooper BA, Levine JD, Miaskowski C. Co-occuring symptoms in older oncology patients with distinct attentional function profiles. Eur J Oncol Nurs. 2019 Aug; 41:196-203.  View on PubMed
  19. Kotwal AA, Presley CJ, Loh KP, Huang LW, Lam V, Wong ML. Geriatric oncology research at the 2019 American Geriatrics Society (AGS) annual meeting: Joint perspectives from the Young International Society of Geriatric Oncology (SIOG) and AGS Cancer and Aging Special Interest Group. J Geriatr Oncol. 2019 11; 10(6):994-997.  View on PubMed
  20. Alliance Cancer in the Older Adult Committee:, Adjei A, Buckner JC, Cathcart-Rake E, Chen H, Cohen HJ, Dao D, De Luca JE, Feliciano J, Freedman RA, Goldberg RM, Hopkins J, Hubbard J, Jatoi A, Karuturi M, Kemeny M, Kimmick GG, Klepin HD, Krok-Schoen JL, Lafky JM, Le-Rademacher JG, Li D, Lichtman SM, Maggiore R, Mandelblatt J, Morrison VA, Muss HB, Ojelabi MO, Sedrak MS, Subbiah N, Sun V, Tuttle S, VanderWalde N, Wildes T, Wong ML, Woyach J. Arti Hurria, M.D.: A tribute to her shining legacy in the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology. J Geriatr Oncol. 2020 03; 11(2):179-183.  View on PubMed

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