David Zhen, MD

Physician
Fred Hutch
Assistant Professor
University of Washington School of Medicine
Assistant Professor, Clinical Research Division
Fred Hutch
Specialty:
Medical Oncology
“It’s the intricate relationship of being on the leading edge of scientific discovery and caring for extraordinary individuals that drives me as an oncologist.”
— Dr. Zhen
When were you first impacted by cancer?

I’ve always had a strong interest in biology and helping others in need. When I was a child, my grandfather was diagnosed with, and eventually passed from, advanced pancreatic cancer. Even at a young age, that experience left lasting memories and ultimately influenced my interest in cancer. In college, I found conducting cancer research intellectually stimulating. It gave me the ability to advance scientific knowledge that could lead to important discoveries for treating cancer patients. But what really solidified my passion for pursuing oncology as a career was the deep and long-term personal relationships I could develop with each patient. I felt then, and still do, that it’s quite unique and what is most rewarding about the field of oncology compared to other fields of medicine.

David_Zhen_Secondary.jpg
What’s your approach to cancer care?

I strive to serve as an advocate for my patients, ensuring you understand your diagnosis and all your available treatment options. My goal is to develop a personalized treatment plan that incorporates and respects your values. I strongly believe in a multidisciplinary approach to your care. I’m also involved in research that primarily focuses on investigating novel therapies for pancreatic cancer and other gastrointestinal cancers through clinical trials. My hope is that we’ll be able to develop better methods for earlier detection of cancer, more effective therapies, and strategies to better predict which treatments are more likely to work for an individual patient. This all leads to improved outcomes and also to avoiding side effects from therapies that are not likely to be as effective.

Gastrointestinal Refers to the stomach and intestines. Also called GI. Side effects A problem that occurs when treatment affects healthy tissues or organs. Some side effects of cancer treatment are nausea, vomiting, fatigue, pain, decreased blood cell counts, hair loss and mouth sores. Treatment plan A detailed plan with information about a patient’s disease, the goal of treatment, the treatment options for the disease and the possible side effects and expected length of treatment. A detailed plan with information about a patient’s disease, the goal of treatment, the treatment options for the disease and the possible side effects and expected length of treatment. A treatment plan may also include information about how much the treatment is likely to cost and about regular follow-up care after treatment ends.

Provider background

Specialty: Medical Oncology

Area of clinical practice

Gastrointestinal cancers

Gastrointestinal cancers

I’m a medical oncologist and a UW assistant professor of medicine. I specialize in treating all types of gastrointestinal cancers, with a clinical interest in cancers of the stomach, esophagus and pancreas. I also conduct clinical trials that evaluate novel therapies, investigate strategies for the early detection of cancer and explore ways to better predict which therapies are likely to be beneficial for individual patients. My research is a collaborative endeavor among SCCA, the University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Gastrointestinal Refers to the stomach and intestines. Also called GI. Medical oncologist A physician who has special training in diagnosing and treating cancer in adults using chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, biological therapy and targeted therapy. A physician who has special training in diagnosing and treating cancer in adults using chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, biological therapy and targeted therapy. A medical oncologist is often the main health care provider for someone who has cancer. A medical oncologist also gives supportive care and may coordinate treatment given by other specialists.

Diseases treated

Education, experience and certifications
Undergraduate Degree
University of Michigan
Medical Degree
Wayne State University School of Medicine
Residency
Mayo Clinic, Internal Medicine
Fellowship
University of Michigan Medicine, Hematology-Oncology
Board Certification
Internal Medicine, 2014; Medical Oncology, 2017, American Board of Internal Medicine
Languages
English

Stories

The science and art of diagnosing and treating neuroendocrine tumors
The science and art of diagnosing and treating neuroendocrine tumors

Neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) pose unique obstacles for oncologists and radiologists. Many people with this rare condition often do not experience symptoms. Others show signs similar to other diseases, making diagnosis difficult. And treatment requires carefully calibrated techniques to achieve the best possible outcomes.

Research

Clinical trials

We make promising new treatments available to you through studies called clinical trials led by Fred Hutch doctors. Many of these trials at Fred Hutch have led to FDA-approved treatments and have improved standards of care globally. Together, you and your doctor can decide if a study is right for you.

Study ID:
NCT05058651
Evaluating the Addition of the Immunotherapy Drug Atezolizumab to Standard Chemotherapy Treatment for Metastatic Small Cell Neuroendocrine Carcinomas That Originate Outside the Lung
Complete title
RANDOMIZED PHASE II/III TRIAL OF FIRST LINE PLATINUM/ETOPOSIDE WITH OR WITHOUT ATEZOLIZUMAB (NSC#783608) IN PATIENTS WITH POORLY DIFFERENTIATED EXTRAPULMONARY SMALL CELL NEUROENDOCRINE CARCINOMAS (NEC)
Study ID:
NCT04949256
Efficacy and Safety of Pembrolizumab (MK-3475) Plus Lenvatinib (E7080/MK-7902) Plus Chemotherapy in Participants With Metastatic Esophageal Carcinoma (MK-7902-014/E7080-G000-320/LEAP-014)
Complete title
A Phase 3, Randomized Study to Evaluate the Efficacy and Safety of Pembrolizumab (MK-3475) + Lenvatinib (E7080/MK-7902) + Chemotherapy Compared with Standard of Care as First-line Intervention in Participants with Metastatic Esophageal Carcinoma
Study ID:
NCT04592913
Assessing Durvalumab and FLOT Chemotherapy in Resectable Gastric and Gastroesophageal Junction Cancer
Complete title
A Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled, Phase III Study of Neoadjuvant/Adjuvant Durvalumab and Standard Chemotherapy Followed by Adjuvant Durvalumab in Patients with Resectable Gastric and Gastroesophageal Cancer (GC/GEJC)

Publications

Many of our Fred Hutch doctors conduct ongoing research to improve standards of patient care. Their work is evaluated by other doctors and selected for publication to the United States National Library of Medicine, the largest medical library in the world. See scientific papers this Fred Hutch provider has written.

Press

Our providers are often asked to give their medical expertise for press and news publications. Read articles by or about this Fred Hutch provider.

Your care team

At Fred Hutch, you receive care from a team of providers with extensive experience in your disease. Your team includes doctors, a patient care coordinator, a registered nurse, an advanced practice provider and others, based on your needs. You also have access to experts like nutritionists, social workers, acupuncturists, psychiatrists and more who specialize in supporting people with cancer or blood disorders.
Registered nurse (RN)
Registered nurse (RN)
Your nurse manages your care alongside your doctor and assists with care procedures and treatments.
Patient care coordinator
Patient care coordinator
Your patient care coordinator works closely with you and your doctor and serves as your scheduler.

Insurance

Fred Hutch accepts most national private health insurance plans as well as Medicare. We also accept Medicaid for people from Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. We are working to ensure that everyone, no matter what their financial situation, has access to the care they need.

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