Sylvia M. Lee, MD

Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
Assistant Professor, Division of Medical Oncology
University of Washington School of Medicine
Assistant Professor, Clinical Research Division
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Clinical expertise
Lung cancer, thoracic oncology, skin cancer
“It is my privilege to work with you during your triumphs and difficult times.”
— Dr. Lee
Why do you enjoy about practicing oncology?

I was fortunate to be raised in a loving family that valued caring for others, and I wanted a career that would allow me to help people. I became a high school science teacher in the Teach for America program and then returned to medical school. I initially planned to focus on internal medicine, but during my oncology rotation, I decided that I wanted to work with cancer patients. I find oncology patients to the most inspiring and rewarding patients I have ever worked with, as they deeply appreciate their loved ones and the value of life.

What is your approach to treatment?

I will care for you the way I would care for my family, with respect and compassion. My goal is to help you and your loved ones clearly understand your treatment options, providing you with the information and support you need to make informed decisions about your care.

Provider background

Specialties and clinical expertise: Medical Oncology

Lung cancer and melanoma

I am an expert in tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) therapy, a form of immunotherapy that uses your own immune cells to attack your tumor. I currently lead Fred Hutch’s TIL program, one of only four in the U.S. that offers clinical trials to patients. TILs are a type of T cell that attacks cancer, but tumors can turn off this immune response. We can extract the dormant cells from a piece of tumor, reactivate them in the lab, multiply the cells to the billions in the laboratory and reinfuse them into patients to fight cancer.

I believe that enhancing your own immune system’s natural ability to recognize and attack cancer cells is perhaps the most promising new form of treatment, and many clinical trials are available for you to explore.

Head and neck cancers

We plan to expand T-cell therapy to head and neck cancer, allowing your immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells in your body. I am committed to extending the benefits of this new immunotherapy to as many patients as possible.

Diseases treated

Education, experience and certifications
Medical Degree
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
University of Washington, Division of General Internal Medicine
University of Washington, Division of Hematology & Oncology
Board Certification
Medical Oncology, 2011, American Board of Internal Medicine
Internship, University of Washington, Division of General Internal Medicine


Clinical trials

We make promising new treatments available to you through studies called clinical trials led by SCCA doctors. Many of these trials at SCCA 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:
Study of Autologous Tumor Infiltrating Lymphocytes in Patients With Solid Tumors
Complete title
A Phase 2, Multicenter Study of Autologous Tumor Infiltrating Lymphocytes (LN-144/LN-145/LN-145-S1) in Patients with Solid Tumors
Study ID:
Safety and Efficacy of KITE-439 in HLA-A*02:01+ Adults With Relapsed/Refractory HPV16+ Cancers
Complete title
A Phase 1 Study Evaluating the Safety and Efficacy of HPV16 E7 T Cell Receptor Engineered T Cells (KITE-439) in HLA-A*02:01+ Subjects with Relapsed/Refractory HPV16+ Cancers
Study ID:
Study of LN-145 Autologous Tumor Infiltrating Lymphocytes in the Treatment of Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head & Neck
Complete title
A Phase 2, Multicenter Study to Evaluate the Efficacy and Safety of Autologous Tumor Infiltrating Lymphocytes (LN-145/LN-145-S1) for the Treatment of Patients with Recurrent and/or Metastatic Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck


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

Your care team

At SCCA, you receive care from a team of providers with extensive experience in your disease. Your team includes doctors, a team 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.
Sarah Bedtelyon, ARNP
Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner
Advanced Practice Provider
Lung cancer, head and neck cancers, thoracic oncology
Registered nurse (RN)
Your nurse manages your care alongside your physician and assists with care procedures and treatments.
Team coordinator (TC)
Your team coordinator works closely with you and your physician and serves as your scheduler.


SCCA 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.

For providers