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Pediatric Oncology


The pediatric oncology program at UCSF is renowned for delivery of comprehensive multidisciplinary care to children and adolescents with cancer. Pediatric oncologists incorporate the expertise of multiple specialists such as pediatric surgeons, pediatric radiation therapists, pediatric rehabilitation, pediatric radiologists, child play therapists, school liaisons, and nurse practitioners. This multidisciplinary team is dedicated to providing comprehensive physical and psychosocial care to families learning about and living with the illness.

The pediatric oncology faculty members are highly trained in translational and laboratory research as well as state-of-the-art clinical care and are internationally renowned for helping to promote advances in the understanding and treatment of childhood cancer.

Special Expertise

· Bone Marrow Transplantation

· Bone Tumors

· Brain Tumors

· Late Effects

· Leukemia

· Neuroblastoma

· Resistant Cancers and New Agents

· Retinoblastoma

· Soft Tissue Sarcoma

General Information

Pediatric Line



San Francisco, California

Physical Plant

UCSF Medical Center is a state-of-the-art health care facility with a 20-bed unit dedicated to inpatient cancer care and an additional six-bed unit for accommodating compromised host for children undergoing bone marrow and stem cell transplantation. Specialized nurses trained in the care of pediatric cancer patients staff the units. Outpatients are treated in an adjacent ambulatory care center that is associated with a pediatric day treatment center for administration of outpatient chemotherapy and transfusions.

Travel Assistance

UCSF will help to coordinate travel.


Social workers assist in lodging arrangements for families. Two separate Family House facilities specifically for the families of children undergoing cancer treatment are located near the hospital.

Social Support

A social worker is available to every family of pediatric cancer patients. In addition, there is an educator specialist who liaisons with the patient's school. There is also an inpatient school facility, an active Child Life program, and a summer camp for Bay Area children with cancer.

Financial Assistance

Financial assistance is available.

Home Health Care

In-house home health services are available for pediatric oncology patients.

Ages Treated

Infants, children, and young adults up to age 30.

Clinical and Research Information

Director of Oncology Program

Katherine K. Matthay, MD

Operate Multidisciplinary Teams

Each patient has an assigned attending physician, social worker, and nurse practitioner who work with the child and family from diagnosis through long-term follow-up. Surgeons and radiotherapists are an integral part of the care.

Cooperative Group Membership

Children's Oncology Group (COG)-Katherine K. Matthay, PI and member Neuroblastoma Strategy Group, Executive Committee and Scientific Council;

New Approaches to Neuroblastoma Therapy-Katherine K. Matthay, PI

Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium-Michael Prados, PI

Therapeutic Advances in Childhood Leukemia-Steve Dubois, PI

Average Number of Pediatric Clinical Trials


Pediatric Clinical Trial Coordinator

Sharon Lee - 415.514.3658

Special Expertise

Bone Marrow Transplantation

UCSF has a very active pediatric bone marrow transplantation program, with expertise in transplants for immuno-deficiency disorders as well as neuroblastoma and other solid tumors. The program provides transplants using a variety of stem cell sources including:

· Autologous

· Purged autologous with tumor cell removal

· Unpurged peripheral blood stem cells

· Autologous transplants including both bone marrow and peripheral blood stem cells from related and unrelated donors

· Matched unrelated donors

· Partial mismatches with stem cell manipulation

· Cord blood transplants

Bone Tumors

The UCSF pediatric oncology program has an established multidisciplinary program in bone tumors led by international experts in pediatric oncology, radiation oncology, orthopedic oncology, and pathology. There is a strong commitment to optimal individualized tumor management with preservation of maximum function. Particular strengths of the UCSF program include new techniques for limb salvage surgery, as well as its pediatric radiotherapy department, orthotics, and physical therapy. A multidisciplinary pediatric bone clinic is held four times per year.

Brain Tumors

UCSF is renowned for its basic research as well as its multidisciplinary pediatric brain tumor program. The Brain Tumor Research Institute is dedicated to developing new treatments as well as finding the causes of childhood brain tumors. In addition, world-renowned neurosurgeons and expert radiotherapists support the program. It also includes a gamma-knife facility for the treatment of brain tumors. A dedicated pediatric neuro-oncologist directs the multidisciplinary program for children. A National Cancer Institute Program Project Grant helps to support the multidisciplinary research involved in this program. In addition, UCSF has become part of the NCI Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium for testing new treatments.

Late Effects

The pediatric group at UCSF is part of a national study of 25,000 survivors of childhood cancer and places special emphasis on the assessment of cardiac, pulmonary, and neurocognitive late effects. Our Childhood Cancer Survivor Clinic follows patients at regular intervals after therapy with appropriate patient education and systematic surveillance for possible organ toxicities, secondary malignancy, and quality of life.


Investigators at UCSF are known for the molecular investigation in the causes of myeloblastic leukemia and myelodysplasia, acute lymphoblastic leukemias, and lymphomas. They have also established national studies of these disorders to improve the outcome for children with leukemia. We are leaders in the biology and therapy of all childhood leukemias. We participate in a national consortium (TACL) for testing new therapies.


Investigators at UCSF are internationally renowned for their research in the molecular biology of neuroblastoma as well as for testing novel treatments including tumor-targeted I-131 MIBG therapy, peripheral blood stem cell transplantation, and new chemotherapeutic agents. UCSF has become a center for consultation for this devastating childhood tumor, and leads a national consortium (NANT) for testing new therapies.

Resistant Cancers and New Agents

UCSF has an NIH-funded pediatric clinical research center that is dedicated, in part, to testing new therapies for children with advanced refractory cancer. Novel anti-cancer agents including monoclonal antibodies or immunotoxins specifically directed against cancers, differentiating agents to induce tumor growth arrest, targeted radiotherapy, and other new cancer chemotherapeutic drugs are administered to children with refractory cancer. In addition, important laboratory/clinical efforts directed at elucidating and overcoming mechanisms of drug resistance are an important part of the Pediatric Oncology program.


UCSF is one of the premier centers in the country for treatment of this rare pediatric eye tumor. UCSF offers both basic research programs and a dedicated pediatric ophthalmologic oncologist who coordinates the specialized care of these children through a multidisciplinary retinoblastoma program with participation of geneticists, prosthetist, craniofacial surgery, radiotherapy, endocrinology, pediatric oncology, and a school liaison nurse. The expert multimodality approach taken to these eye tumors can frequently save vision in these children.

Soft Tissue Sarcoma

UCSF has helped to pilot intensive therapies for children with metastatic sarcomas including autologous bone marrow transplantation. In addition, investigators from UCSF are leaders in the development of new national Intergroup Ewing Sarcoma studies.


Percent of children treated in each age range

Age Range





Percent Treated





Pediatric Oncology Program, 2004

No. of Inpatient Beds

No. of Admissions

Average Length of Stay (days)

No. of New Outpatients

Total Outpatient Visits

No. of Bone Marrow Transplants

No. of Oncologists