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Nita Ahuja, M.D.
Director of Sarcoma and Peritoneal Surface Malignancy Program
Professor of Surgery
Expertise: Colorectal Cancer, Cytoreductive Surgery, Gastric Cancer, Gastroesophageal Cancer, Gastroesophageal Junction Cancer, Gastrointestinal Cancers, Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors (GIST), General Surgery, Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC), Neuroendocrine Tumors, Pancreatic Cancer, Retroperitoneal Sarcomas, Sarcoma, Stomach Cancer, Stomach Tumors, Whipple Procedure ...read more
Research Interests: Early detection of cancers using novel biomarkers; Prognostic molecular markers in early detection and prognosis of cancers; Identification of molecular profiles for recurrence of early-stage colorectal cancers; Epigenetic therapy for metastatic colorectal cancer ...read more
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The Johns Hopkins Hospital
Appointment Phone: 443-997-4278
600 N. Wolfe Street
Sheikh Zayed Tower
Baltimore, MD 21287 map
Dr. Nita Ahuja is the Jacob C. Handelsman professor of urology, surgery and oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Her surgical specialization is in gastrointestinal cancers, including gastric, rectal and pancreatic cancers.
Dr. Ahuja is the Chief of Division of Surgical Oncology. She also serves as the Director of Sarcoma and Peritoneal Surface Malignancy Program and Co Director of the Gastric Cancer Program. She is a member of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and its Cancer Biology Program. She serves as the Associate Director of Surgical Oncology for the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Dr. Ahuja obtained her medical education at the Duke University School of Medicine and her training in general surgery at Johns Hopkins. In addition, she completed a fellowship in surgical oncology at Johns Hopkins focused on hepatobiliary malignancies. Dr. Ahuja joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 2003.
Dr. Ahuja also directs an active cancer research laboratory studying molecular markers important in early diagnosis and prognosis of gastrointestinal cancer. She is a leader in developing epigenetic therapeutics for solid tumors including colorectal cancer and pancreas cancer. Dr. Ahuja has also developed novel blood based biomarkers for early detection of pancreas cancer.
Dr. Ahuja was certified in surgery by the American Board of Surgery in 2003.
- Director of Sarcoma and Peritoneal Surface Malignancy Program
- Vice Chair of Academic Affairs, Department of Surgery
- Chief, Division of Surgical Oncology
- Professor of Surgery
- Professor of Oncology
- Professor of Urology
- MD, Duke University School of Medicine (1993)
- Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine / Surgery (2002)
- American Board of Surgery / Surgery (2003, 2024)
Research & Publications
Dr. Ahuja's research is focused on the role of DNA methylation in tumorigenesis and exploring the translational potential of these methylation changes. Current studies in the laboratory include the development of biomarkers for early detection of cancer and to predict recurrence in breast and colorectal cancers. Her laboratory has shown that DNA methylation changes can be used in stool DNA as a very sensitive and specific marker for early detection of colorectal cancer.
The laboratory is focused on the development of markers for early detection of cancer using serum. In addition, the laboratory has an interest in studying inflammatory bowel disease associated cancers and has a large tissue bank in collaboration with the surgical specialists who treat these conditions. The laboratory is developing epigenetic therapies for gastrointestinal malignancies and has an ongoing phase II trial in the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancers. Dr. Ahuja's laboratory works in close collaborations with Drs. Stephen Baylin and James Herman in the Division of Tumor Biology in the Cancer Center as a multidisciplinary team.
Selected PublicationsView all on Pubmed
Meguid R.A., Slidell M.B., Wolfgang C.L., Chang D.C. and Ahuja N. Is there a Difference in Survival between Right- versus Left-Sided Colon Cancers? Ann Surg Oncol 2008; 15(9)2388-94, Abstracted in Nat Clin Pract Oncol., Dec 2008
Glockner S.C., Dhir M, Yi J.M., McGarvey K.E., Van Neste L, Louwagie J, Chan T.A., Kleeberger W, de Bruine A.P., Smits K.M., Khalid-de Bakker C.A.J., Jonkers D.M.A.E, Stockbrugger R.W., Meijer G.A., Oort F, Iacobuzio-Donahue C, Bierau K, Herman J.G., Baylin S.B., Van Engeland M, Schuebel K.E. and Ahuja N. Methylation of TFPI2 in stool DNA: A potential novel biomarker for detection of colorectal cancer. Cancer Res. 2009 Jun 1;69(11):4691-9.
Abdelfatah E, Guzzetta AA, Nagarajan N, Wolfgang CL, Pawlik TM, Choti MA, Schulick R, Montgomery EA, Meyer C, Thornton K, Herman J, Terezakis S, Frassica D, Ahuja N. Long-term outcomes in treatment of retroperitoneal sarcomas: a 15 year single institution evaluation of prognostic features. J Surg Oncol. 2016;114:56-64
Ahuja N, Easwaran H and Baylin SB. Harnessing the potential of epigenetic therapy to target solid tumors. J Clin Invest. 2014;124:56-63
Yi JM, Guzzetta AA, Bailey VJ, Downing SR, Van Neste L, Chiappinelli KB, Keeley BP, Stark A, Herrera A, Wolfgang C, Pappou EP, Iacobuzio-Donahue CA, Goggins MG, Herman JG, Wang TH, Baylin SB and Ahuja N. Novel Methylation Biomarker Panel for the Early Detection of Pancreatic Cancer. Clin Can Res. 2013;19(23):6544-55.
Activities & Honors
- $50,000 grant, from Abell Foundation for development of blood test for early detection of pancreatic cancer , 2014
Videos & Media
Sarcoma: What You Need to Know | Nita Ahuja, M.D.
Surgical Oncologist, Nita Ahuja, M.D. Discusses Sarcoma
Importance of Sarcoma Surgery Done Right The First Time
Sarcoma Treatment | Nora's Story
Recent News Articles and Media Coverage
Finding and treating cancer at an early stage can save lives. In this recorded webinar, surgical oncologist Nita Ahuja and gastroenterologist Anne Marie Lennon discuss why symptoms such as bleeding, gastrointestinal issues and unexplained weight change may be cause for concern.
Johns Hopkins surgeons Nita Ahuja and Carol Morris discuss the management of sarcomas. There are about 15,000 cases of sarcoma per year in the U.S., affecting both children and adults. Because sarcomas are rare, it's important that patients and their families have access to specialized teams experienced in sarcoma treatment.
Surgical oncologist Dr. Nita Ahuja and division chief of orthopaedic oncology Dr. Carol Morris talk about treatment options and prognosis for soft tissue and bone sarcomas.