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Nita Ahuja, M.D.

Photo of Dr. 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 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 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
Phone: 443-997-4278
Fax: 443-451-8583


Dr. Nita Ahuja is a 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 serves as the Director of Sarcoma and Peritoneal Surface Malignancy Program and the Chief of Mixed Tumor Services. She is a member of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and its Cancer Biology Program.

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.

Dr. Ahuja was certified in surgery by the American Board of Surgery in 2003. more


  • Director of Sarcoma and Peritoneal Surface Malignancy Program
  • Chief, Mixed Tumor Services
  • Vice Chair of Academic Affairs, Department of Surgery
  • Professor of Surgery
  • Professor of Oncology
  • Professor of Urology

Departments / Divisions



  • MD, Duke University School of Medicine (1993)


  • Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine / Surgery (2002)

Board Certifications

  • American Board of Surgery / Surgery (2003, 2024)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

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.

Clinical Trials

Partial Breast Irradiation With Concurrent Chemotherapy for Women With Breast Cancer (PBI 3)

Selected Publications

  1. Downing, S.R.; Datoo, G.; Oyetunji, T.A.; Fullum, T.; Chang, D.C.; Ahuja, N. "Asian race/ethnicity as a risk factor for bile duct injury during cholecystectomy." Arch Surg. 2010 Aug;145(8):785-787.
  2. Hayanga, A.J.; Mukherjee, D.; Chang, D.; Kaiser, H.; Lee, T.; Gearhart, S.; Ahuja, N.; Freischlag, J. "Teaching hospital status and operative mortality in the United States: tipping point in the volume-outcome relationship following colon resections?" Arch Surg. 2010 Apr;145(4):346-350
  3. Poultsides, G.A.; Reddy, S.; Cameron, J.L.; Hruban, R.H.; Pawlik, T.M.; Ahuja, N.; Jain, A.; Edil, B.H.; Iacobuzio-Donahue, C.A.; Schulick, R.D.; Wolfgang, C.L. "Histopathologic basis for the favorable survival after resection of intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm-associated invasive adenocarcinoma of the pancreas." Ann Surg. 2010 Mar;251(3):470-476.
  4. Stojadinovic, A.; Ahuja, N.; Nazarian, S.M.; Segev, D.L.; Jacobs, L.; Wang, Y.; Eberhardt, J.; Zeiger, M.A. "Translational research in surgical disease." Arch Surg. 2010 Feb;145(2):187-196.
  5. van Vlodrop, I.J.; Baldewijns, M.M.; Smits, K.M.; Schouten, L.J.; van Neste, L.; van Criekinge, W.; van Poppel, H.; Lerut, E.; Schuebel, K.E.; Ahuja, N.; Herman, J.G.; de Bruine, A.P.; van Engeland, M. "Prognostic significance of Gremlin1 (GREM1) promoter CpG island hypermethylation in clear cell renal cell carcinoma." Am J Pathol. 2010 Feb;176(2):575-584.

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

10 Cancer Symptoms You Can’t Ignore

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. 

Treatment of Soft Tissue and Bone Sarcomas 

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.

Sarcoma Treatment: Answers from Oncologists Nita Ahuja and Carol Morris

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.


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