Biography

Lucien Nedzi, M.D., joined UT Southwestern in 2008 as Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology, Vice Chair for Clinical Affairs, and Medical Director. He holds a master’s degree in applied physics from Stanford University and earned his medical degree at the University of California, San Francisco. In 1989 he received an American Cancer Society research fellowship to study better ways to shape radiation fields for applications in stereotactic radiosurgery. He completed his residency training in radiation oncology at the Joint Center for Radiation Therapy, Harvard Medical School, in Boston.

Prior to joining the UT Southwestern faculty, Dr. Nedzi held faculty appointments at both Tulane University and Louisiana State University in New Orleans. He still enjoys spending time in the Big Easy whenever possible. 

Dr. Nedzi focuses his practice primarily on the treatment brain cancers and brain metastases. Motivated by the need to find better cures, he has been an active clinical investigator throughout his career, leading clinical trials at UT Southwestern as well as nationally. 

Dr. Nedzi has published numerous articles in medical journals, including the American Journal of Medical Science and Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. His contributions include several articles on the subject of stereotactic radiosurgery, and he is the co-author of a leading textbook on stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT, also known as stereotactic ablative radiotherapy or SABR).

He was named a Super Doctor by Texas Monthly in 2018.

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Meet Dr. Nedzi

Technology has dramatically changed treatment methods – and survival odds – for patients with metastatic brain cancer, according to Lucien Nedzi, M.D., Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology and a specialist in treating central nervous system (CNS) cancers.

“My whole career has focused on advancing the practice of stereotactic radiation therapy so we can eliminate whole-brain radiation for a majority of patients with brain metastases.”

“When I first began my practice, most people with metastatic brain cancer were treated with whole-brain radiation,” Dr. Nedzi says. “After years of follow-up with these patients, I have seen the downside of whole-brain treatment, such as chronic fatigue and memory problems.

“Fortunately, we have increasingly better treatment methods, and today we can treat multiple brain lesions very efficiently using the latest Gamma Knife technology. Radiosurgery that was once limited to a handful of sites can now be offered to patients with as many as 10 lesions, thanks to more automated delivery and shaping of the radiation beam.”

The brain is the most common site for cancer to metastasize to from other organs, and metastatic cancer is itself far more common than “true” brain cancer (cancer that originates from within the tissues of the brain). Because patients are living longer with managed treatment of their primary tumors, dealing with brain metastases (known as brain “mets,” for short) can become an important part of ongoing disease management.

Stereotactic radiation, the principal on which Gamma Knife and some other treatments are based, uses multiple beams of radiation to converge from various angles on the target, delivering a deadly dose to the tumor while sparing normal tissue at the various entry points from the full effects of radiation. The stereotactic approach requires advanced imaging and targeting technology in order to accurately deliver the dose deep within the brain to a target that may be only a few centimeters wide.

“The noninvasive Gamma Knife treatment is more than 90 percent effective in the treatment of smaller mets and 70 to 80 percent effective for larger lesions,” Dr. Nedzi notes. “I can be very optimistic with my patients – and they are often very excited and relieved when they learn about our options to whole-brain radiation.”

In addition to his focus on brain mets, Dr. Nedzi also uses stereotactic radiation to treat base-of-skull tumors such as acoustic neuroma and glomus tumors, and he is experienced in using CyberKnife as a boost to increase the efficacy of some treatments.

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Education & Training
  • Residency - Harvard Joint Center for Radiation Therapy (1988-1992), Radiation Oncology
  • Fellowship - Harvard Joint Center for Radiation Therapy (1989-1990), Research
  • Internship - Harvard Medical School/Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (1987-1988), Internal Medicine
  • Medical School - University of California at San Francisco (1983-1987)
Professional Associations & Affiliations
  • Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine, Louisiana State University
  • Assistant Professor, University of Southern California
  • Assistant Professor of Radiology, Tulane University
Honors & Awards
  • ASTRO Resident Essay Award 1991
  • Stop Cancer Young Investigator Award 1993
  • The Best Doctors in America, Fourth Listing 1998
Books & Publications

Clinical Focus

  • Radiation Therapy for Brain Tumors
  • Radiation Therapy for Spinal Cord Cancer
  • Acoustic Neuromas
  • Brain & Spinal Cord Cancer
  • Gliomas
  • Meningiomas
  • Pituitary Tumors
  • Skin Cancer
  • Skull Base Tumors
  • Brain Metastases

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Q&A by Dr. Nedzi

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