Silvia Chiara Formenti, M.D.
Radiation Oncology
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Silvia Chiara Formenti, M.D.

Radiation Oncology

Profile Photo of Silvia Chiara Formenti, M.D.
Accepts New Patients
Gender: Female
Language: English


Personal Statement

I have been fortunate to successfully converge my radiobiology and clinical research interests in the care of many cancer patients. Specifically, in the past decade our group has demonstrated that local radiotherapy can contribute to immune rejection of cancer: in the presence of immune checkpoint blockade (anti-CTLA-4, anti-PDL-1) the irradiated tumor becomes an immunogenic hub, similar to a vaccine. Consistently some patients with metastatic tumors can then reject metastasis that were not irradiated, a mechanism called "abscopal effect". The contribution of localized radiotherapy significantly enhances the success of modern immunotherapy, offering an additional application to radiation, a standard and accessible anti-cancer therapy. With immunotherapy acquiring an important role in the management of most cancer patients, it is very exciting to be able converge radiotherapy as a powerful adjuvant to this approach. Another distinct area of our investigation regards perfecting ways to best irradiate the breast tissue in breast cancer while completely sparing the heart and lungs, eliminating the risk of late cardiovascular and lung toxicity after radiation.

Specialties and Expertise


  • Radiation Oncology


  • Breast Cancer
  • Metastatic Cancer
  • Radiotherapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Patient on Combined Chemotherapy and Radiation


Dr. Silvia Formenti is Chairman of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Weill Cornell, Associate Director of the Meyer Cancer Center and Radiation Oncologist in Chief at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. A prolific researcher, she has published over 190 papers recognized by high impact journals like JAMA, Lancet Oncology, Journal of Clinical Oncology, etc. 

During the past twelve years Dr. Formenti has introduced a paradigm shift in radiation biology, by elucidating the role of ionizing radiation on the immune system, and demonstrating efficacy of combining radiotherapy with immunotherapy in solid tumors. She has translated preclinical work to clinical trials in metastatic breast cancer, lung cancer and melanoma. Dr. Formenti has introduced a break-through strategy of recovering an immunological equilibrium in the setting of metastatic disease, by converting a metastasis into an in situ, individualized vaccine: in the presence of immune checkpoint blockade (anti-CTLA-4, anti-PDL-1) the irradiated tumor becomes an immunogenic hub, similar to a vaccine. Once successfully immunized against the irradiated site, the host can develop an anti-tumor immune response capable to reject the other metastases. In some patients with metastatic disease refractory to standard treatment the combination of local radiation and immune check point blockade has already resulted in durable complete remissions, sustained for years after treatment (without any other additional interventions). Her work has opened a new field of application for radiotherapy, whereby localized radiation can be used as an adjuvant to immunotherapy of solid tumors and lymphomas. Dr. Formenti has been funded by grants from NIH, Department Of Defense, American Cancer Society and Breast Cancer Research Foundation. She is currently leading four investigator-initiated clinical trials of immunotherapy and radiotherapy.

Another area of her research consists of drastically reducing the risk late cardiovascular toxicity of breast cancer radiotherapy with a prone technique of radiation that excludes heart and lung from the radiation fields. Recognized by high impact journals like JAMA and NEJM, her research has resulted in a U.S. patent and in a CME course to train in this technique, offered since 2007, with wide international outreach and training.


Honors and Awards

Honors and Awards

Top Doctors
Silvia Chiara Formenti, M.D. has been named one of America's Top Doctors by Castle Connolly. Across 65 medical specialties, 404 Weill Cornell Medicine physicians have been awarded this designation.

Learn more


Board Certifications

  • American Board of Internal Medicine
  • American Board of Radiology (Diagnostic Radiology)
  • American Board of Radiology (Radiation Oncology)

Clinical and Academic Positions

  • Chair of Radiation Oncology - Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University
  • Radiation Oncologist-in-Chief - NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital
  • Sandra and Edward Meyer Professor of Cancer Research - Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University
  • Professor of Radiation Oncology - Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University
  • Professor of Medicine - Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University

Education and Training

  • M.D., University of Milan Faculty of Medicine and Surgery (Italy), 1980


Insurance Plans Accepted

The following represents most of the managed care plans accepted by this doctor. If your insurance carrier does not appear here please contact the doctor’s office as they may have individual contracts not included on this site.

* indicates this doctor is no longer accepting new patients with this insurance plan.

  • AETNA - Medicare
  • Aetna Weill Cornell Employee Managed Care Plan
  • Aetna Weill Cornell Employee PPO Plan
  • Aetna-NYP - EPO/POS
  • Affinity Access
  • Affinity Health Plan
  • AgeWell New York
  • Amida Care
  • Emblem Select Care
  • Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield - Blue Access
  • Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield - Blue Connection
  • Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield - EPO
  • Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield - HMO
  • Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield - Mediblue (Senior)
  • Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield - PPO
  • Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield HealthPlus
  • Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield HealthPlus - CHP
  • Fidelis Care
  • GHI - CBP
  • Health First
  • Health Insurance Plan of NY (HIP)
  • Health Insurance Plan of NY (HIP) - Medicaid
  • Health Insurance Plan of NY (HIP) - Medicare
  • Medicaid
  • Medicare
  • Oxford Health Plans - Freedom
  • Oxford Health Plans - Liberty
  • Oxford Health Plans - Medicare Advantage
  • Oxford Health Plans - Metro/Core/Charter
  • Rockefeller University - Trustmark
  • United Empire
  • United Healthcare
  • United Healthcare - Community Plan
  • United Healthcare - Medicare
  • United Healthcare Compass
  • VNSNY CHOICE - Medicare
  • WellCare of NY
  • WorldWide Medical

Locations and Appointments

External Relationships

External Relationships

Relationships and collaborations with for-profit and not-for profit organizations are of vital importance to our faculty because these exchanges of scientific information foster innovation. As experts in their fields, WCM physicians and scientists are sought after by many organizations to consult and educate. WCM and its faculty make this information available to the public, thus creating a transparent environment.

Other Interest:
Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Germany); Cancer Research UK