I came to the department of surgical oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center in 1991, moving from San Francisco to join one of the country's first multispecialty head and neck cancer teams. Since then, I have dedicated my career to curing as many patients with head and neck cancer as possible, while providing all of them with the best quality of life.
I recognized years ago that many patients with head and neck cancer could be cured and enjoy a high quality of life if they were treated with radiation and sometimes with chemotherapy, instead of surgery. As a result, I have worked closely with other cancer specialists to care for many patients without radical surgery. The Fox Chase team is well-known and highly regarded because we work together to offer each patient the treatments that will help them best.
Head and neck cancer is uncommon, and modern treatment of head and neck cancer can be complex. Our experienced and talented team employs skills developed through years of working collaboratively to cure patients with these rare tumors. Together, we draw common threads to craft a plan for each patient.
The head and neck surgeon must be willing to recommend care best-suited to the patient and his or her cancer. Some patients will fare more favorably with an operation, but many will not. As radiation and chemotherapy treatments improve, major operations have become less necessary in the care of some head and neck cancer patients. However, ongoing advances in surgery have also allowed us to spare some patients the long-term side effects of radiation therapy. Today, the laser and the surgical robot allow us to control many tumors without need for high doses of radiation and chemotherapy. We have developed and refined techniques for the safe removal of many primary and recurrent tumors, and our team uses sophisticated reconstruction to cure cancers of the head and neck while allowing patients to pursue a high quality of life.
Every patient is unique; we provide each with a personal plan based upon his or her health, way of life and specific cancer.
As a researcher, I am honored to have played a role in the development and execution of important clinical trials that have led to improvements in quality of life for many patients with head and neck cancer.
Fellowship, Surgical Oncology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY
Residency, General Surgery, University of Colorado, Denver, CO
MD, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, 1981
PhD, Biochemistry, Stanford University, 1978
American Board of Surgery
American Association of Endocrine Surgeons
American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists
American College of Surgeons
American Head and Neck Society
American Thyroid Association
American Radium Society
American Society of Clinical Oncology
Society of Surgical Oncology
Honors & Awards
Philadelphia Magazine Top Doctors, 2005-20
Best Doctors in America® , 2013-15, 2019-2020, Surgical Oncology
America’s Top Doctors® 2015-17
President, American Radium Society, 2015
President, American Head and Neck Society, 2010
Nonsurgical management of head and neck cancer
New techniques in head and neck surgery
Early and advanced thyroid tumors
Clinical trial design
Most of my research within the last 20 years has been undertaken at a national level, and has involved the design and execution of clinical trials. I am a member of of Fox Chase Cancer Center patient care and scientific strengths to address head and neck cancer, I have formally joined the molecular therapeutics program at Fox Chase, where I provide an important clinical context for research, promote translational goals (with patients and physician colleagues), and link with clinicians in other fields.
Eze N, Lee JW, Yang DH, Zhu F, Neumeister V, Sandoval-Schaefer T, Mehra R, Ridge JA, Forastiere A, Chung CH, Burtness B. PTEN loss is associated with resistance to cetuximab in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Oral oncology, 91:69-78, 2019. PubMed
Fakhry C, Zhang Q, Gillison ML, Nguyen-Tan PF, Rosenthal DI, Weber RS, Lambert L, Trotti AM, 3rd, Barrett WL, Thorstad WL, Yom SS, Wong SJ, Ridge JA, Rao SSD, Spencer S, Fortin A, Raben D, Harris J, Le QT. Validation of NRG oncology/RTOG-0129 risk groups for HPV-positive and HPV-negative oropharyngeal squamous cell cancer: Implications for risk-based therapeutic intensity trials. Cancer, 2019. PubMed
Murphy CT, Galloway TJ, Handorf EA, Egleston BL, Wang LS, Mehra R, Flieder DB, Ridge JA. The survival impact of increasing time to treatment initiation for patient with head and neck cancer in the United States. J Clin Oncol, in press. PubMed
Lango MN, Galloway TJ, Mehra R, Ebersole B, Liu JC, Moran K, Ridge JA. Impact of baseline patient-reported dysphagia on acute gastrostomy placement in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma undergoing definitive radiation. Head Neck. 2015 Aug 31. doi: 10.1002/hed.24220. PubMed PMID: 26332292. PubMed
Beck TN, Kaczmar J, Handorf E, Nikonova A, Dubyk C, Peri S, Lango M, Ridge JA, Serebriiskii IG, Burtness B, Golemis EA, Mehra R. Phospho-T356RB1 predicts survival in HPV-negative squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. Oncotarget. 2015 Aug 7;6(22):18863-74. PubMed PMID: 26265441. PubMed
Ridge JA. Why "head and neck cancer"? Surg Oncol Clin N Am. 2015 Jul;24(3):xv-xvi. doi: 10.1016/j.soc.2015.04.001. PubMed PMID: 25979405. PubMed
Ringash J, Bernstein LJ, Cella D, Logemann J, Movsas B, Murphy B, Trotti A, Wells N, Yueh B, Ridge J. Outcomes toolbox for head and neck cancer research. Head Neck. 2015 Mar;37(3):425-39. doi: 10.1002/hed.23561. Epub 2015 Jan 22. PubMed
Pfister DG, Spencer S, Brizel DM, Burtness B, Busse PM, Caudell JJ, Cmelak AJ, Colevas AD, Dunphy F, Eisele DW, Gilbert J, Gillison ML, Haddad RI, Haughey BH, Hicks WL Jr, Hitchcock YJ, Jimeno A, Kies MS, Lydiatt WM, Maghami E, Martins R, McCaffrey T, Mell LK, Mittal BB, Pinto HA, Ridge JA, Rodriguez CP, Samant S, Schuller DE, Shah JP, Weber RS, Wolf GT, Worden F, Yom SS, McMillian NR, Hughes M. Head and neck cancers, Version 2.2014. Clinical practice guidelines in oncology. J Natl Compr Canc Netw. 2014 Oct;12(10):1454-87. PubMed PMID: 25313184. PubMed
Tejani MA, Galloway TJ, Lango M, Ridge JA, von Mehren M. Head and neck sarcomas: a comprehensive cancer center experience. Cancers (Basel). 2013 Jul 15;5(3):890-900. doi: 10.3390/cancers5030890. PubMed PMID: 24202325; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3795370. PubMed
Mehra R, Zhu F, Yang DH, Cai KQ, Weaver J, Singh MK, Nikonova AS, Golemis EA, Flieder DB, Cooper HS, Lango M, Ridge JA, Burtness B. Quantification of excision repair cross-complementing group 1 and survival in p16-negative squamous cell head and neck cancers. Clin Cancer Res. 2013 Dec 1;19(23):6633-43. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-13-0152. Epub 2013 Oct 2. PubMed PMID: 24088734; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4045641. PubMed
Lango M, Flieder D, Arrangoiz R, Veloski C, Yu JQ, Li T, Burtness B, Mehra R, Galloway T, Ridge JA. Extranodal extension of metastatic papillary thyroid carcinoma: correlation with biochemical endpoints, nodal persistence, and
systemic disease progression. Thyroid. 2013 Sep;23(9):1099-105. doi: 10.1089/thy.2013.0027. PubMed PMID: 23421588; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3770240. PubMed
Garg MK, Ridge JA, Yom SS, McDonald MW, Quon H, Smith RV, Yeung AR, Lawson J, Saba N, Salama JK, Beitler JJ. Reply, contralateral irradiation for T(limited)N2bM0 lateralized tonsil cancer. Head Neck. 2013 Mar;35(3):465-6. doi:
10.1002/hed.23212. Epub 2013 Feb 5. PubMed PMID: 23386559. PubMed
In 2010, Kevin Logan noticed a lump on his neck which turned out to be squamous cell carcinoma on the base of his tongue. Upon the recommendation to seek treatment at Fox Chase Cancer, that's where Kevin and his wife, Devra, went even though it was a three-hour drive from their home in Maryland. Kevin underwent a successful treatment of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, and once he finished treatment, he returned to work full-time. "Many people who knew about my cancer often called to ask where I was treated, and I’m always telling them, 'Fox Chase is the place to go,' and I always will," he said.
I’ve been brushing my teeth twice a day religiously for 80 years—well, maybe 79. I never smoked or chewed tobacco. So, I was surprised when I noticed several of my teeth were loose. I went from my dentist to a periodontist to an oral surgeon, who told me, “Your gums look angry.”
Louis Della Penna made an appointment at Fox Chase Cancer Center in 1994 because he was concerned about a chronic sore throat. It was the best decision he made since he learned shortly after that he had kidney cancer. Louis underwent surgery to remove the cancer from his kidney and surrounding tissue. Today he is cancer free and supports programs at Fox Chase, including two endowments he and his wife funded. "My feelings for Fox Chase are very strong," he said. "If you want to support something wonderful, there is no better place to give, no matter what your contribution. I am cancer free today, and I continue to return to Fox Chase for follow-up visits. It’s an amazing story."