David Zhen, MD

David Zhen, MD
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David Zhen, MD

  • Physician, Fred Hutch
  • Associate Professor, University of Washington School of Medicine
  • Associate Professor, Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutch

Medical Oncology

“It’s the intricate relationship of being on the leading edge of scientific discovery and caring for extraordinary individuals that drives me as an oncologist.”

— Dr. Zhen

When were you first impacted by cancer?

I’ve always had a strong interest in biology and helping others in need. When I was a child, my grandfather was diagnosed with, and eventually passed from, advanced pancreatic cancer. Even at a young age, that experience left lasting memories and ultimately influenced my interest in cancer. In college, I found conducting cancer research intellectually stimulating. It gave me the ability to advance scientific knowledge that could lead to important discoveries for treating cancer patients. But what really solidified my passion for pursuing oncology as a career was the deep and long-term personal relationships I could develop with each patient. I felt then, and still do, that it’s quite unique and what is most rewarding about the field of oncology compared to other fields of medicine.

What’s your approach to cancer care?

I strive to serve as an advocate for my patients, ensuring you understand your diagnosis and all your available treatment options. My goal is to develop a personalized treatment plan that incorporates and respects your values. I strongly believe in a multidisciplinary approach to your care. I’m also involved in research that primarily focuses on investigating novel therapies for pancreatic cancer and other gastrointestinal cancers through clinical trials. My hope is that we’ll be able to develop better methods for earlier detection of cancer, more effective therapies, and strategies to better predict which treatments are more likely to work for an individual patient. This all leads to improved outcomes and also to avoiding side effects from therapies that are not likely to be as effective.

Provider Background

Specialty: Medical Oncology

Area of clinical practice
Gastrointestinal cancers

Gastrointestinal cancers
I’m a medical oncologist and a UW assistant professor of medicine. I specialize in treating all types of gastrointestinal cancers, with a clinical interest in cancers of the stomach, esophagus and pancreas. I also conduct clinical trials that evaluate novel therapies, investigate strategies for the early detection of cancer and explore ways to better predict which therapies are likely to be beneficial for individual patients. My research is a collaborative endeavor between Fred Hutch and the University of Washington.

Diseases Treated

Colon Cancer

Esophageal Cancer

Gastric Cancer

Gastrointestinal Cancer

Gastrointestinal Diseases



Education, Experience and Certifications

Undergraduate Degree
University of Michigan

Medical Degree
Wayne State University School of Medicine

Mayo Clinic, Internal Medicine

University of Michigan Medicine, Hematology-Oncology

Board Certification
Internal Medicine, 2014; Medical Oncology, 2017, American Board of Internal Medicine


Seattle Met's 2023 Top Doctors award
Dr Zhen has received this peer-nominated award for exceptional patient care.

Clinical Trials

We make promising new treatments available to you through studies called clinical trials led by Fred Hutch doctors. Many of these trials at Fred Hutch have led to FDA-approved treatments and have improved standards of care globally. Together, you and your doctor can decide if a study is right for you.

Find a Clinical Trial Lead by Dr. Zhen


Many of our Fred Hutch doctors conduct ongoing research to improve standards of patient care. Their work is evaluated by other doctors and selected for publication to the United States National Library of Medicine, the largest medical library in the world. See scientific papers this Fred Hutch provider has written.

View Dr. Zhen's Publications

Your Care Team

At Fred Hutch, you receive care from a team of providers with extensive experience in your disease. Your team includes doctors, a patient care coordinator, a registered nurse, an advanced practice provider and others, based on your needs. You also have access to experts like nutritionists, social workers, acupuncturists, psychiatrists and more who specialize in supporting people with cancer or blood disorders.


Fred Hutch accepts most national private health insurance plans as well as Medicare. We also accept Medicaid for people from Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. We are working to ensure that everyone, no matter what their financial situation, has access to the care they need.

For the Media

The Media Relations team at Fred Hutch is available to assist members of the news media who would like to arrange interviews with providers.

Email media@fredhutch.org or call 206.667.2210