David M. Hockenbery, MD

David M. Hockenbery, MD

David M. Hockenbery, MD

  • Physician, Fred Hutch
  • Professor, Translational Science and Therapeutics Division, Fred Hutch
  • Professor, Human Biology Division, Fred Hutch
  • Professor, Public Health Sciences Division, Fred Hutch
  • Professor, Division of Gastroenterology, University of Washington School of Medicine


“I focus on building a foundation of trust with each patient so that together we can find solutions to their digestive troubles and achieve a good quality of life during treatment and into survivorship.”

— Dr. Hockenbery

Why do you practice gastroenterology in a cancer center?

During my medical training at Johns Hopkins, I did clinical rotations in their oncology center on the bone marrow transplant unit. That experience made such an impression on me in terms of the level of multidisciplinary collaboration that was required and what the patients went through. Some of them were dealing with really difficult complications from their treatment, like graft-versus-host disease and liver disease, yet many of the patients went on to do well. Practicing gastroenterology in a cancer center is a natural fit for me. I enjoy working with  patients to address digestive issues, such as nausea and diarrhea, that can interfere with their ability to do even the simple things in life that bring joy and satisfaction. I focus on building a foundation of trust with each patient so that together we can find solutions to their digestive troubles and achieve a good quality of life during treatment and into survivorship.

What informs your approach to care?

My mother was treated for ovarian cancer through Fred Hutch, and one thing about her care I really appreciated was the way her doctor kept in frequent contact with us as a family throughout the whole process. That experience served as a reminder of how important it is to maintain open lines of communication — not only with patients, but their caregivers as well. My approach to care is based on being an attentive listener and understanding how a particular symptom or disease is affecting your ability to go about your daily life. While finding the right fix can take time, as well as trial and error, I’m committed to supporting you and helping you find relief.

Provider Background

Specialty: Gastroenterology

Gastrointestinal (GI) cancers, GI problems associated with cancer and cancer treatment

I am a board-certified gastroenterologist who specializes in GI cancer prevention and the management of digestive issues associated with cancer and cancer treatment. These issues include loss of appetite, abdominal pain, bowel obstruction, diarrhea, among others, and can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life. I provide care for patients with all types of cancer as well as those who are no longer in active treatment.

At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, I lead a lab that studies the biology and metabolism of cancer cells. We analyze how these cells break down nutrients and how they bypass the natural process of cell death (apoptosis) to grow unchecked in the body. One current project is better understanding the biological relationship between obesity and one’s risk for developing cancer. Another area of interest is studying the genetics of a transmissible cancer called devil facial tumor disease. This cancer afflicts Tasmanian devils; it is spread through biting and has nearly brought them to extinction. Our work supports conservation efforts and may shed light on new treatment targets for cancers in humans.

Diseases Treated



Education, Experience and Certifications

Medical Degree
Washington University School of Medicine

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Internal Medicine

Washington University School of Medicine, Gastroenterology/Hepatology

Board Certification
Internal Medicine, 1985; Gastroenterology, 1989, American Board of Internal Medicine



All news
Dr. David Hockenbery receives the 2022 Ali Al-Johani Award Gastroenterologist honored for his compassion and care of patients April 13, 2022
Can a tumor that acts like a microbe help us develop better cancer therapies? Understanding the genetics underlying spontaneous regression of an infectious tumor in Tasmanian devils could point us toward new treatment targets August 6, 2020
Machine learning provides new insights into tumor suppression Algorithm illuminated surprising metabolic effects of important cancer gene May 7, 2018

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.

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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. Hockenbery'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.


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For the Media

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