Delphine Chen, MD

Delphine Chen, MD
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Delphine Chen, MD

  • Director of Molecular Imaging and Therapy, Fred Hutch
  • Wil B. Nelp, MD Endowed Professorship in Nuclear Medicine; Professor, Department of Radiology, University of Washington School of Medicine


“I like taking the time to understand your story. Cancer treatment is complicated, and the better I know you, the better I can provide care.”

— Dr. Chen

How has cancer affected you personally?

My mother and grandfather both had cancer. While my mother survived, my grandfather passed away. I’ve seen firsthand how hard it is for patients to go through cancer treatments. It’s an emotionally and physically exhausting journey, both for the patients themselves and for those who love them. Going through those experiences serves as a constant reminder that people facing cancer need support across multiple areas of their lives as they go through imaging studies and treatments.

What’s it like to work with you?

I want to know the whole you, not just your medical condition. I like taking the time to understand your story. Cancer treatment is complicated, and the better I know you, the better I can provide care on all fronts. My area of medicine is highly specialized, so I strive to clearly explain how nuclear medicine therapies work and how these therapies fit within the context of other available options. I believe in empowering you to be an active participant in your care and providing all the information you need to thoroughly understand your treatment. Your questions make me a better physician.

Provider Background

Area of Clinical Practice
Cancer imaging and therapy

I am a board-certified physician in nuclear medicine, a type of imaging that uses small doses of radioactive materials to assess, diagnose and treat diseases. My expertise spans several nuclear medicine-based diagnostic tests and procedures such as positron emission tomography (PET). At Fred Hutch, I also serve as the director of molecular imaging. This fast-growing field examines how the body is functioning at a molecular or cellular level. Molecular imaging, which has its roots in nuclear medicine, provides insight about how diseases like cancer behave, which in turn can affect treatment decisions.

In addition to providing care, I am also an active researcher. One area of interest is how PET scan tracers can be used to determine whether or not a cell is dying. The idea is that this information could help determine how a tumor is responding to therapy and therefore guide treatment. I led the first in-human trial of these tracers, which has served as the foundation for multiple clinical trials currently being conducted at three major U.S. medical centers. These clinical trials are focused on how we can best use this tracer to identify patients who may respond to anticancer drugs called PARP inhibitors. My colleagues and I plan to expand that research at Fred Hutch.

Diseases Treated


Thyroid Cancer



Education, Experience and Certifications

Medical Degree
Washington University School of Medicine

Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Nuclear Medicine

Washington University School of Medicine

Board Certification
Nuclear Medicine, 2006, American Board of Nuclear Medicine


Seattle Met's 2022 Top Doctors award
Dr. Chen has received this peer-nominated award for her exceptional patient care multiple years in a row.

Mark A. Tetalman, MD, Memorial Award
Dr. Chen received this award in 2009. Funded by the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, the award honors the accomplishments of young researchers in the field of nuclear medicine.

Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation Clinical Investigator Award
Dr. Chen received this award in 2006 in support of her research into PET imaging and how it can be used to drive cancer treatment decisions.


All news
Research into targeted treatments, better prediction models in breast cancer funded Breast Cancer Research Foundation continues support for research by Fred Hutch/UW/Seattle Children’s Cancer Consortium physicians and scientists November 16, 2023
Second Fred Hutch clinic building opens in Seattle New building in South Lake Union comes with new imaging suites, automated parking and a care model that puts patients at the center of everything March 23, 2023

Clinical Trials

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

Find a Clinical Trial Led by Dr. Chen


Many of our Fred Hutch physicians conduct ongoing research to improve standards of patient care. Their work is evaluated by other physicians 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 physician has written.

View Dr. Chen'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 physicians, a patient care coordinator, a registered nurse, an advanced practice provider and others, based on your needs. You also have access to experts like registered dietitians, 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 or call 206.667.2210