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Cancer Institute (WIA), Chennai

The Cancer Institute (WIA) was established in 1955. It is an autonomous, charitable, comprehensive care centre. In 1975, it was declared a regional centre of cancer treatment and research for the southern region by the Government of India, the first cancer centre to be chosen thus. The hospital houses over 415 beds of which 250 are free. Over 70,000 patients from India, South and South East Asia are seen annually. Over 60% of them are indigent and are treated free of charge. The hospital has state of the art facilities for diagnosis, evaluation and treatment of cancer as well as rehabilitation.

The Institute has been a pioneer in the introduction of multimodal approach in the management of cancer in the country. The different therapeutic divisions include Surgical Oncology, Radiation Oncology and Medical Oncology. The division of Radiation Oncology is one of the finest in the country with a great tradition. The division of Surgical Oncology offers world class facilities like the Nd-Yag Surgical Laser (the first of its kind in the country) and Endoscopic Laser surgery. The principal surgeries performed in the Institute are Head and Neck surgery, Skull based surgery, Breast surgery, Gynaecological surgery, Urological surgery, Limb conservation surgery, Reconstructive surgery, Gastrointestinal surgery. The youngest of the three modalities, Medical Oncology has a state-of-the-art set up for administration of cytotoxin and hormone therapy, allogenic bone marrow transplant and high dose chemotherapy with peripheral blood stem rescue/autologous marrow rescue.

In addition to the treatment and research areas education is also a major goal at the institute. The centre has been recognised for Ph.D. programmes/D.Sc. in oncological sciences from 1965 by universities across the country. The college also trains Radiotherapy technicians and Cyto technicians. It is also the first centre in India to introduce superspeciality courses in Medical (DM), Surgical (M.Ch.) and Radiation Oncology (MD) courses as early as 1984. Since then the centre has become a postgraduate centre and college of Oncologic Sciences attached to the Dr. MGR Medical University at Chennai.

The Institution has made outstanding contributions in the field of oral and cervical cancer in South India. The first case control investigation into the aetiology of oral cancer in South India was carried out by the Institute in 1969. An investigation into the causes of oral and cervical cancer established that chewing of tobacco, arecanut and betel leaves played a dominant part but was not the sole reason. It also showed that genetically susceptible epithelium was a pre-requisite for the induction of cancer by tobacco.

The current fields of experimental cancer research include biological characterisation of T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia; HTVL1 and 2 in South Indian population and all patients; Cell cycle regulatory molecules in cervical and oral cancer; Immune abnormalities in cervical cancer; Human papiloma virus in oral cancer; Biological markers of risk of second malignancy following chemotheraphy in Hodgkin's disease; Detection of BC 16 gene rearrangements in diffuse large cell lymphomas; P53 and Rb gene abnormalities in Hodgkin's disease; BRCAI in familial breast cancer and in young patients with Breast cancer; Flow Cytometric evaluation of P53 expression in Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia; Investigations on tycogenetic and moleculogenetic aspects in acute lymphoblastic leukemia; Risk factors in Gastric cancer; Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy to monitor gastric tumour progression and Mechanism and reversal of multidrug resistance.

The Cancer Institute is engaged in various research activities in the field of Clinical Oncology. These include International Multicentre phase two randomised double blind trial comparing the drugs Droloxifene and Tomoxifen in advanced inoperable Breast cancer as first line hormone therapy; Atlas trial Phase three comparative study of combination treatment of TLC D-99 Liposomal Doxorubicin and Cyclophosphamide Vs Doxorubicin in metastatic breast cancer; Collaborative treatment protocols with National Cancer Institute, USA in areas of acute lymphoblastic leukemia and non Hodgkins lymphoma; Taxotere (Docetoxol) in metastatic breast cancer; Evaluation of the role of hydroxyurea as radiation sensitisers in locally advanced squamous of the uterine cervix and in t3 & t4 squamous cell carcinoma of the buccal mucosa; Combination of radiotheraphy and chemotherapy for locally advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma - a pilot study; Laryngeal conservation in advanced carcinoma of the larynx; Regional hyperthemia combined with radiotherapy for locally advanced cervical cancers; Correlation between bladder and rectal morbidity following radiotherapy in patients with uterine cervical cancer and dose volume histograms; Tal 1 and TCR delta chain rearrangements for monitoring minimal residual disease in T-ALL. Cytogenetics in ALL and CML; Prognostic significance of Typel Tyrosine Kinase growth factor receptors and their ligands in cervical, oral and breast cancers.

In the field of epidemiology the following activities have been undertaken:

A prospective study on tobacco attributable mortality; Spouse-control study; A multicentric case control study of occupational risk factors of lung cancer, lymphoma and leukemia in Chennai; A population based survival study in Chennai; International incidence of cancer; Cancer registry (tumour registry and population based) and Biostatistics.

The Biomedical engineering recently established at the Institute has developed and fabricated a fully indigenous remote after-loading brachytherapy unit. The Institute designed and fabricated the first ever Radiation Teletherapy unit in the country.


Dr. V Shanta MD, DGO, FAMS, DSc (Hon)

She has held the post of Chairman & Professor, Division of Medical Oncology, Gynaecology & Breast, Cancer Institute (WIA). She has been a Doctoral (Ph.D) guide with the University of Madras in Clinical Oncology and Allied Sciences.


  • Member, WHO advisory board on Cancer
  • Conveyor, State Advisory Board on Cancer
  • Member, I.C.M.R. Committee for coordination of Cancer Research in India
  • Member, I.C.M.R. Tasks force on tumour registries
  • Member, Government of India, Teletherapy committee
  • Member, Scientific Advisory Board & Council of the I.C.M.R
  • Nominated member of the Syndicate of the Anna University, Chennai
  • Chairman, Indo U.S.A collaborative group of Lymphoid Neoplasias (Indian Chapter)
  • President, Indian Society of Oncology
  • Nominated Member, Oncology Faculty, Bangalore University
  • President, Asian and Pacific Federation of Organisations for Cancer Control

Dr Shanta has published many papers in National and International journals. She has also contributed to scientific publications.

International Collaboration

Since 1989 she has been the Indian collaborator in the multi-centre international collaborative protocol in treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and non Hodgkins lymphoblastic leukaemia and non Hodgkins lymphoma with the Paediatric Oncology Division of the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, U.S.A.

1990-1992: Indo Japan Co-operative study on Breast Cancer (Epidemiological and Biochemical), University of Aichi, Nagoya, Japan.

Dr. T G Sagar MBBS, MD, DM

Dr Sagar is the Deputy Director (Clinical), Principal College of Oncological Sciences, Chairman and Professor of Medical Oncology at the Cancer Institute (WIA) Chennai.

Dr Sagar completed his MD General Medicine at Stanley Medical College and DM (Oncology) at the Cancer Institute University of Madras.

Dr Sagar had intensive training in bone marrow transplants and management of haematological malignancies. He received training in bone marrow freezing at SYLAB, Austria. He has had 14 years of teaching experience in Oncology. He has 19 years of administrative experience in the management of medical oncology division. He has published in more than 50 national and international journals.

Memberships: Association of Physicians of India; Indian Society of Oncology; Indian Society of Medical and Paediatric Oncology. Areas of Interest: Allogeneic bone marrow transplantation; Lympho proliferative disorders and Haemato Oncology; Paediatric Malignancies.

He has participated in national and international seminars and conferences. He has served as examiner for oncology courses. He is the Vice President of the Association of Indian Medical and Paediatric Oncology and the Consulting Editor for The Indian journal of Medical and Paediatric Oncology. He has received fellowships from cancer research institutions in United States of America.

Dr. Thangarajan Rajkumar M.D, D.M, Ph.D

Dr. Thangarajan Rajkumar is the Deputy Director (Research) Chairman, Division of Biological Sciences, Professor and Head of the Department of Molecular Oncology at Cancer Institute (WIA) Chennai.

He completed his M.D (General Medicine) in 1985 and subsequently completed his D.M (Medical Oncology) in 1988. He completed his Ph.D (Molecular Oncology) at Royal Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith Hospital, London in 1994. He was a Visiting Professor, Dept. of clinical Oncology, RPMS and Hammersmith Hospital, London.

He has worked on several research projects in the past. He is currently involved in an International and two National level research projects. His areas of special interest are Medical and Molecular oncology, Solid tumours (particularly Gynaecologic and Breast Cancer) and also in newer treatment approaches like Gene Theraphy, Antibody directed therapies, vaccines etc. He is a member of Indian Society of Oncology and Indian Society of Medical and Paediatric Oncology. He is also a Member of the British Association for Cancer Research and Indian Association for Cancer Research. He is an Examiner for four Indian Universities.

Balsubramanyam Nagarajan M.Sc., Ph.D.

Balsubramanyam Nagarajan is Professor and Head, Department of Tumour Microbiology and Biochemistry at Cancer Institute (WIA) Chennai.

He did his M.Sc at Madras University and subsequently completed his Ph.D at Vanderbilt. He has received awards from Indian Universities and Fellowships from United States Public Health, British Council, German Federal Ministry and other International bodies. He has published 170 research papers. He is a member in the Advisory Committee in Union (and Tamil Nadu) Public Service Commission and several Indian Universities. He was also a doctoral research supervisor in Madras, Anna, Nagpur, and Dr. MGR Medical Universities.

His research contributions are in development of technology for the evaluation of biomarkers in the management of tumours and in biomonitoring High Risk Groups. An International Research collaboration with France on enhancing identification and management of high-risk cervical carcinoma is underway.

Dr. C Mani M.S, M.Ch. (Surgical Oncology)

Dr. Mani is a Reader in the department of Surgical Oncology, Cancer Institute (WIA) Chennai. He did his M.S., and subsequently completed his M.Ch (Surgical Oncology). His area of specialisation is Head and Neck Oncology.

Dr. Vikash Mahajan M.S, M.Ch. (Surgical Oncology)

Dr. Vikash Mahajan is a Reader in the department of Surgical Oncology Cancer Institute (WIA) Chennai. He did his M.S and subsequently completed his M.Ch (Surgical Oncology). His areas of specialisation are General Surgical Oncology and Gastro Intestinal Oncology. His area of special interest is Oesophageal & Pancreatic cancer.

Dr. R Ravi Kannan M.S, M.Ch. (Surgical Oncology)

Dr. R Ravi Kannan is a Professor of Surgical Oncology at Cancer Institute (WIA) Chennai. He is the Head of the Division of Head & Neck Oncology. He completed his M.S and subsequently did his M.Ch. (Surgical Oncology). His areas of specialisation are Head and Neck Oncology and Bone and Soft tissue Sarcoma. His area of special interest is Skull Base Surgery.

Dr. V S Mallikarjuna D.C.P, M.D. (Pathology)

Dr. V S Mallikarjuna is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology at Cancer Institute (WIA) Chennai. He completed his DCP and subsequently completed his M.D. Pathology. His areas of special interest are tumour pathology (post treatment changes), immunophonotyping of tumours and tumour marker study in relation to diagnosis and prognosis of tumours.

Dr. Sarojini Prahlad DMRD

Dr. Sarojini Prahlad is a tutor in the Department of Radiology at Cancer Institute (WIA) Chennai. She completed her medical graduation and then her DMRD. Her area of special interest is Ultrasound, particularly Liver and Breast Mammography. She has published papers on Urachal Tumours, Pelvic Lymphadenopathy, Ultrasound and Histopathological correlation of the Roundness Index. She has also done several case presentations in the monthly meetings of IRIA.

Dr. (Lt.Col.) S S Ram Kumar MD (Anaesthesia)

Dr. (Lt.Col.) S S Ram Kumar is a Professor at Cancer Institute (WIA) Chennai. He has 20 years of clinical experience. His area of interest is in Post-op Elective Ventilation.

Dr. Kalpana Balakrishnan DA, DNB

Dr. Kalpana Balakrishnan DA, DNB is a Reader at Cancer Institute (WIA) Chennai. She did her DA and subsequently completed her DNB. She has 11 years of clinical experience. Her area of interest is in Intensive Care Management.

Dr. (Col.) N C Krishnan

Dr. (Col.) N C Krishnan is a Professor at Cancer Institute (WIA) Chennai. He has 30 years of clinical experience. His area of interest is in Post-op pain, Trauma pain and Cancer pain.

Dr. A Vasanthan MD, DMRT

Dr. A Vasanthan is the Chairman and Professor, Division of Radiation Oncology at Cancer Institute (WIA) Chennai. He has been recognised as a guide for Ph.D. in Radiotherapy by the Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University and the Examiner for MD (Radiotherapy) and DMRT in the same University. He has given a number of presentations at International and National conferences.

Dr. D V L N Sastry MD (Radiotherapy), DMRT

Dr. D V L N Sastry is an Associate professor at Cancer Institute (WIA) Chennai. He completed his DMRT and subsequently completed his MD (Radiotherapy). He has attended several International and National conferences. He has also attended CME programmes and presented papers on combination therapies in oral cancer, brachy therapy and several other topics. His areas of interest are radiation sensitisers, brachy therapy, development of new radiotherapy techniques etc.

Dr. Rajkumar Krishnamurthy M.Sc. (Microbiology), Ph.D. (Microbiology)

Dr. Rajkumar Krishnamurthy is a Reader in the Department of Microbiology at Cancer Institute Chennai. He did his M.Sc. (Microbiology) in 1981 and subsequently completed his Ph.D. (Microbiology) in 1987. He has 13 years of clinical experience. He has five publications to his credit. He has participated in many national conferences and workshops.

Dr. R Krishnakumar MD (RT)

Dr. R Krishnakumar is a Professor and Head of the Department, Nuclear Medicine, at Cancer Institute (WIA) Chennai. He completed his MD (RT). He has 15 years of clinical and teaching experience.

Dr. S Ganapathi Raman MD, DM

Dr. S Ganapathi Raman is an Associate Professor in Department of Medical Oncology at Cancer Institute (WIA) Chennai. He did his MD in 1992 and subsequently completed his DM in 1995. He also underwent BMT training at Kansas University Medical Centre in 1996.

Dr. B Gowrishankar MS, MCh. (Cardiothoracic Surgery)

Dr. B Gowrishankar has been a Professor of Thoracic Surgery and Surgical Oncology at Cancer Institute (WIA) Chennai. His area of special interest is Lung and Oesophageal Cancer Surgery.

Dr. Antony Arvind FRCS (Surgery)

Dr. Antony Arvind is a Consultant Plastic Surgeon at Cancer Institute (WIA) Chennai. He completed his FRCS (Surgery). His field of specialisation is plastic surgery. His area of special interest is Head, Neck and Breast reconstruction after oncological resections, using microvascular free flaps.

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