Sarah Cannon
May 31, 2018

NASHVILLE, TENN., May 31, 2018 – Sarah Cannon announced today that Axel Grothey, MD, has been appointed the new Director of Gastrointestinal (GI) Cancer Research. Previously a consultant and professor in the Division of Medical Oncology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., Dr. Grothey was recruited to lead Sarah Cannon’s investigation of targeted therapies for patients facing colorectal, stomach, esophageal, pancreatic and other types of gastrointestinal cancers.

“Dr. Grothey has made significant contributions to the treatment of patients with GI cancers over the last two decades,” said Howard A. “Skip” Burris III, MD, President and Chief Medical Officer at Sarah Cannon. “His academic research expertise, combined with our community reach, will make a substantial impact on patients who need novel therapeutic options.” 

Dr. Grothey’s clinical interests focus on gastrointestinal cancers, in particular colorectal cancer, antiangiogenesis, signal transduction inhibitors, and clinical trial design and statistics. Within his role as a consultant and investigator with Mayo Clinic, his research has been funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Institutes of Health, among other organizations. Over the last decade, Dr. Grothey has chaired a number of NCI-funded gastrointestinal research committees and task forces. Additionally, Dr. Grothey is a member of the NCCN Guidelines Committee for Colon, Rectal, and Anal Cancer and also a member of the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) guidelines committee for colorectal cancer.

“As a clinical researcher who has spent my career dedicated to advancing therapies for patients with gastrointestinal cancers, the mission of Sarah Cannon is firmly aligned with my goals and objectives,” said Dr. Grothey. “The opportunity to lead a program with access to a broad range of new therapies and a large number of patients is very exciting.”

Throughout his career, Dr. Grothey has performed journal review and editorial activities for numerous medical journals and is editor for Clinical Colorectal Cancer, Emerging Cancer Therapeutics, Practice Updates, and Therapeutic Advances in Medical Oncology. He has been a member of the editorial board of Journal of Clinical Oncology and Journal of the National Cancer Institute. In educational activities, he has been a five-time recipient of Teacher of the Year recognition at Mayo Clinic. In addition, Dr. Grothey has given numerous international, national, and regional presentations, as well as invited and visiting professor presentations. He has co-authored more than 500 articles, books, book chapters, editorials, abstracts, and letters.

Dr. Grothey will fill the role previously held by Johanna Bendell, MD who has recently been promoted to Chief Development Officer for Sarah Cannon Research Institute.

“As a colleague and collaborator, I have seen firsthand the leadership of Dr. Grothey and the impact he has had on so many cancer clinical trials,” said Dr. Bendell. “His expertise and vast knowledge of GI cancers will be a tremendous asset to Sarah Cannon.”

Dr. Grothey received his medical degree at Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany, and completed residencies at West German Tumor Center and the Institute of Pathology at the University of Essen and a residency and fellowship at the University of Bochum. He also completed a research fellowship at MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas. In 2005, he began working as a consultant with Mayo Clinic.

Dr. Grothey will formally join Nashville-based Sarah Cannon and physician practice partner, Tennessee Oncology, later this summer.

About Sarah Cannon Research Institute

Sarah Cannon Research Institute is the research arm of HCA Healthcare’s global cancer institute, Sarah Cannon. For 25 years, the organization has focused on advancing therapies for patients and has become one of the world’s leading clinical research organizations conducting community-based clinical trials throughout the United States and United Kingdom. Sarah Cannon’s network of strategic sites includes more than 275 physicians who engage in research. The organization has led more than 300 first-in-man clinical trials since its inception in 1993, and has been a clinical trial leader in the majority of approved cancer therapies over the last 10 years. Additionally, Sarah Cannon offers management, regulatory, and other research support services for drug development and industry sponsors as well as strategic investigator sites through its contract research organization (CRO), Sarah Cannon Development Innovations. For more information, visit